By Tonya Hempstead, VP DE&I

At American Express Global Business Travel (Amex GBT), diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are about creating a sense belonging and fair access to advancement for everyone. We value diverse backgrounds, unique perspectives and contributions from all our colleagues around the world. Our objective is to foster an innovative, high-performing, multicultural, and inclusive company in partnership with our people.  

As the world’s largest B2B travel platform, with colleagues in 140 countries around the world, we believe taking a leading position for DE&I in the industry is the right thing to do. This is why our CEO, Paul Abbott recently signed the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion pledge. CEO Action, a unique collaborative of over 2,000 CEOs of the world’s leading companies and organizations, is the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance workplace diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

The CEO Action pledge outlines foundational elements for a strong DE&I program which we are actively embedding into our company culture across every region. In 2021, we launched the DE&I Center of Excellence with the goal to make these principles an integral part of every aspect of our business. We are proud of our progress managing diversity in 2021 and we developed a robust strategy to continuously build and expand DE&I initiatives in 2022 and beyond.   

Our premiere initiative was a global educational program for leaders and colleagues on Unconscious Biases. This program was designed to foster conversations and awareness about unconscious bias within Amex GBT to help create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all.  

We also established a global inclusion ecosystem to drive change within our company by rebranding our Employee Resource Groups into “INclusion Groups.”  These communities and their allies come together to help raise awareness and advise leadership on diverse perspectives concerning the business, social, and personal impacts of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and abilities.  Amex GBT people around the world have rallied around the initiative and the number of INclusion Groups has more than doubled across the company.   

To further engage with colleagues, we launched a Global Inclusion Council, which is comprised of key regional leaders and supported by volunteers who serve as Country Ambassadors. Members of these two committees help identify regional and local DE&I priorities and ensure that our communities are recognized and feel welcome within Amex GBT.  

At Amex GBT, we encourage all colleagues to consider DE&I practices in their daily work. To support them with tools and insights into diversity and inclusion management, Amex GBT has recently gained access for all employees to the DiversityInc website. This is one of the most robust inclusion platforms available providing best practices and case studies for members to use within their own organizations.  

We have also expanded our responsible business practices to our suppliers. Over the past year, Amex GBT reviewed and refreshed our supplier diversity training program, increasing our goals for using diverse suppliers from four to 10 percent. We will continue to develop this program and include our Meetings & Events teams as they help our customers identify and engage with diverse suppliers for events of all sizes.  

For these efforts, Amex GBT was honored with the award for Achievement in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion from the BTN Group at its annual Business Travel Awards gala. We have had a busy and rewarding year at the Amex GBT DE&I Center of Excellence and we know that there is still more work to be done. We are committed to continually evaluating our business practices to identify and eliminate biases and implement inclusive processes. We will keep striving for a globally inclusive culture that creates exceptional employee engagement experiences for our colleagues, giving them every opportunity to be their authentic selves at work every day.