Volunteering a meaningful part of millennials’ lives

A common way HM's Thirty Under 30 class is choosing to volunteer is by sharing their knowledge of the hospitality industry with the next generation. Photo credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus/fizkes

According to the U.S. government, 28 percent of millennials volunteered in 2018, contributing roughly 1.5 billion hours of service worth an estimated $36.7 billion. Those numbers are increasing each year, proving that helping others is a concept that is near and dear to millennials’ hearts.

Hotel Management asked the current Thirty Under 30 class what they would do if they had time off to be involved in their communities and why, and here are some of their responses.

Future Hoteliers

Alec N. Dalton, senior manager, global quality, Marriott International: Community engagement is a cornerstone of hospitality through which we take care of the world beyond the walls of our hotels. I personally enjoy connecting with the academic community to help prepare the next generation of hospitality professionals. From offering professional development workshops on resumé writing and public speaking, to mentoring individual students, to providing guest lectures on emerging topics in our industry, an offering of time to colleges and universities can offer valuable guidance and inspiration to students as they explore our industry and find their own ways to serve our world.

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Filling in the Gaps

Juan Corvinos, VP of development, Caribbean and Latin America, Hilton: At the moment, and in partnership with our Hispanic Latino Team member resource group, I work with Mary’s Center in Washington, D.C., which provides healthcare, education and social services to those whose needs are not met by public and private systems. Additionally, I volunteer as a teacher to share knowledge on contract drafting, international business and the hospitality industry—this way I am able to do my part in contributing to Hilton’s commitment of impacting at least 1 million young people by connecting, preparing and employing them.

Career Navigation

Nathalie Taureau, multiproperty revenue manager, Mandalay Bay Resort & Delano Las Vegas: If I had time off to be involved in my community, I would spend more time helping others to navigate their career choice by discovering their own passions and constructing strategies, offering direction on resume and interviewing skills. People from different backgrounds, including students and other professionals, have come to me in the past seeking guidance. The results were extremely rewarding, especially since I can relate and understand the importance of their challenges. Helping other people in their journey is meaningful to me not only because I can put my experience into good use; more importantly, I want them to be able to help others afterward so my impact can be multiplied.

Giving Back

Marco Roca, Jr., director of business development & corporate strategy, Trust Hospitality: As a hospitality professional, I believe that the secret to living is giving. I am very fortunate to work at a firm that shares this philosophy. Earlier this year, I was disturbed when I discovered that Miami is an international human trafficking hub. I learned of a wonderful Miami-based charity by the name of Project Babe, and the Trust team and I organized a silent auction in which we donated roomnights at our hotel in Nassau, Bahamas, with all proceeds going to support women and children survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence.

The next service-focused passion project I plan on pursuing with Trust’s support—with or without time off—is helping the destitute in Venezuela. We have several Venezuelan clients who share with us the absolute horrors their people face to survive. Living in Miami, I have come to appreciate Venezuelan culture as the perfect hospitality culture—warm, loving and fun; therefore, it is particularly heartbreaking that their people are struggling so immensely. We are already in internal discussions to organize a fundraiser (much like Project Babe’s) where our clients and Trust donate rooms for auction and send all proceeds to Venezuela’s neediest.

Industry Advocate

Barry D. Allen, general manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Atlanta Airport: I would spend time in the community exposing the youth to the opportunities that the hospitality industry has that they may not be aware of. Similar to myself and most of my peers, we just stumbled upon the industry: started off as a part time job and turned into a career. When you think about how many people you run into that you meet and say to yourself, “I think they would be great in hospitality,” the next question is, “Why aren’t they?” Probably because they may not be aware of the potential career opportunity.

Community Involvement

Volunteering is always top of mind for Bianca Destout, account executive at Marcus Hotels & Resorts.

“I can always find the time to be involved in my community because it is something that is very important to me,” she said. “I am a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters and have been for four years. This involves frequent outings with my 13-year-old mentee in my free time. I am also on the Young Professionals Board for Make-a-Wish Wisconsin and I volunteer at several local events organized by our hotel human-resources team and United Way.”

Destout credits Marcus Hotels for working with her to achieve her community-involvement goals.

“Our job in hospitality is an important one but what really matters to me as an individual is my ability to make my mark in this world and to contribute to society and my community as a whole,” she said. “I am fortunate to work for an employer that promotes community involvement and encourages it by allowing me the time to do so even if it does cut into a workday.”

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