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 The Barriers of Good Business / NABHA
 
May 1999 - When we look at the actions that were taken by the NAACP as it relates to their hotel industry report cards, many feel that they ( NAACP) are in no position to evaluate and judge the lodging industry. 

On the surface I too would agree that this organization does not practice in this field of business. The NAACP may have been limited in possessing the resources required to perform an accurate assessment of what really exists. 

On the other hand NABHA is aware of the methods of which they utilized. Knowing what we know, I agree with the necessity of developing procedures and vehicles to publicizes the activities that are taking place as it relates to minority participation. 

During NABHA`s recent annual conference we learned of some specific needs that exists and must be addressed in order for this industry to capitalize on the tremendous opportunities before it. For instance, many of the mainstream companies do not want to be called on the carpet for not being sensitive to the needs of minority business concerns. What mainstream is now doing is promoting people from within and tagging them with director of minority development titles and the like. 

This may appear to be a noble effort, but what it really does is to put those who may be of darker skin color or of  the female gender into a group ( closet ) of which they cannot get out from. Vendors are then forced to only deal with those people who have been provided a limited budget thereby forcing them to compete for what little financial resources they may control. 

This is not advantageous to the potential vendor or to the purchasing company because often times the contracts are awarded to the vendor who may have already had an existing relationship with the person authorized to oversee this activity. Again the old boy network comes into play. 

My assignment here at NABHA affords me to speak with people from all over the nation and I can attest that this scenario is repetitive. I am not coming against the companies that are promoting minorities into assignments of purchasing and influencing company policy. I am however adamantly opposed to diversity programs that are established to pigeon hole people of color and others by throwing out a few crumbs for the majority of the minorities to scrap over while knowing from the beginning that there is not enough to go around. 

Another thing we’ve learned recently here at NABHA is an urgency for developing and implementing quality training programs that covers many items across all skill levels. Yes, even Corporate Executives must be retrained to think outside of the box, while truly evaluating the “Best Practices”  for their companies and this industry. 

In conclusion I want to suggest that if a company is going to pursue contracting with minority vendors that they do not limit the amount of dollars they will spend or the contracts they will award to this group of vendors. Instead decide to business with anyone who can and will provide competent & competitive services. 

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Contact:
Gary Cross, Executive Director
National Association of 
Black Hospitality Allies Inc.
404-522-7729
ccv@mindspring.com
http://www.nabha1.org
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Also See: African-Americans Capitalize on Lodging's Stability, Growth / NABHA / Oct 1998 

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