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Dealing with Diverse Customers and Clients
By Michael Collins
Managing Director, Diversity Strategies American Airlines


AMeRiCAn AiRLineS COnStAntLY competes to earn the business and loyalty of its passengers and clients. in order to succeed in today’s marketplace, it is imperative that we at American Airlines not only embrace the diversity of our customers and clients, but of our own team and the world around us. As a company that bears the name “American,” much is expected of us, and we hold ourselves to an extremely high standard. Being a part of American Airlines means understanding that we help bridge the world together—and by doing so, we connect different cultures, environments and people.

in January 2008, American developed a robust diversity and inclusion page on, the first of its kind in the airline industry. the link promotes American’s efforts in supplier diversity, employees, diversity leadership, awards and recognition, corporate citizenship, and ongoing marketing initiatives. American also has products tailored for small businesses, and Web pages specifically tailored for women ( as well as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and transgender (LGBt) community (

We have dedicated sales teams that focus solely on diOur commitment to promoting diversity and equality verse customer groups, such as the African-American, is highlighted in being the first major airline to endorse the employment non-Discrimination Act (2008). We are hispanic, LGBt and women communities. these sales also proud of our 16 employee Resource Groups (eRGs), teams support and partner with many community organizawhich reflect a wide range of communities within Ameri- tions such as the nAACP, League of united Latin American’s employee populations. these eRGs promote a can Citizens (LuLAC), the human Rights Campaign and ® positive, productive work environment while creating av- Susan G. Komen for the Cure . enues for employees to conAs a global carrier, we tribute their ideas to the feel a responsibility to probusiness, and help American vide opportunities for womThe increasing globalization in develop products and services en- and minority-owned and our world requires more for its global customer base. small businesses to grow and prosper as part of our supthe increasing globalizainteraction between diverse ply chain. As a result, since tion in our world requires more the inception of our Supplier interaction between diverse culcultures, beliefs, and backgrounds. Diversity Program in 1989, tures, beliefs, and backgrounds. American has spent more each customer, client, and than $3.6 billion with certiemployee brings a unique fied women- and minority-owned businesses. perspective that allows us to solve problems, overcome

challenges and implement new ideas. At American Airlines, we promote inclusion for all and strive to create an environment where all differences are valued. American uses a combination of third-party partners, newly-formed external advisory councils, our employees, and relationships with key advocacy organizations to gain greater insights into how to deliver the best travel experience possible.

American Airlines recognizes that being a global airline means we are in the business of connecting people and cultures from around the world. We are proud of our commitment to diversity and inclusion, and proud to “Welcome Aboard” the wonderful array of people our world reflects. PDJ

P ro f i l e s i n D i v e r s i t y J o u r n a l

March/april 2010


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