Updated: Jul 8, 2022
PREFACE FROM THE FOUNDER, SEEMA JAIN:
As you receive this newsletter today, I am in Baltimore for the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) Convention where 5,000+ hoteliers and more than 450 vendors have gathered.
Seva Global has been fortunate to have a robust start to the year. We have had the opportunity to engage with former clients and exciting new ones, including MFHA, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Worldwide, DISH Network, AAHOA, IHG Hotels & Resorts, and JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa.
The Seva Giving Back program is the charitable arm of our company and an important part of our commitment to help multicultural and/or underserved communities. It provides a daily reminder of why this company was started and demonstrates Seva Global’s core values. I always strive to do “seva” in the three pillars of my life: Family & Friends, Community, and Career. We are proud to help the #girlboss program of Girls Inc. of Chicago, which introduces middle school girls to entrepreneurship as a way of developing leadership skills, understanding community impact, and empowering them toward an independent future.
April is Celebrate Diversity Month. We would love to hear what your organization is doing to celebrate. Let us know how you are recognizing your employees of different backgrounds and any events in/at which you may be planning to celebrate the diversity of your team and clients.
My previous employer, Marriott International, was a big proponent of “Putting People First.” I have always admired this value and want to take care of my team. Liz and Sanjana have been my biggest assets in helping Seva Global grow over the last 18 months. The fruits of our labor collectively are blossoming, and, as a result, I will be hosting a Seva Global retreat to get the team together for the first time in person! We’ve decided my hometown of Chicago is the perfect place to make this happen in May.
Be safe. Travel wisely. Be culturally competent.
THIS EDITION'S CULTURAL COMPETENCY TIP: Do you know how the concept of punctuality differs around the world?
Being raised and immersed in two cultures, I realized early on that punctuality meant different things to those of different cultural backgrounds. When I met with my non-Indian friends, 7 p.m. meant more or less 7 p.m. When I met with my Indian friends, however, it could be 7:30 or even 8 p.m. My best friend growing up was German and her definition of punctuality threw me off even more! To her, 7 p.m. meant 6:50 p.m. The way she was raised, being on time meant showing up early.
In some cultures, in places such as India, many Latin American countries, and Caribbean islands, punctuality is a more fluid concept. Does your culture have a fluid concept of time? Other cultures (American, Japanese, German) generally abide by the clock, and may see lateness as a sign of disrespect. Be mindful to these differences. I try my best to adjust to the person I am meeting and follow their time schedule and perception of punctuality.
NEXT CHAPTER: Seva Global’s website recently went through a “re-print,” and we’ve added some great new features for our customers and admirers. Our monthly blog, Cultivating Cultural Competence, highlights Seema’s own cultural journey, experiences, and expertise. We also have updated our Services Menu with revised presentation descriptions, new Client Testimonials, and recent photos and videos of Seva Global in action. Check it out!
TRAVEL SAFELY, TRAVEL WELL:
Seema’s 2022 schedule continues to keep her traveling around the country! If she is in your city and you’d like to schedule some time together for an in-person visit, please let us know.
New York, New York – Wednesday, April 6 – Saturday, April 9, 2022
Washington, DC – Monday, April 11 – Tuesday, April 12, 2022
Baltimore, Maryland – Tuesday, April 12 – Friday, April 15, 2022
Cincinnati, Ohio – Tuesday, April 19 – Thursday, April 21, 2022
New Orleans, Louisiana – Tuesday, May 17 – Wednesday, May 18, 2022
By Brandi Charles, Director of Human Resources Operations, The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas
The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas had the honor to experience Seva Global’s services firsthand in October 2021 during a two-day workshop. When reflecting on all the learning and takeaways the team took from the experience, one important highlight came from the Human Resources Manager, Gabby. After talking to Gabby, her biggest takeaway from Seva Global was to focus on this one question when driving home the level of service our Ladies and Gentlemen need to be providing to our guests. The questions, “Who is your favorite person? How would you treat that person?” resonate with everyone regardless of cultural background, age, or gender.
We realized that attendees really connect with this one reflection and have put this into practice to elevate guests’ experiences throughout their entire stay with us.
Additionally, when speaking with the Culinary Team, the chefs recently used knowledge learned during the Seva Global presentation to assist in accommodating dietary needs of several kosher groups and families to deliver customized, exceptional service while adhering to their cultural dining needs.
Do you have a #mysevastory you’d like us to highlight? Let us know how you are helping a customer, colleague, community, family, or friend with cultural competence! You can send your “#mysevastory” to Elizabeth Vukovich at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Christine Trippi, Chief Energy Officer, The Wise Pineapple
The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
In hospitality, we get to welcome and provide a comfortable haven for people from around the world every single day. We are also able to work alongside people from many diverse backgrounds. Cultural competence is ultimately about valuing diversity for the richness and creativity it brings to society. Being introduced to so many cultures has been a thrilling adventure. I would not be the person I am today if not for the diverse cultural exposure of working in the hospitality industry for the past 35 years.
Here are three ways we honor and celebrate our guests and associates to create a culture of diversity, inclusion, and belonging:
Holidays: As cultural holidays approach, we are intentional about learning more and sharing with our team. Whether we have associates or guests who celebrate these holidays, simply learning more about the world is fun and it builds our competency. As a team, we can expand our knowledge, and then we will take that information to welcome our guests. Often, guests who do not identify with that culture also love to learn and participate. By regularly learning and sharing, it creates an environment that welcomes diversity.
Culinary Connectivity: Our hospitality teams are made of many different cultures and upbringings. People most often think of hospitality as breaking bread with others, and that’s something that all our hotel teams enjoy—tasting new cuisines! Each month, our team hosts an international potluck. Typically, we choose a country at random, and then we all bring dishes that the people of that country enjoy. We sometimes switch it up and have associates bring in their favorite dish from their own culture, and we create a book including all the recipes from each associate.
Pride: Most importantly, we wanted our associates to feel proud of their heritage. One way we created inclusion and belonging was to have associates share their traditions and educate others, especially when we had a group coming in from the same cultural background. They felt proud to help create a genuine feeling of home for our guests, and they felt special that their unique experience contributed to doing so.
I’ll leave you with this insightful quote from Liz Fosslien: “Diversity is having a seat at the table. Inclusion is having a voice. And belonging is having that voice be heard.”
Seva Global offers a wide array of services to foster cultural competence across organizations. Through our customized solutions and consultations, we can help to increase employee engagement, enhance customer experience, and drive bottom line results. Our goal is to help teams become more culturally competent when engaging with people from different backgrounds. We would love your feedback on this newsletter. Please share with anyone you think it may interest!
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