Director of Global Travel, Meetings and Ground Transportation for Fidelity International, Carol Fergus is a founding member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committees of the Travel & Meetings Society and the Global Business Travel Association. She has created documentation on how to start conversations within business travel around DE&I and has led by example in implementing more inclusive travel programs. She has created with her partner travel management company BCD Travel a learning program that can serve as a model on how TMC-client partnerships can bring more diversity to the managed travel space.
How did you get involved in the GBTA and TAMS DE&I committees?
I was already a member of the European Advisory Board and there was a discussion about setting up DE&I as a global company for GBTA. I [got] engaged in one of the strands, which is race and culture. TAMS is a similar thing. It was obvious. DE&I is a real passion for me. I think as many rigs as I can get to hit this drum the better.
What did you find missing from your own company’s DE&I program?
I think the company has done a tremendous amount, so I don’t think it’s missing. I would ask, ‘Is this [the communication] always reach the right people we’re meant to stand up for, and does that sound the right way? “
What would your response be?
We’re not there yet, but it’s a long journey. People always have that fear factor and uncomfortable feeling of talking about certain topics, especially when it comes to things like race, mental health, etc. Many things have changed. Conversations have started, but we have a long way to go. We need to find ways to get people to open up more and demonstrate more that differences are made instead of talking about them.
What was your motivation for learning?
This corresponds to stopping speech and [more] Make. It was easy to do and it was a small thing that made a huge impact. This provided opportunities for minority groups who had not graduated. But we have to show the possibilities. By working with our supply chain, it was an opportunity for them to empower roles, tasks, education and development in their organizations [while we] give them the funding and support they need to do this, identify candidates from minority groups and give them a career path that they don’t necessarily believe they can do on their own.
Many things have changed. Conversations have started, but we have a long way to go. We need to find ways to get people to open up more and demonstrate more that differences are made instead of talking about them. “
The program is new, but have you thought about how to make it evolve?
I would like to work with people in the industry, show them the structure, how it works and ask them to replicate it, so when talking to their clients and other companies, instead of just talking about the resources that they need to bring to support this client, also include this DE&I learning part. Say, “Have you considered offering something that provides development, learning and training to a young adult from a minority group? They should incorporate it into the discussions. When they go out to bid a [request for proposal], put this as request.
What advice would you give to those who wish to follow your example?
A, tell me about the structure. It’s very simple, and I’m happy to share. B, if they don’t want to do that, the method is very simple. Follow it up and talk to your suppliers. Look at their career path, their development, do they have a DE&I ethic. [They each] may give the opportunity to a young adult from a minority group. [Tell them,] “We already have an apprenticeship program in place, we would love to work with you to bring these people in so they can be part of your team.” Start these conversations.