Media Contacts:

David O’Donnell | Meet Boston

Megan Skiles | Meet Boston

Jacqui Conrad | Conan Harris & Associates




Initiatives launched in partnership with Conan Harris & Associates aim to increase diversity and employee retention and enhance procurement processes in the tourism industry


BOSTON (October 6, 2023) – Meet Boston, formerly known as The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB), is announcing the launch of a Workforce Development and Supplier Diversity Initiative in partnership with Conan Harris & Associates (CHA).

“These initiatives are not just goals; they're a commitment to enhancing Boston's hospitality and tourism industry. Through workforce development, supplier diversity, and a focus on our 23 neighborhoods, we're building a more inclusive, vibrant, and prosperous city for residents and visitors alike,” said Hilina D. Ajakaiye, Executive Vice President of Meet Boston who is leading this and other critical DEIB initiatives. “These initiatives not only ensure exceptional experiences for visitors but also empower our diverse communities, promoting inclusivity, economic growth, and a brighter future for every corner of our city.”

The formal launch of the Meet Boston-CHA initiatives occurred on October 5 with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff event at The Lenox Hotel. The event included representatives from both organizations, as well as officials from the Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity & Inclusion and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

“This embodies our commitment to driving positive change and creating a more inclusive and equitable business environment,” said Martha J. Sheridan, Meet Boston President and CEO. “At Meet Boston, we firmly believe that diversity is a key driver of innovation, productivity, and success. We recognize the immense value that a diverse and skilled workforce can bring to our organization and this industry. We are dedicated to providing equal opportunities for everyone.”

The Workforce Development Initiative will empower individuals from all backgrounds with training opportunities designed to enhance their skillset and employability. Meet Boston will collaborate with local educational institutions, community organizations, and industry partners to create tailored programs and training modules that address the needs of job seekers and help bridge the skills gap. Over two dozen Meet Boston-affiliated organizations will participate in the workforce development program.

Additionally, the Supplier Diversity Initiative seeks to expand Meet Boston’s network of suppliers to include businesses owned by women, minorities, veterans, and other historically marginalized groups. By diversifying the supplier base, Meet Boston and its partners will drive economic growth for communities that have been traditionally underrepresented in the travel and hospitality sector.  Meet Boston will build an accessible platform featuring a database of diverse suppliers, thus enabling industry partners to act with more intentionality and purpose in their procurement processes.

Both initiatives will be informed and guided by a task force comprised of organizations such as The Black Economic Council of MA (BECMA), Urban League, Amplify Latinx, and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

“Equipping a diverse and skilled workforce with the necessary tools and resources for a successful career is critical to the growth of our workforce economy,” said Conan Harris, CEO of Conan Harris & Associates. “Partnering with Meet Boston on this important initiative will not only increase diversity and enhance the procurement processes, but it will also provide unprecedented opportunities in the tourism and hospitality industry for historically marginalized communities.”


Meet Boston is the primary private sector marketing and visitor services organization charged with the development of meetings, conventions and tourism-related business in the region. As a partnership organization, Meet Boston promotes and collaborates with over 1,000 companies in the greater Boston region and across New England to drive a robust visitor economy and to build equity within the sector. The Meet Boston mission is to elevate Boston’s vibrant neighborhoods and diverse people, amplifying their stories and sharing them locally and across the globe. Meet Boston delivers exciting and inclusive programs and services that enhance the local economy by unifying an eclectic range of community stakeholders around the opportunities, experiences and energy that define the destination and the visitor journey. For more, please visit:



Conan Harris and Associates (CHA) connects community-based organizations with partnerships and resources from the non-profit, private, and public sectors. As a certified minority business enterprise, we offer a range of services that bridge the social, economic, and racial divide experienced by disenfranchised communities in health, education, housing and workforce development. Our work fosters inclusion, diversity and social change through services that include strategic planning, workforce development, community relations and engagement, executive coaching and training, and capacity building.   Please visit to learn more.



#  #  #  #