Webster’s defines diversity as “a point or respect in which things differ.” In the limousine industry, operators have to address issues such as equal opportunity for women, minorities, and the disabled.
In the past, some operators have harbored a bias against female chauffeurs because they felt certain job responsibilities were not suited for women. Some operators believe it is difficult for a female to handle heavy luggage, it is risky to have a woman drive through an undesirable neighborhood, and that a man feels uncomfortable having a woman open the door for him. Limousine & Chauffeur believes this king of thinking is old-fashioned, discriminatory, and just plain bad for business.
Diversity among employees is beneficial to every operator. An owner is smart if he keeps and open mind when considering staffing for his company. This openness greatly increases the likelihood of hiring competent employees. Additionally, a diverse staff is best suited to meet the needs of a diverse marketplace.
Limousine operators should actively promote the fact that they believe diversity is important in business. An owner who promotes his company as an equal opportunity employer and a company that is trained to serve clients with disabilities is going to increase the effectiveness of all his promotional materials.
Operators increasingly seek to tap into the international marketplace. Special promotions can be designed to open new markets by offering chauffeurs who speak foreign languages. A strategically placed ad campaign abroad can be used to bridge cultural boundaries which will open up new markets.
As we head toward the holiday season, I urge everyone to think about what people of each sex and background have to offer. Believe me, there are many tremendously talented people in the world. Sex and background are only two characteristics we each possess. Unfortunately, with the recent events that have captivated the American consciousness in the last several months, discrimination seems to be an issue that has come to the forefront once again.
Female industry players such as Marion McCormick, owner of Sterling Limousines Ltd. In Houston, TX, and Marsha Tortora, president of Empire Coach in Brooklyn, NY, and head of the Limousine Industry Manufacturers Organization (LIMO), bring a true sense of integrity to the industry.
Limousine & Chauffeur Magazine would like to applaud each woman, minority, and others who have overcome obstacles to succeed as owners, chauffeurs, coachbuilder representatives, etc. Your road to success has been a more difficult one but your efforts have paved the way for others.