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Hospitality company partners with Clark Atlanta, Morehouse to improve diversity in hotel industry

(Image provided by Morehouse College)

The InterContinental Hotel Group Hotels and Resorts owns several brands, including Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn Express and the InterContinental Hotel and Resort.

By Allison Joyner

At the beginning of the fall semester, IHG announced a new partnership with Clark Atlanta University (CAU) and Morehouse College to promote careers in hospitality and create a pipeline for future employment opportunities. 

The U.K-based company approached the Historically Black College and University, intending to develop meaningful engagements that open more doors for underrepresented groups.

“At IHG, we have a function dedicated to talent strategy and diversity, equity, inclusion and the purpose of that function is to focus on how do we help to grow and progress our talent,” said Nicole Lewis, Head of Talent and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) for IHG.

Benjamin Mays, Morehouse College president from 1940 to 1967, established an educational foundation that led to the formation of the Morehouse School of Medicine. (Photo by Kelly Jordan)

IHG has been working on developing a culture of DEI and creating a multifaceted company that represents the hotel guests and staff in the over 100 countries where they operate. 

Lewis told SaportaReport that IHG had taken additional steps to focus on their people and building pipelines for talent to have rewarding careers in corporate, managerial and ownership opportunities. 

She also mentioned that the hotel company is implementing new policies and procedures that will create a more inclusive workplace for their employees, like rolling out mandatory unconscious bias training to over 10,000 U.S. hotel employees by the end of the year and providing paid leave to encourage voting in national elections. 


In addition to CAU and Morehouse, IHG has partnered with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the United Nations and the National Black MBA Association. 

“We thought the first place we need to focus was Atlanta’s rich history of Black universities and colleges with Clark Atlanta. With Morehouse.With Morris Brown. With Spelman, we look to support our early careers and opportunities for education and future leadership,” Lewis said.

“If you look at the composition of our population, there are a whole host of diverse ideas of different ethnicities,” said Douglas Cooper, Executive Director of Career Development and Engagement at Morehouse College, “So if an organization is going to operate successfully, they have to serve a vast and diverse constituency.”

(Photo courtesy of Clark Atlanta University.)

In addition to participating in symposiums, career fairs and corporate discussions in the School of Business, CAU will be a part of IHG’s recruitment for internship programs and partnerships throughout campus. IHG has also committed to hosting events at their properties and providing scholarships for students at both institutions. 

“IHG is one of a number of companies that are corporate partners with us and all of them are committed to our mantra, which is to create men with disciplined minds, who will lead the lives of leadership and service,” Cooper said. 

He continued that the all-male school was pleased to find out that IHG was looking for students studying different fields like finance, human resources and tech. 

“I think the number one factor is the quality of our men,” Cooper said. “We have students that come to Morehouse that could have gone to any school in the country that they wanted.” 


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