As a travel company, we value diversity and strive to foster understanding and respect across cultures through our work and in our workplace. Travel encourages us to encounter different perspectives, to get outside our comfort zones, and to see the world through others’ eyes – which gives us the opportunity to experience the world in all its beautiful diversity. We are committed to increasing diversity, promoting equity, and creating a more inclusive environment where everyone feels represented and valued and where diverse perspectives are welcomed. This is part of our journey that will help us to be more understanding of ourselves and others and more connected both here in our local communities and around the world.
Odysseys’ employee-led Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Committee brings focus and attention to related issues both in the office and in our local community through charitable donations, communications, observances, and outreach to potential employee populations, among other efforts.
Casey Butler, Claudia Dunn, Jenna Mersereau,
Julia Messinger, Isabel O’Brien, Kristina Shirkey, Curran Sosin
The DEI Committee proposed, and the company adopted, the optional use of pronouns in company communications to promote inclusion and acceptance for transgender/non-binary employees and guests.
Created the DEI Observances calendar and regular communications to Odysseys employees
We partner with the Y’s Education and Training Branch program to provide informational sessions about Odysseys Unlimited to their graduates and encourage them to apply for our open positions.
Odysseys’ Charitable Giving Committee has allocated funds to the DEI Committee to support organizations that encourage and support Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.
A Roxbury, MA-based organization whose mission is to create the next generation of Latina leaders who are confident, competent, self-sustaining, and proud of their cultural heritage.
Works to remove financial and logistical barriers to abortion access by centering people who have abortions and organizing at the intersections of racial, economic, and reproductive justice. This organization was chosen with input from employees.
This MA-based organization works to end the incarceration of women and girls by addressing the root causes of incarceration by shifting resources away from criminal punishment systems and into Black and Brown communities to fund housing, healthcare, education, economic development, and community-led organizations.
A little about me: I grew up in Southern California where I went to a performing arts high school and studied theater, specifically playwriting and acting. I came out as gay at 16 years old. Parts of this were challenging in the mid-2000s in a rather conservative part of Southern California, but overall, I have been very lucky to be met with love and acceptance from my nearest and dearest at all stages of my coming-out journey.
I moved to Massachusetts (the first time) to go to Smith College, where I fell in love with technical theater. That led me to almost a decade of theatrical stage management in Chicago. I moved back to Massachusetts in 2017 and I’ve been at Odysseys (with a brief pandemic stint elsewhere) since 2019 when I was originally hired as the Receptionist/Office Administrator.
Joining the Odysseys DEI Committee was an incredibly important priority of mine. It is one of my core personal values that it is necessary to participate in making the world a better place by acknowledging the ways groups have been disenfranchised for so long, and that we should actively seek to promote equity and justice wherever possible. I believe that work should include the workplace, where we spend so much of our time. As an out queer person, inclusion is also incredibly important to me. I want to work on creating an Odysseys Unlimited where everyone feels safe and welcome to bring their authentic self.
I couldn’t be happier to be working with Nadine and the rest of the committee here at Odysseys Unlimited.
A little about me: I moved to Boston from Cairo, Egypt, on July 12, 2012. As a first-generation immigrant, I felt it was very important for me to join and become involved in the DEI committee. Growing up, it was very hard to speak up about things that mattered to me without upsetting someone – authority figures, family, teachers, friends, etc. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I finally decided that it was time for me to use my voice. I became more vocal about the things that mattered to me and tried my best to express my opinions and share my values in ways that didn’t upset others, yet allowed me to stay true to myself, while also allowing others the same opportunities.
This was my goal coming into the DEI committee and becoming the co-chair – creating a safe space where everyone is allowed to truly share their feelings and talk about issues that matter to them, while being respectful of others and maintaining boundaries. It’s a common misconception that DEI translates to pointing out differences and thinking about how we can become similar; however, in fact, the very meaning of DEI lies in “inclusion” and coming full-circle. How can we find different ways to include everyone in the conversation?
My goals during my time as a co-chair are: bringing people together by bridging the gap between “us” and “them”; fostering a community that values mutual respect, understanding, and communication; and lastly, shedding light on the hard truths in the best possible way: with fewer words and more actions. I believe that we are stronger together and that it takes a village – and I hope that the DEI committee is that village. I hope that during my time here I am able to offer a new, fresh narrative to the company: one that is honest and true.
Thank you for trusting me in this position – I look forward to all the wonderful things we are going to accomplish together.