Airbnb recently announced that it has hired industry veteran Melissa C. Thomas-Hunt as its Head of Global Diversity and Belonging.
Thomas-Hunt spent years in higher education at Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia, helping both institution build out diversity programs. She served as the Chief Diversity Officer at UVA’s Darden School of Business and served as the Vice Provost of Inclusive Excellence at Vanderbilt where she led diversity initiatives and helped to advance equity, diversity and inclusion throughout the university.
The tech scene may be new territory for Thomas-Hunt, but the scope of solving the company’s diversity issue is one she knows how to tackle well. She will oversee internal diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging programs for Airbnb’s 5000 employees.
Airbnb’s latest diversity report shows that the company has had slight increases in the number of women working at the company. Airbnb’s U.S. workforce was comprised of 44 percent women in 2018, a nearly two percentage point increase from 2017.
Black and Latinos made up 3.5 percent and 8 percent of Airbnb’s U.S. employees in 2018, making marginal improvements from the year prior.
“Increasing belonging is powerful, compelling and complex to operationalize,” Thomas-Hunt said in a statement. “By continuing to build a diverse and inclusive team around the world, we can help individuals shift and shape their trajectory to realize their full potential.
Thomas- Hunt begins her position on May 13.