Small Business Focus: Minority Vendor Showcase: Change Starts Here

February 21, 2024


In recent years, businesses across the globe have taken a stand to affirm their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). One notable business and hotel industry leader to do so is Hyatt Hotels Corporation. In June 2020, Hyatt implemented the Change Starts Here initiative to address systemic racism through three key areas: who they employ, develop and advance, who they support and who they buy from and partner with. Hyatt’s corporate DEI efforts have been impressive. Their efforts at the local level, however — including right here in Arlington — have been deeply impactful.

Since becoming General Manager at Hyatt Regency Crystal City at Reagan National Airport, Donna Marquez has worked to employ Hyatt’s DEI principles in all that she does. Under Donna’s leadership, the team at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City has fully embraced the core components of Hyatt’s Change Starts Here initiative to connect with not only Arlington but the entire region.

After taking time to understand the local DEI landscape, the Hyatt Regency Crystal City team worked intentionally to develop a series of programs and partnerships most ripe for impact and in alignment with their DEI vision. A few of their programs and efforts include creating culinary incubator space for historically marginalized entrepreneurs, co-hosting educational events with BizLaunch and opening their space to the LGBTQIA+ community for various uses.

The Hyatt Regency Crystal City team looks forward to expanding their DEI efforts as they continue to explore additional ways they can be of service to guests and the Arlington community, including this month’s event in celebration of Black History Month.

In celebration of Black History Month, the Hyatt Regency Crystal City is hosting a Minority Vendor Showcase, Feb. 28, 2024. The showcase will feature products and services from more than 75 Black-owned and/or Minority-owned businesses. Additionally, with support from US Ignite, BizLaunch has developed three educational and inspirational sessions, which will run concurrently with the Showcase, to uplift and empower small businesses to reach their full potential.

The full agenda for events at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City on Feb. 28 is below:

  • Marketing and Leveraging Technologies Like an Industry Expert, 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
  • Minority Vendor Showcase, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Victor Wear featuring founders Tiffany and Isaiah Hamilton, 11:00 – 11:15 a.m.
  • Brunch and Business, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • Access to Capital for Startups, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

The entire event is free; however, registration is required and available online. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to connect with businesses and support a local member of our hospitality industry.