Celebrating Love and Showing Our Pride

As we celebrate Pride Month, we’re chatting with our team members in South Beach, San Francisco, and Toronto to discuss the ways we celebrate everyone—and all love—on a daily basis.

Published on: June 4, 2022

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Rainbow

It’s no secret that Pride Month is full of parties, parades, and productions. But amidst all the fun, we can’t forget to honor the origin of this vibrant celebration.

This month and every month, we remember the 1969 Stonewall riots—the beginning of the ongoing movement to resist harassment, persecution, and discrimination against the LGBTQIA+ community. We remember members of the community who have lost their lives to hate crimes, mental health battles, and HIV/AIDS. And we recognize the positive change that LGBTQIA+ individuals have sparked across the globe.

As a company built upon the mission to honor and protect the planet and all of its people, we’re celebrating and uplifting the LGBTQIA+ community through special offers and various Pride Month events and initiatives that offer a safe space for us all to gather and connect—while directly benefiting local LGBTQIA+ centric nonprofits.

In the meantime, get to know some of our beloved team members through the interviews below—as they discuss what Pride means to them, how the 1 community nurtures growth and unity, and the ways nature has served as an inviting space for self-expression.

Rahim Printer, Director of People Operations at 1 Hotel Toronto

What led you to your current role with 1 Hotels? 
I was working at this property under its prior brand. Although I did not officially have to apply for my role, I was very happy to learn about the SH brand vision, mission, compass, and core values. It really does align with who I am as a person.  

How does your identity shape your approach to hospitality? 
My identity shapes every part of who I am. I was closeted for so many years that living my life authentically is extremely important and valuable to me. I feel my approach to hospitality is through sharing, vulnerability, and warm connections with our team members and guests. I do not like to hide parts of myself. I love letting the team in to get to see the real me. I want to always be a role model for all the communities that I am part of.  

How do you celebrate Pride, and what does it mean to you? 
I celebrate Pride by partying and rejoicing with my LGBTQIA+ community. I like to march in the parade with organizations I feel are close to my heart. I recall when I went to my first Pride parade, I was so uncomfortable and nervous that I would be outed. It is so beautiful to see my journey and get to celebrate how comfortable I am in my own skin.

Are there any Pride-related activities you’ll be participating in this month that are especially meaningful in celebrating your identity?  
I go to a candlelight AIDS vigil to commemorate the lives lost to HIV and AIDS. I enjoy marching with Rainbow Railroad, which is a local charity which helps LGBTQIA+ members escape persecution in their countries and enables them to come to Canada as refugees.
 
What do you think people can do this Pride Month to raise awareness about important issues that impact the global LGBTQIA+ community? 
I think people can continue to support the community in many ways. Being an ally and coming out to parties and community initiatives, donating to LGBTQIA+ groups, and continuing to help our community rise by protecting others from being bullied. It’s important to ensure community members are not being discriminated against or looked over for promotions and opportunities.   

What do you enjoy most about being in nature? In what ways has nature provided you a space to be yourself or express yourself, whether that be climbing a mountain or nurturing house plants? 
Nature has always brought me a sense of calm. I love travelling and being at one with nature. It is where I feel most comfortable and safe. When dealing with the stresses of being in the closet or not obtaining the support from my family, I would go for runs in nature and it truly helped me to recenter myself and continue to fight for myself and my community.

Melissa Rivera, General Manager of Habitat at 1 Hotel South Beach

Melissa Rivera

What led you to your current role with 1 Hotels?
The concept of the hotel really attracted me, but what’s led me to stay passionate about what I do and come to work every day is the warm vibe and sustainable focus. It’s great working for a company that is more than a business, but rather stands for a purpose in the world.

How does your identity shape your approach to hospitality?
It has made me more aware of the immense diversity that is out there and how we serve such a wide array of people and how there is no “right” way or only way to approach hospitality. Our guests are as diverse in their likes and dislikes as we all are in our own identities.

How do you celebrate Pride, and what does it mean to you?
Pride is a celebration of how far we have come in the LGBTQIA+ community to fight for equal rights. Although our views of identity and love are different, we are all human and deserve the same respect. I celebrate in various ways but mainly by accepting my own diversity and embracing it every day.

Are there any Pride-related activities you’ll be participating in this month that are especially meaningful in celebrating your identity?
I will likely attend a variety of Pride activations to show support for the community. I look forward to coming together as a whole to celebrate who we are and how far we’ve come to be seen as valued members of society and not just outcasts. All Pride activations that embrace humanity are equally important in my view.

What do you think people can do this Pride Month to raise awareness about important issues that impact the global LGBTQIA+ community?
I think it’s important to speak about it, try to understand how people may feel, and provide assurance—be it as a co-worker, friend or just as a member of society. Not all of us have supportive family and friends, and many people are still shy about their own identities. So simply talking about it and providing support can speak volumes—even to those who are not as vocal as other members of the community. We all have our views and fight our own battles so showing support regardless of sexual identification is crucial.

What do you enjoy most about being in nature? In what ways has nature provided you a space to be yourself or express yourself, whether that be climbing a mountain or nurturing house plants?
For me, being in nature reminds me of being back to my roots and humbles me as a human. I grew up on a tropical island surrounded by beaches, mountains, and farms; being in nature humbles me and reminds me that we are all God’s creation.

Joel Costa, Director of Sales & Marketing at 1 Hotel San Francisco 

Joel Costa

What led you to your current role with 1 Hotels?
After being with a very large hotel company for over 18 years, I felt I needed a new challenge. When I discovered that 1 Hotels was the brainchild of Barry Sternlicht, I jumped at the chance. I had worked for W Hotels when it had about as many hotels open as 1 Hotels does now. It was the best time in my career. Couple that with the mission of 1 Hotels—which speaks to me personally— and I have found a new home.

How does your identity shape your approach to hospitality?
I consider hospitality part of my DNA. I truly enjoy making a travel or event experience something memorable for anyone I can help.

How do you celebrate Pride, and what does it mean to you?
I celebrate with friends and chosen family. Sometimes that means gathering to watch the parade or attend a Pride-centric event. But I celebrate my identity every day and truly that is what being prideful is all about—loving who I am.

Are there any Pride-related activities you’ll be participating in this month that are especially meaningful in celebrating your identity? 
The professional meeting planner's association I belong to has its annual convention in San Francisco this year. I helped found the LGBTQIA+ contingent event for the organization so I will attend that event this year.

What do you think people can do this Pride Month to raise awareness about important issues that impact the global LGBTQIA+ community?
Pride Month is also Primary Month. I think everyone should use their voice and vote for change that upholds all human rights and equality.

What do you enjoy most about being in nature? In what ways has nature provided you a space to be yourself or express yourself, whether that be climbing a mountain or nurturing house plants?
I enjoy the peace and relative quiet of nature most. I can clear my mind when I am outdoors and listen to the sounds of weather or animals. I have a small farm about three hours north of the city that is my escape. There I can hang out with my goats, chickens and dog.  I can walk around the property and decompress from city life. Each day I spend there feels like a meditation session. 
 

Laurent Doux, Assistant General Manager of 1 Beach Club at 1 Hotel South Beach

Laurent Doux

What led you to your current role with 1 Hotels?
I’m passionate about hospitality, managing staff, and empowering them to grow. 1 Hotels embody a real identity in caring and love towards everyone and nature through its sustainability focus.

How does your identity shape your approach to hospitality?
Because I’m very outgoing and approachable, I’m always naturally seeking the best service that promotes the wellbeing of everyone.

How do you celebrate Pride, and what does it mean to you?
I celebrate Pride everyday! June Pride Month is a reminder that people from my community fought for our equal rights, and this is a fight that keeps happening in so many places around the world. I’m blessed to be in the US, and that justifies cheering to this! 

What do you think people can do this pride month to raise awareness about important issues that impact the global LGBTQIA+ community?
All awareness comes from educating people on what a sexual orientation is. Ignorance of the majority of people is the issue, we have to talk about it and understand how natural it is.

What do you enjoy most about being in nature? In what ways has nature provided you a space to be yourself or express yourself, whether that be climbing a mountain or nurturing house plants? 
Being in nature makes me feel connected, at peace, fulfilled, and content with myself. Funny fact, I grew up in the countryside, and hated it. Now, all I want is to move to a farm away from the city and just have a bed and breakfast where I can enjoy hosting guests, serving quality food, and providing an accommodating and relaxing time in nature.

To minimize the use of plastic in your own life, look around your home and work to identify plastic items. From there, seek to find alternatives.