Antonio Carranza Shares Insight Into Hyatt’s Change Starts Here Initiative

An in the Mix Feature Interview

Antonio Carranza

Director of Beverage,

Hyatt Hotels Timeless Americas

In this in the Mix feature interview, Antonio Carranza, Director of Beverage, for Hyatt Hotels Timeless Americas, provides insight into Hyatt’s Change Starts Here initiative that commits to Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion efforts, and shares how Hyatt is honoring Black History Month.

in the Mix: Thank you for taking the time to share Hyatt’s Change Starts Here initiative with the in the Mix readers. To start, would you share a bit about the background and overall mission of the initiative?

Antonio Carranza: In 2020, we launched our Change Starts Here commitment with actionable goals to accelerate our Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion efforts by 2025 across three key areas, including who we buy from and work with. Our goal by 2025 is to achieve 10% of Black spending as a percentage of all minority- and women-owned Supplier spending.

We commit to working with organizations to significantly increase our spending with diverse suppliers and vendors in our supply chain, evaluate investments in various businesses and provide resources to help diverse businesses.
We are focused on expanding our purchasing with minority-owned businesses, especially those that are Black-owned.

itM: Are there other programs, or grants, that fall under the Change Starts Here initiative? If so, could you touch on the mission(s) of those as well?


Hyatt Timeless Americas Beverage Program: Hotels must offer at least one certified Black-owned wine by the glass on their menus.
Black History Month Celebration LTO (Limited Time Offer): We are asking our hotels to host at least one event in partnership with our certified Black-Owned suppliers.
The SIP (Hyatt Beverage Newsletter): We showcase a black-owned product or Supplier in our quarterly newsletter that gets distributed to all our Timeless Americas Hotels.

Aamira Garba, award-winning winemaker and LoveLee Wine founder

Hyatt Regency Atlanta organized a vendor showcase that featured 12 different Black-owned alcohol suppliers, including the owner of Equiano Rum who arrived from London.

itM: What changes have you seen take place across your hotels, suppliers, and the many communities in which Hyatt operates since implementing the Change Starts Here initiative?

AC: A significant increase in certified Black-owned wines is offered by the glass. Hyatt leaders are more aware of diverse suppliers and offer more products from Minority Business Enterprises (MBE). You can see a variety of offerings, from wine, beer, spirits, self-drinks, etc., in our Outlets.

itM: How has this initiative evolved to become such an integral part of Hyatt’s culture today?

AC: This initiative has increased awareness of African-American vintners and deepened the sense of community among its member growers and wineries, as well as with industry groups, through informal networking and social functions to connect their membership with our hotels to further grow our partnership.

As part of Hyatt’s Change Starts Here initiative, participating hotels partner with the Association of African-American Vintners (AAAV) and other noted Black-owned beverage companies to host on-site tastings, dinners and other promotional and guest events.

itM: What do you think hotels can do to begin incorporating and promoting more local people and businesses, particularly diverse people and businesses owned by minorities?

AC: Make a connection, identify your local minority-owned brands, and work with them. Build a strong relationship, create a sense of belonging, and be an ally.

itM: How can other hospitality brands incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into their marketing campaigns and beverage programs?

AC: Bench marketing, find what other businesses are doing, and adapt it to yours. We are on this together. A self-certified MBE list is beneficial and a fantastic support tool for our hotels.

itM: How does Hyatt help create opportunities for women and minorities within the hospitality industry?


Women@Hyatt: is a companywide recognized organization allowing women to networking collaborate with their peers from other hotels.
Women Business Enterprise (WBE): We support minority-owned women proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, or joint ventures in which a minimum of 51% is owned, operated, and controlled by a woman.

itM: What is the process in curating relationships with Hyatt’s Change Starts Here diversity partners and suppliers?


  • Identify an MBE with a great product
    Confirm if the MBE is a certify black-owned
  • Connect with MBE and show them how to get self-certified in Supplier.One (internal free self-certification tool)
  • Add MBE to the Change Start Here Suppliers list
  • Communicate this to our hotels.

Hyatt Regency Greenwich hosted Alisa Bowens-Mercado, owner and brewmaster of Rhythm Brewing Co., for a tasting of her flagship Rhythm lager with hotel managers and hotel guests. Rhythm is Connecticut’s First African-American and African-American Woman-owned beer company and a current partner with the hotel in its Change Starts Here program.

Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay partnered with McBride Sisters Wine Company for a delightful onsite wine tasting experience for hotel guests. McBride Sisters is the largest Black-owned wine company in the United States, founded in California in 2005 by sisters Robin and Andréa McBride.

itM: How does Hyatt recognize and honor Black History Month?

AC: As mentioned above, hotels were to participate in the Black History Month LTO by partnership with our certified Black-owned suppliers. 

itM: What do future diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at Hyatt look like?

AC: Since opening our doors more than 60 years ago, we have worked to foster environments where all individuals feel welcome in our hotels. Inclusion and diversity are at the core of our purpose to care for people so they can be their best.

Hyatt has made significant strides in building strong Diversity Business Resource Groups, launching our Global Inclusion & Diversity Council, training our People Managers on how to lead inclusively, and driving inclusion and diversity into our talent management practices. There is still more to do.

We are committed to hiring, promoting, and retaining diverse talent to increase the representation of women and people of color. We will be mainly focused on ensuring our leadership better reflects the rest of the organization and the communities in which we operate—this will require us to work to ensure equity in our internal processes.

We will continue to ensure a level playing field for all colleagues’ career growth by ensuring compliance with our Internal Recruiting & Hiring Guidelines and requiring a diverse slate of candidates for all leadership roles.

We will audit our hiring and promotion processes to ensure they deliver diverse candidates in the selection process and continue to link the achievement of our inclusion and diversity goals to compensation for leaders at Hyatt.

Mur Mur Rum, a Texas-based company’s multicultural, multi-racial founders include women and disabled verterans.

Hyatt Regency Atlanta organized a vendor showcase that featured 12 different Black-owned alcohol suppliers, including Ten To One Caribbean Dark Rum.

Ashley Jackson and JeNai Stanley – creators of Halo 7 Craft Rum.

itM: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about Hyatt’s Change Starts Here initiative?

AC: As a company that stands with the Black community and all people who suffer from discrimination and prejudice, we continue to uphold our vision of a world of understanding and care through our words and actions—but even more importantly, we call upon ourselves to do better and be better. Change starts here.