Marriott's Regan Taikitsadaporn: Being an Ally

The buzzword “allyship” is now being spoken about more and more in the workplace as DEI is becoming a focus globally. But what does it really mean to be an ally? And why is it so important to have these conversations? For this, we turn to Regan Taikitsadaporn, Chief Human Resources Officer, Asia Pacific, at Marriott International, who has been with the company for more than 20 years and is excited about the changes he is starting to see in Asia and around the world.

Regan Taikitsadaporn, Chief Human Resources Officer, Asia Pacific, at Marriott International

How do you define being an ally?

An ally is someone who learns about, supports, and advocates for another person or group of people. It starts with having difficult yet important conversations. In the context of male allies, I think men often have a misconception that we need to have the “right answers.” Being an ally is also about being curious, listening to others, and trying to understand and be aware of new and different perspectives.


What are the traits of a good ally?

Being a good ally means having empathy for others and understanding their needs and experiences. It is also about putting yourself in other people’s shoes and staying open-minded. A good ally will also speak up and advocate for those they represent. Having said that, there is no “one size fits all” approach. Good allies come in many forms and can offer support in different ways.

Do you see DEI and allyship as something that transcends all the stakeholders in the hotel ecosystem?

DEI is not only an employee concern, it is fully integrated into the way we partner with our owners and suppliers, and show up for our guests. Our guests are diverse and come from all walks of life, and we want to create a welcoming environment for all.

The topic of DEI needs to be integrated into every part of the conversation, and one of the best ways to do this is by being an ally. That is how meaningful support can happen for women, LGBTQ+, minorities, and differently-abled people. By having conversations and offering training and support, we can make a meaningful impact.


Why do you think DEI is so important today?

With the world reopening and travel returning to normal, the hospitality industry is experiencing a huge talent shortage, making DEI more important than ever. As the world’s largest hospitality company, hiring and nurturing talent is a strategic priority, and companies that are more inclusive and welcoming will benefit the most. There is a growing need to explore alternative talent sources, which coincides with the need to promote greater awareness, understanding, and advocacy toward DEI.

I recently attended a panel where we discussed many DEI challenges that we still face today. For example, transgender travelers may have a passport from their birth gender, but governments would not issue one with the gender that they identify with. When hiring people with disabilities, are companies offering changing rooms and bathroom facilities that are both accessible and inclusive? As for supporting working mothers, how can we create schedules that are more accommodating toward their domestic responsibilities?

I recently attended a panel where we discussed many DEI challenges that we still face today. For example, transgender travelers may have a passport from their birth gender, but governments would not issue one with the gender that they identify with. When hiring people with disabilities, are companies offering changing rooms and bathroom facilities that are both accessible and inclusive? As for supporting working mothers, how can we create schedules that are more accommodating toward their domestic responsibilities?


All of this is coming to light and change is starting to happen from building design to employee scheduling, guest communications, and even supplier choice. Ultimately, companies that are more inclusive will have a competitive advantage in attracting the best talent.

Why are you personally so passionate about allyship?

I was educated in the international school system and within my classes, we had people from all over the world representing different cultures, languages, and religions. This was just normal for me and being in an inclusive environment was really powerful. It was also a lot of fun!


What would be your top 3 tips for those who want to be a better ally?


1. Start by asking questions and really listening to understand––this is how you raise awareness.

2. Don’t worry about “having an answer” but try to support people who are different from you by working on solutions together

3. Mentor and sponsor someone who is different from you (gender, generation, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.)


Great advice, thank you so much, Regan!