Lesbian tapped to head airline’s Diverse Segment Marketing
Officials with American Airlines this week announced that Betty Young has been named director of Diverse Segment Marketing for the Fort Worth-based airline.
Young had, for the past five years, been co-manager of the American’s Rainbow TeAAM, the airline’s LGBT sales and marketing group. She said this week the promotion was an exciting opportunity.
"What I do now is all diversity marketing efforts internally as well as externally. I am very excited to be able to expand and do more with all our efforts instead of just the one segment," Young said.
Roger Frizzell, American’s first vice president of Corporate Communications and Advertising, said in a written statement released Monday, Feb. 9 that Young has "a career-long commitment to inclusion and diversity that is second to none. She will play a key role in integrating our customer outreach that best reflects our inclusive business philosophy, allowing us to better serve our customers."
The statement from American noted that the Rainbow TeAAm is recognized as the first LGBT national marketing group at a Fortune 100 company, adding that it had "flourished under the leadership of Young and George Carancho."
"Together, they have been instrumental in supporting the LGBT community and fostering a targeted sales strategy that has maintained American’s leadership in this important market segment," the statement said. Carrancho will continue to lead the LGBT sales team.
Young said American’s targeted sales and marketing program focusing on African-American, Hispanic and LGBT communities has been in place for the past 15 years, and that American is still "the only airline with a dedicated team for specific sales efforts."
"American has really made a lot of efforts to get involved and stay involved," Young said. "Now, having an openly gay person promoted [to oversee the entire Diverse Segment Marketing effort] is just the next step in expanding those efforts. We are an international company, and we want not only our employees to know they are valued, but also our travelers."
In addition to reaching out to the LGBT, African-American and Hispanic communities, Young said the airline is beginning to reach out even more to other communities, especially women.
"We just need to know our customers better so that we can continue to get better at meeting their travel needs. That’s ‘Marketing 101,’" she said. "It’s not easy to do, but we want to make our best effort."
Young said this week that she will mark her 20-year anniversary with American Airlines this August. She said she was hired into the company to work in reservations while she was in college and "just never left. I love it here."
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 13, 2009.