In Conversation With: Touré Folkes

Touré Folkes, founder of Turning Tables NOLA speaks to RHC on diversity in the spirits industry and how we can work together to foster inclusion.

As part of the Diversity Council’s education and learning efforts, RHC hosted founder and hospitality industry changemaker, Touré Folkes for a candid discussion on diversity in the spirits industry and how both brands and PR professionals can be better partners. Here are a few learnings from our conversation with Touré, from active members of the Diversity Council.

Cass Lovett, VP of Media Relations: “Touré spoke about the struggle to source funds for his mentees to attend events that have become an expectation within the industry. I had assumed that by now, big brands with resources would be more committed to supporting rising industry talent. The gap between intention and action was illuminating and a reminder that creating change within the industry has to happen at every level.”

Christian Perez, Senior Publicist: “Speaking with Touré, I learned the true value of authentic communication and relationship building in our industry. I got to understand a bit more about the negative impact that racial bias has for those affected, through either micro aggressions or outward racism. Being able to have a deeper knowledge of the negative experiences that many journalists and publicists have, has allowed me to be more mindful of the way I myself communicate and to ensure I am an advocate for inclusivity in all aspects of our industry.”

Ramses Rubio, Account Coordinator: “Touré shed light on the difficulties that diverse backgrounds face in the hospitality industry. By creating Turning Tables and working with Black and Brown hospitality professionals with culturally responsive education, training, mentorship, and resources, Touré has led the charge for change. Through his seminar with RHC, he shed light on the importance of change originating not only through internal forces, but external forces as well, such as from PR professionals. By helping Black & Brown hospitality brands grow we can give these voices more cadence and power in the industry.”

To learn more and get involved with Turning Tables NOLA, visit their website here.