Senior VP, Diversity & Assistant to the Chairman, Wyndham International • Dallas, Texas
As senior vice president of diversity and assistant to the chairman of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts/Wyndham International, Donna DeBerry stands out in an industry that counts few African-Americans at senior executive level. She is, indeed, the highest-ranking African-American in the hotel industry and uses her position to shape a corporate culture of inclusion through mentoring, strategic sourcing and relationship building. “I am in a position to affect lives. My purpose in life is to enrich the lives of others through who I am, through what I do,” she says.
Inspired by the lessons of Martin Luther King Jr., DeBerry champions diversity beyond Wyndham through her participation in the advisory boards of the United States Conference of Mayors, Meeting Professionals International Multicultural Board and the White House Initiative for Historically Black Colleges. She also sits on the board of directors of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners, the National Hispanic Corporate Council, the Multicultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance, the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
DeBerry did not complete her undergraduate studies at California State University. She learned leadership skills and the spirit of winning while working with the National Football League and the United States Olympic Committee. Her father—a “firm and disciplined man”—and many mentors guided her on a path she believes was preordained. “I have succeeded because I was set up for success with [God’s] higher purpose,” she says.
Her soon-to-be-published book, Where Is She in the Land of He, and From A to Z–Who are We? exalt self-worth and collective strength. “The power of we is greater than the power of me. But if all I have is the power of me, then I will still achieve and succeed for all to see,” she writes.