Building Bridges of Inclusivity: Hilina Ajakaiye's Vision for Boston's Hospitality and Tourism

Welcome to the Tourism Academy's Business Class Podcast! In this episode, we had the privilege of speaking with Hilina Ajakaiye, a remarkable individual making a significant impact in Boston as Executive Vice President of Meet Boston.

Hilina's journey began as an immigrant from Ethiopia in 1987, with a dream of integrating and assimilating into her new home. Today, she is at the heart of the city's diverse culture, serving as a critical hub for education, academia, the medical industry, and pharma. Boston, often described as an international and welcoming center, has evolved in numerous ways, as showcased during the recent NAACP conference that the city proudly hosted.

As the first black woman in the EVP role, Hilina emphasizes the importance of representation for community members. Believing in mentorship, she advises aspiring professionals to be bold and open about their ambitions, aligning themselves with like-minded individuals who can offer guidance and support.

For Hilina, competence goes hand in hand with passion and a thirst for learning. She attributes her success to her mentors, who have taught her to assume the best, listen attentively, and navigate cultural dynamics while driving positive change.

Reflecting on her best days at work, Hilina cherishes the moments of synergy and collaboration among her team. Their commitment to inclusivity and continuous learning has resulted in hiring dozens of new team members, demonstrating a profound dedication to leaving no one behind.

As a loving mother, Hilina draws inspiration from her parents, who instilled a sense of selflessness and dedication to the greater good. She encourages her children and others to take up space, be respectful, and embrace discomfort to create accessible and inclusive environments.

Innovation is at the core of Hilina's work, as she and her team at "" develop blueprints for market engagement and partnerships. Their focus on workforce development and supplier diversity aims to create a community that can fully embrace the visitor economy.

Throughout this episode, Hilina shares valuable insights, emphasizing the importance of being humble, teachable, and open to constant learning. She envisions a tomorrow where her children and others confidently walk into any room, knowing they belong and can make their space accessible to all.

Join us as we delve into the world of Hilina Ajakaiye, a visionary leader who continues to make sustainable change, inspire innovation, and elevate Boston's hospitality and tourism industry to new heights.

Business Class is brought to you by The Tourism Academy - harnessing the power of science, business psychology and adult education to advance the tourism industry and build sustainable economies. Learn how to engage your community, win over stakeholders and get more visitors at

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