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shifting the conversation

Black history month: Shifting the conversation with Colin Skerritt

Colin is reflecting on his career journey and the many cultural events and Black leaders who have influenced his path

At Sabre, we are committed to embracing and celebrating our diversity. In this inclusion & engagement series, Shifting the Conversation, our people share their stories to engage in open dialog and shed light on their broad, rich and unique perspectives. In celebration of Black History Month, this blog highlights many inspiring cultural events and Black leaders, penned by Sabre’s Colin Skerritt, an active member of the Black Generations of Leadership and Development (BGOLD) inclusion group. BGOLD provides Sabre’s black population an opportunity to come together and grow while amplifying a unique cultural point of view.

As a UK-born Canadian with experience in various travel companies across the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and the Caribbean, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed the diverse ways in which Black History is celebrated worldwide.

As an Account Manager for Virgin Atlantic Airways in Antigua, I had the privilege of sponsoring regional events that promoted both air travel and Caribbean culture. Among these, the “Crop Over” Carnival in Barbados held a special place in my heart. Originating in the 18th century as a celebration by slaves that marked the end of the Sugar Cane Harvest, this event carries profound historical significance.

My journey continued in Jamaica, where I supported the parade and week-long cultural festivities for the Jamaican track team, which made history with its World and Olympic Records in Track and Field in 2008. Managing Virgin Atlantic’s sponsorship of the Jamaican Olympic team delegation, led by Usain Bolt as they “returned home to the rock,” was a proud moment. This phrase, commonly used by Jamaicans, is used to describe the strength of the beautiful island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea.

In North America, I found the melting pot of diverse cultures offered an amazing opportunity for me to learn about others and share my own unique experiences. Black History Month was a time to spotlight and celebrate the historical contributions of our people throughout history – something that was regularly discussed around my family dinner table growing up.

As I advanced in my career, I joined Brand USA as Director of Tourism, where I focused on promoting the United States as a tourist destination for Canadians. During Black History Month, I spotlighted initiatives like “The Civil Rights Trail Tour,” spanning 14 states and over 100 significant sites. These efforts aimed to showcase the inspiring journey of the Civil Rights Movement as an integral part of the American tourism experience.

Transitioning through various roles in the travel industry, from Airline Partnership Management to Tourism Director, I now find fulfillment as an Account Director at Sabre. Along this journey, I’ve drawn inspiration from Black trailblazers like Lanny Smoot, whose innovative projects and contributions, including groundbreaking inventions like the retractable lightsaber and holo-tile floor, revolutionized Disney’s technological landscape.

Smoot’s ability to seamlessly merge technology with storytelling, evident in his work across Disneyland and Cruise experiences, serves as a blueprint for my approach to account management and problem-solving using Sabre technology. His relentless pursuit of innovation, with 106 patented inventions, second only to Walt Disney, continues to inspire my creative solution mindset.

As I reflect on my career journey, I am reminded of the many cultural events and Black leaders who have influenced and motivated me. I am driven by a desire to inspire the next generation, and hopefully contribute a few valuable stories that will be shared around dinner tables for years to come.

Sabre is shifting the conversation with stories from passionate and bold inclusion group members. At the heart of our inclusion & engagement efforts, our eight inclusion groups, and counting, aim to amplify the voices of our team members and create a sense of belonging for all. Together, we celebrate diversity, applaud individuality and embrace unique perspectives to empower our global team members to bring their true selves to work every day. Learn more about our inclusion & engagement mission.

about the author

Colin Skerritt is a proud member of the Black Generations of Leadership and Development (BGOLD) inclusion group and serves as an Account Director on our Travel Solutions Commercial & Services team at Sabre.

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