Airbnb announces the appointment of Melissa C. Thomas as Head of Global Diversity and Belonging.
In her role at Airbnb, Thomas-Hunt will serve on Airbnb’s Executive Team and lead the strategy and execution of our global internal diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging programs for Airbnb’s 5,000 employees around the world.
An expert on building inclusive, global teams, Thomas-Hunt joins Airbnb from Vanderbilt University, where she served as Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence. In that role, she was responsible for helping advance equity, diversity and inclusion in Vanderbilt’s academic research and community of almost 22,000 students, staff and faculty. Prior to her work at Vanderbilt, Thomas-Hunt served as Global Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, where she was focused on ensuring that the student community was seen, heard, valued and supported.
Thomas-Hunt held Full, Associate and Assistant Professorial roles for over 20 years at schools such as Vanderbilt, the University of Virginia, Cornell University, and Washington University in St Louis. Her research and teaching focused on organizational behavior and the factors that unleash, leverage and amplify the talents and contributions made by women and underrepresented individuals. She began her career at IBM as a Marketing Representative and received her master’s and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management and her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University.
In recent years, Airbnb has launched a series of initiatives like the Airbnb Community Commitment and Open Doors policies that help fight discrimination and promote belonging. Thomas-Hunt will advise Airbnb on these and other initiatives that are designed to work to fight bias and ensure our community is open and fair for all hosts and guests.
Thomas-Hunt will relocate to San Francisco and begin her role on May 13, 2019, reporting to Beth Axelrod, Vice President of Global Employee Experience.