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Photo of tourism class with guest speaker, Josh Loebner

Inclusiveness in the Tourism Industry

Photo of CEHHS Student Marketing Ambassador Ella KoehlMy name is Ella Koehl. I am a senior Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management major and a College Student Marketing Ambassador. One of the reasons why I love my major, are the professors. They are not just professors, they are role models I look up to. Our professors bring guest speakers into our classes, giving us real life insight into the industry. Below is a summary from a recent guest speaker, Josh Loebner of Designsensory.

“I’m partially blind and visually impaired, which gives me a unique perspective, but I always clearly see the best in everyone”. – Josh Loebner

Photo of tourism class with guest speaker, Josh Loebner

Today, our Critical Sustainable Tourism class was able to listen to special guest Josh Loebner, Director of Strategy for a local Knoxville company, Designsensory. He spoke about the inclusiveness of those who identify as disabled within the tourism and advertising world.

Josh Loebner suffers from severe sight impairments, including partial blindness, which sometimes leaves his travel experiences confusing, and prevents his ability to operate machinery. However, he does not let his impairment influence his career. Loebner worked on Madison Avenue, when he decided to return for a Master’s degree in advertisement, and continues to work in the industry with companies including Crystal Light and Advil. Last year, he was elected onto the City of Knoxville Mayor’s Council on Disability Issues for a three-year term, and also served as the 2015-16 District 7 Diversity Chair.

During his presentation, Loebner gave ideas on how individuals in the workforce can increase the relationships between diversity and inclusion, in addition to how this inclusion can benefit those companies who embrace the inclusion of people with disabilities in their advertisements. His hope is to bring awareness to disabled individuals by presenting them within the advertisement and tourism industry. The presentation was motivating and inspirational. Josh Loebner brought a perspective most had not experienced and brought a light on an issue that needs attention from all.