Capstone Development founder, president, and CEO Norman K. Jenkins recalls “it wasn’t unusual to be the only person of color in the room” during countless meetings while ascending through the management ranks of his corporate career. Jenkins spent five years with McDonald’s prior to joining Marriott International, where he spent 16 years. While at Marriott, he spearheaded the Diversity Ownership Initiative, an innovative educational program that reached out to successful leaders in other industries to make them aware of investment and ownership opportunities in hospitality.

As he told LODGING, “I am pleased to be honored with the LODGING Magazine Diversity & Inclusion Award, and I am humbled to be the inaugural recipient. While this award recognizes my past contributions, I’m not finished. Promoting diversity is a lifelong commitment and passion that will always be an integral part of my life.”

Looking back, Jenkins considers himself fortunate that his parents were willing to sacrifice so that he could obtain a college education; but there were strings: “They scraped together every nickel, but my commitment to them was that I would select a major that would ensure immediate employment upon completing college.”