Class of 2021
33 / New Orleans, USA
The hospitality activist re-writing the playbook for equitable service systems
Sommelier, mixologist, drinks consultant, activist, writer and equity campaigner are just a handful of monikers given to Ashtin Berry, who first started working in the hospitality industry aged 16. She’s held almost every position available in bars, restaurants and hotels, and in recent years has focused her attention on making them a better place to work.
Ashtin has become the go-to educator for hospitality businesses in the US, capitalising on her experience and knowledge to make their operations progressive and equitable. Issues of harassment, wage inequality, sex and race relations, patriarchy and privilege are some of the key areas she will unpick and improve, looking at structures from the top down, before drafting a curriculum and mission statement that will help an organisation achieve forward-thinking goals.
In 2018, along with partners Kisira Hill and Eric King, Ashtin founded Radical Xchange, a New Orleans-based creative content agency that analyses intersectionality. She also plays a key role in Resistance Served, a four-day symposium honouring Black hospitality workers and recently, she founded America’s Table, a movement to raise political awareness around the needs of hospitality workers affected by Covid-19. In 2020, Ashtin won the prestigious Roku Industry Icon award at The World’s 50 Best Bars, which celebrated her work in actioning progressive change in the bar world.
“I really hope in 10 years I’m not even considered radical anymore, because there are so many younger people that have included this intersectional work into how they do hospitality. That would be my dream, to become irrelevant.” – Ashtin Berry