Throughout her career, National Spirits Specialist and Portfolio Mixologist Lynn House has been passionate about helping to amplify different voices and life experiences.
“When I first began working in the hospitality industry, there were not a lot of people who looked like me,” Lynn said. “I’ve always looked to just really be proactive, to be a voice to help bring others up, not to just enable people to bring a chair to the table but to build an extension to that table.”
A proponent of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts in both her work and personal life, Lynn serves as speaker, volunteer, activist and educator. Currently as Co-Chair of the Tales of the Cocktail Education Committee, she oversees Beyond the Bar, curating seminars that deal with sustainability, DEI, mental health and physical wellness. Additionally, she curated a seminar on Tipping for Equity and participated in two roundtable discussions, promoting Black workers and women in the hospitality industry.
Certified in DEI Education and informed by her many decades in the industry, Lynn says training and education are important, as more companies embrace DEI initiatives and look for ways to fill diversity gaps and lift up different voices.
In addition to education efforts, Lynn is also active in mentorship opportunities. Serving on the Speedrack Mentoring Board, she works alongside up and coming bartenders mentoring them over a six-month period.
A frequent speaker on DEI topics, Lynn has been a frequent podcast guests, discussing with Imbibe Magazine and speaking about DEI and COVID on the Virtual Tips podcast. On the podcast Bartender at Large Lynn challenged the industry to look in the mirror and take a look at that they were doing to promote inclusivity, especially in the on-premise world.
She also participated in the Focus on Health takeover of liquor.com on Instagram and served on a panel with them for a series called Fill in the Gaps, focusing on steps industry leaders can take to fill in gaps and create more equity.
Lynn has been recognized by Brown and Balanced and will participate in the future as part of their programming series. The organization has a mission of sharing talents and stories of Black and brown food and beverage professionals and the projects they’re developing.
Through both her personal and professional life, Lynn has been a long-time proponent of diversity, equity and inclusion. Coming from a long line of civil rights advocates and activists in her family, Lynn said she has always felt it was important for her to use her voice to fill the diversity gap and lift up others.
“I grew up with people around me who were doing the right things with passion for equity and equality,” said Lynn. “I was raised to be fearless, to use my voice.”
Lynn’s uncle, William Stuart House, at 19 was the youngest president of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a civil-rights group formed in the 1960s and led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to give younger Black people more of a voice in the civil rights movement. Their goal was to register Black and other underserved communities and to gain better access for these communities to vote.
Her great-aunt Claudia House Morcum, in 1965, was the first Black woman to be made a law partner in a mixed firm. Later in her career Claudia also became the first Black female appellate court judge in Michigan. And, both of her grandfathers were Tuskegee Airmen, the first Black military aviators to serve in the United States Armed Forces.
During the pandemic, Lynn felt increasingly compelled to shine a light on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, as the pandemic created even greater disparities for people of color, especially in the hospitality industry. At the same time, Lynn said she has felt encouraged with greater awareness of these issues and more initiative by businesses to create DEI programs.
As a company committed to DEI, Heaven Hill is proud to support Lynn’s efforts in our industry and beyond. Her passion and commitment to uplifting and giving a voice to others is an inspiration for us all.