William MacCallum is the out and proud General Manager of Hilton Garden Inn Toronto/Burlington and Homewood Suites by Hilton Burlington. A vocal supporter of his community, he shared with us his journey into hospitality and how he’s felt supported by his employers the whole way through.

What originally got you interested in hospitality work?

I remember growing up and wondering what I wanted to “be when I was older,” and really never knew that hospitality, or more importantly that Hilton, would end up being my “home.” Going through my late teens and coming to terms with my sexual orientation, I didn’t know if I would fit into the business world because I wasn’t exposed to successful LGBT professionals. I wondered if being gay would limit my career opportunities. Who would hire someone like me?  Well, that mentality was short lived…

So what happened?

I started in hotels in 2001 as a Housekeeper at a mountain resort in Kananaskis, Alberta, and worked there until 2003.  I loved the hotel atmosphere and the comings and goings of people from all over the world, and that staff was great; with so many different personalities and ethnicities, this industry was where I belonged! After a few positions of Housekeeping Lead, Supervisor, and Manager with different hotel chains, I started working at a franchised Hilton hotel in June 2007 as an opening Executive Housekeeper at the then under-construction Homewood Suites by Hilton Cambridge-Waterloo, Ontario.

And did you feel working at a Hilton hotel was a good fit for you?

I felt right at home at Homewood Suites in Cambridge.  While working at this hotel, I came to understand and appreciate Hilton’s commitment to its guests and Team Members. Hilton’s guests come from all walks of life — every race, religion, sexual orientation — and so do the hotel employees who serve them.  My coworkers had a great wealth of knowledge in Revenue Management, Brand Support, Training — they were all different people with different backgrounds, but all had one important thing in common: they were proud Hilton Team Members who were committed to creating great experiences for our guests.

How has your career grown?

While at Homewood Suites I went from Executive Housekeeper to Front Office Manager to Operations Manager, and finally became an Asst. General Manager.  I decided to move on to a great opportunity to be a Hotel Manager of the soon-to-open Hampton Inn by Hilton Calgary Airport North and Homewood Suites by Hilton Calgary-Airport, Alberta, Canada dual-branded properties. I stayed a year and gained fantastic knowledge and began meeting more influential people within Hilton along the way. Finally my time had to come to move into a General Manager role and that position brought me back to Ontario, where I oversaw the operations at a competitor’s hotel. I wanted to see how another successful hotel chain did things, and while it was a great learning experience, my heart and home were with the Hilton hotel brands.  A year later, I was offered an amazing opportunity with Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites in Burlington as a General Manager. I have now been in that role for over a year and am loving every minute of it.

Where do you see yourself heading in the future?

I want to continue my journey with Hilton hotels. I’m proud to say I represent our brands. As I became comfortable with who I was over the years and grew into the professional I am today within the hotel industry, Hilton also continued to grow both its values and insights. I’m so Hilton honored to be associated with a company that cares and respects everyone no matter their sexual orientation.

How strongly do you feel an LGBT presence within your workplace?

As our two hotels have several LGBT team members, we always ensure we are involved in the LGBT community.  We are in the process of receiving our LGBT Friendly status (even though we already consider ourselves that!), registering for LGBT diversity and sensitivity training and proudly promoting the Stay Hilton. Go Out. package.