American Airlines Applauds Team Members’ Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion with 11th Annual Earl G. Graves Award

Wednesday, September 18, 2019, 3:15 PM

FORT WORTH, Texas — American Airlines hosted its 11th annual Earl G. Graves Award for Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion luncheon recognizing team members across the company for their advocacy for diversity, equity and inclusion at work and in the community.

“Caring for people on life’s journey is our why,” said Patrick O’Keeffe, American’s Senior Vice President of People. “And one of the ways we care for team members and customers alike is by fostering diverse and inclusive spaces where people are invited to bring their authentic selves to the forefront. We encourage sharing different backgrounds, cultures and experiences that enrich our work culture, decision-making skills and business strategy. These honorees drive the innovation, creativity and results we need to promote diversity and inclusion.”

The 2019 Earl G. Graves Award for Leadership in Diversity and Inclusion honorees are:

  • Larry Boles, Global Reservations Coordinator, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

    Larry started a local chapter of Spectrum, an LGBT Employee Business Resource Group (EBRG), for US Airways in 2005 and served as its president, later going on to become the first elected American Airlines Diversity Advisory Council representative from Winston-Salem. He also mentors other EBRGs, advising on business plans, succession planning and opportunities to improve collaboration across the EBRG community.

  • Mylene Flecha, Flight Service Base Manager, Lima, Peru

    Mylene initiated American’s involvement in Lima’s Pride Parade in 2017, making American the first company in Lima to support LGBTQ rights and further amplifying American’s commitment to making culture a competitive advantage. Serving as Lima’s first PRIDE chapter president, she blazes the trail for other companies in Lima to support LGBTQ rights and create their own EBRGs.

  • Abina Phillips, Revenue Accounting Specialist, Phoenix

    Abina leveraged knowledge of American’s Caribbean EBRG to provide invaluable insights for the company’s new route to Georgetown, Guyana. She develops programs to create meaningful conversations across levels and business units, including the Leadership Series, a forum in which managers share how they discovered that diversity can strengthen operations and promote growth.

  • Jeni Sutton, Customer Service Delivery Manager, London

    Jeni serves as the Muslim EBRG manager sponsor. She seeks creative ways of bringing awareness to the various facets of diversity while increasing cultural competence of a team of more than 500 people.

Created in 2008, the award was named in honor of Earl G. Graves Sr., an entrepreneur, philanthropist and former member of AMR Corporation’s Board of Directors (1995–2008). Graves also served as the first chairman of the Diversity Committee of the AMR Corporation Board of Directors. American recognizes two to four team members annually with the Earl G. Graves Award for their demonstration of leadership as it relates to inclusion and diversity at American and in their local community.

For the ninth year, American received the 2019 ERG & Council Honors Award from the Association of ERGs & Councils in recognition of the airline's Diversity Advisory Council. This premiere national award celebrates the outstanding contributions and achievements of employee resource groups and diversity councils.

The number of EBRG chapters has more than doubled, from 68 at the time of American’s merger with US Airways to more than 200 worldwide today. In the past two years alone, team member participation has increased by 22%.

For more information on American’s commitment to diversity, visit

Earl G. Graves recipients

2019 Earl Graves Award winners, from left: Larry Boles, Global Reservations Coordinator; Abina Phillips, Revenue Accounting Specialist; Mylene Flecha, Flight Service Base Manager; and Jeni Sutton, Customer Service Delivery Manager.

About American Airlines Group
American Airlines offers customers 6,800 daily flights to more than 365 destinations in 61 countries from its hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. With a shared purpose of caring for people on life's journey, American's 130,000 global team members serve more than 200 million customers annually. Since 2013, American has invested more than $28 billion in its product and people and now flies the youngest fleet among U.S. network carriers, equipped with industry-leading high-speed Wi-Fi, lie-flat seats, and more inflight entertainment and access to power. American also has enhanced food and beverage options in the air and on the ground in its world-class Admirals Club and Flagship lounges. American was recently named a Five Star Global Airline by the Airline Passenger Experience Association and Airline of the Year by Air Transport World. American is a founding member of oneworld®, whose members serve 1,100 destinations in 180 countries and territories. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL and the company's stock is included in the S&P 500. Learn more about what's happening at American by visiting and connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and at