Our Team


Rashaida Nirobe is the Founder & President/CEO of Equality & Inclusion in Hospitality, Inc. (EIHI). EIHI is a non-profit organization committed to increasing the economic self-sufficiency of African American Workers by expanding their hospitality related employment opportunities while providing Unionized San Francisco Bay Area Hospitality Sector Employers access to a skilled group of individuals ready for employment.

Ms. Nirobe has 30 plus years of experience as Human Resources/ Workforce Development professional in the San Francisco Hospitality Industry. She has worked in both employee and consultant roles for the following San Francisco Hotels, Private Clubs and Restaurants: Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood, Intercontinental, Fairmont, Park Central, Palace, Handlery, Joie De Vivre hotels, SF Olympic Club and Scoma’s restaurant.

Ms. Nirobe co-authored the training curriculum used by San Francisco’s Labor Management Partnership, the San Francisco Hotels Partnership Project, and served as their Lead Instructor/ Facilitator. She has facilitated training and workforce development projects for UNITE HERE Local 2 and Local 19, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 856 and Service Employees Union Local 14. Ms. Nirobe has also served as an instructor in the Labor and Community Studies and the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Studies departments at City College of San Francisco (CCSF). She is currently an Advisory Board Member of CCSF’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Studies Departments and the Primed & Prepped Culinary Arts Program at Bayview Hunters Point YMCA.


Ms. Gaul is the Regional Director of Talent & Culture for Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, California and a member of Equality and Inclusion in Hospitality’s Board of Directors.

Born and raised in San Francisco in the Portola and Bayview districts.  Michele attended Golden Gate University, earning a B.S. Hotel/Restaurant and Institutional Management.

Michele started her career in hospitality in 1986 at the Berkeley Marina Marriott as HR Assistant and moved up to HR Manager when she graduated from Golden Gate.

She left the hospitality industry to work as the HR Director and Director of Volunteers for the Mount Zion Health Systems, Institute on Aging /USCF.

Hospitality stayed in Michele’s blood and she returned to the business and continued to work for various brands such as Marriott; Wyndham, Kimpton and Starwood.

In 2000, Michele opened her own Human Resource consulting firm where she worked with many labor attorneys and their clients to implement HR processes and trainings.  She had the opportunity to work with varying industries such as the movie industry and high tech.  Michele also stayed close to her affiliations with hospitality and continued to work with Starwood and Joie de Vive Hospitality.

The opportunity to work at Michele’s favorite hotel since she was a little child came in 2001 and she jumped at it and became the HR Director of the Fairmont Hotel.  Michele was promoted in 2003 to the California Regional Director of HR, where she supports the HR function in Fairmont’s 5 California properties.

Besides hospitality, Michele loves her volunteer coaching and traveling the world!   She also enjoys introducing new leaders and colleagues to the hospitality industry!


Collette Jacobs is Equality and Inclusion in Hospitality’s Senior Workforce Development Specialist.

Ms. Jacobs possesses nearly 20 years of Human Resources experience of which spans diverse sectors including hospitality and some of the positions which she has successfully held include HR Generalist, Employment Manager, and HR Director.

Ms. Jacobs’ breadth of qualifications include but is not limited to the following:

  • Recruitment and Selection
  • Employee and Labor Relations
  • Training and Development
  • Organizational and Strategic Planning
  • Coaching and Counseling

Ms. Jacobs has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology and a Masters in Social Work with a emphasis on Mental Health. Collette’s educational background  has afforded her with the knowledge and experience to serve and support  disenfranchised and marginalized minority populations.  Coupling her education with her professional experience, Ms. Jacobs is not only equipped but has demonstrated an ability educate, train, and support clients of Equality and Inclusion in Hospitality with job readiness training  and job placement assistance.


Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Mr. Pines was raised by his Grandmother in Albany, Georgia, moved to Atlanta at the age of 16 and on to San Francisco in the late 1970’s.

Mr. Pines is an alumnus of City College of San Francisco and SF State University.

Mr. Pines spent 23 years as a Field Representative /Organizer for UNITEHERE LOCAL 2. In this role he: represented workers in disciplinary hearings; created proposals for and led the way in negotiating collective bargaining agreements; built committees, led campaigns and paved the way as a legendary chant leader at demonstrations, even winning the title “Chant Leader Extraordinaire” from UC Berkeley Labor Studies for his efforts. Mr. Pines also worked in the same jobs as the individuals that he represented, from a Pot Washer to a Banquet Captain (and many positions in-between) and has deep roots in the Hospitality Industry with a strong desire to advocate on behalf of working people.

Mr. Pines has served on the following San Francisco Boards:
• Workforce Investment (WISF)
• Ella Hill Hutch Community Center
• San Francisco Labor Council
• San Francisco Workforce Development

Currently, Mr. Pines remains active in politics, research and his community.


Ms. Vowels began working with San Francisco Communities as a counseling Intern, providing counseling and educational programs to San Francisco Working People. She began her association with Labor/ Management Cooperatives as a Facilitator of Workforce Development Training Programs in the late 1990’s, With a BS from the University of San Francisco, an MA from New College and over 25 years of Workforce development experience, she has developed an expertise in the development and delivery of educational programs, coaching/ mentoring and a passion for inclusion.

In her current EIHI role as Program Advisor and EIHI board member, Ms. Vowels sets the course for development of an unrelenting commitment to sustainability and equal access.

Bios Coming Soon 

Gladys Porras

Chito Cuellar