With more than 15 years in the food and beverage industry, Ashtin Berry is a respected activist and educator on the frontlines of hospitality and humanity, creating safer, more inclusive spaces to have real, intersectional conversations. Also known for her work as sommelier, mixologist, and beverage consultant, Berry creates more than cocktails: She creates change.
Activism has played a large role in Berry’s life since she was a young girl who would regularly attend neighborhood meetings with her mother, a sexual educator and fellow community advocate. Following several roles in the restaurant, wine, and spirits worlds that took her to cities like New Orleans, Chicago, New York, and Seattle, Berry began creating customized curriculums for restaurants around equity and transformative justice mediation. In 2016, her creative content agency Radical XChange was born, and she launched the yearly multi-day symposium Resistance Served to celebrate and contextualize the contributions of the African Diaspora to the world of hospitality.
Using her background in sociology, Berry’s framework for building spaces is intersectional (recognizing how power dynamics and privilege, or lack thereof, are compounded and constructing spaces to be more inclusive in the first place). Berry has also done transformative mediation for survivors, as well as trauma care. Her main focus today is consent-based communication and building open, honest spaces where all employees can do more than simply survive.
Berry has been recognized for her advocacy work as a member of the World’s 50 Next, as well as Observer’s 50 Most Influential People in Dining and Nightlife. Her consulting partners include brands like Bacardi, as well as hotel and restaurant groups. She’s spoken about issues relating to hospitality and inclusivity at numerous events and universities, including SUMMIT, Bar Convent, Spirit Forward Summit, UC Berkeley, Dillard University, and many more.
When she’s not working, you’ll find Berry reading, traveling, and searching for her new favorite shoes.