Heather Kim Degenhardt-Stifanic
Founder; Director of Impact — IIICONIC; Aid for Kids
Heather Kim Degenhardt-Stifanic is the founder of IIICONIC, an inclusion and diversity-focused nonprofit consulting organization.
Heather’s hospitality career began in 1994 in hotel operations. She managed restaurants, stewarding and housekeeping with Marriott International, The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company and Global Hyatt Corporation. She transitioned into human resources with Hyatt as a human resources coordinator, then employee relations manager, training manager and finally as director of service training and education. The last 13 years of her career were spent at the Yale Club of New York City in the human resources department. Heather’s human resources experience specializes in employee relations, training and development, hiring, safety/compliance and the facilitation of all employee volunteer and community events.
Heather has written the hospitality career real-world textbook, H Guide to Career Success From Intern to Board Room that chronicles the past 25 years of her hospitality career in New York City. Proceeds of book sales provide underserved individuals with career training and workshops, mentoring and scholarships. In addition, she created the Holden Hutchison Award in honor of her high school home economics teachers to promote careers in the private club and hospitality industries by raising awareness for the importance of keeping home economics in high schools. Heather created the Minority Management Council (MMMC) to attract diverse talent and ensure access to elevated training, networking and mentoring.
Heather has partnered with the National Club Association to help them advance their diversity and inclusion efforts and launched their first member inclusivity survey in October 2020. Heather was featured in their January membership magazine issue, The Club Director, and will be the first women of color to present a keynote at the National Club Association in May 2021 where she introduced the IIICONIC Blueprint to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the private club industry.
She studied culinary arts at Southern Maine College in South Portland, Maine, and transferred and graduated from Johnson & Wales University’s hospitality program in Providence, R.I. In addition to her university education, she certified in macrobiotic studies from the Kushi Institute in Becket, Mass. Heather also interned at the prestigious Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo.
She was born in Danang, Vietnam. She was adopted as an infant and raised by Edwin and Dawn Degenhardt as the youngest of nine adopted siblings, with multicultural ancestries of Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese, Korean, Sioux Native American, European, Jewish and African descent. Heather resides in her other Maine; Dobbs Ferry Village located on the Hudson River in Westchester County, New York with her son, Adelino Edwin. She’s a member of the Dobbs Ferry Mayor’s Advisory Human Rights and Diversity Committee.