Krissy Gathright, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Apple Hospitality REIT who was recently appointed to the company’s board of directors and will be transitioning out of her current role by the end of Q1 2020, offers the following advice for women looking to advance their hospitality careers.
1Seek opportunities to make connections.
“The hospitality business is a people business, so it’s important to take the time to interact with others and seek their insight in various settings, including conferences like ForWard, brand or other hospitality meetings, or by participating in gatherings like AHLA Summits, industry or professional meetings, or different councils. You never know where these connections will lead.”
2Seek opportunities to both teach and learn.
“I’m a big believer in education and arming yourself with knowledge. Becoming knowledgeable or an expert in a particular area really increases your value and opportunities. What’s more, where you have a strong competency, share those insights to help inform others and make them more successful. You will earn their respect and they will seek out your counsel. My superstar female colleagues challenge me daily and make me smarter. I’m not only teaching them, but I’m also learning from them.”
“I realized early on that I needed to work hard and add value where gaps existed to advance and be heard. Even when I was the only woman or one of few, I recognized that it was an opportunity to bring a diverse perspective to the conversation.”
4Be brave, but be prepared.
“It can be hard to step out of your comfort zone, but I’ve definitely experienced the most personal growth and satisfaction from pushing through and taking on these challenges. Don’t be afraid to share your opinion. Just make sure it’s an informed opinion. Every now and then, just take a risk.”