Hospitality Driven

Liz Uber, EVP/COO, Extended Stay America

Liz Uber

What initially inspired you to get into the hospitality business? Like many people, I fell into the hospitality business by accident. My first job after graduating from Texas A&M, with a psychology degree, was as a Human Resources Manager at a Holiday Inn in Washington, DC. It was in that environment, that I found myself bitten by the hospitality bug and continued to work in the industry in a variety of roles.

Who were some of your mentors or role models, male or female, and what were their most valuable lessons? I have been very lucky to have some incredible mentors throughout my career—both men and women. They have really taught me two valuable lessons: First, if you are willing to put in the time and effort you can accomplish just about anything in the hospitality industry. I learned revenue management, food and beverage, and hotel operations—all through on-the-job training.  

Secondly, treat everyone with kindness. This encompasses not only the guests, but the associates I was lucky to work with every day. Investments of kindness often result in reciprocating efforts, which improve the performance of the company.

In your opinion, how is the lodging industry doing in terms of getting women into leadership positions? I think the lodging industry is doing a much better job in recent years with getting women into leadership positions. By being intentional with training and flexible with work schedules, time off and maternity leave, the hospitality industry continues to be a great place for women to reach their full potential. At ESA, there is a Women’s Associate Resource Group (ARG) that offers women an opportunity to learn from others, and each other, and helps them grow their leadership skills. Groups similar to these help women have open conversations about challenges and opportunities they have.

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