What initially inspired you to get into the hospitality business? The first time I heard Ritz Carlton’s Gold Standards Motto: “Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies and Gentlemen,” was during a Total Quality Management course at James Madison University. As I learned more about leadership, strategic planning, customer service and marketing, I was excited about the career path opportunities. Each division in hospitality teaches you a new skill set that can easily be transferable anywhere in tourism; endless possibilities globally. I imagined a job where I was responsible for creating memories every day. It was at that moment that fell in love with the industry.
In your opinion, how is the lodging industry doing in terms of getting women into leadership positions? At Crescent Hotels & Resorts, 60% of our leaders are women, a statistic we are very proud of. According to research by Castell, an AHLA Foundation Project, only 1 woman for every 10 men are executive leaders, despite women making up more than 57% of industry workers. Women leaders bring a different perspective and value to the table in business decisions that impact our guests and associates. Although noticeable advancements have been made there is still great work to be done.
What’s your outlook for the future with regards to diversity and inclusion within hospitality? The hospitality industry is rooted in providing excellent customer service and associate satisfaction. Our associates, guests, and communities that we serve are diverse. In order to continue to provide excellent service, the industry must embrace diversity, inclusion and equity in order to be successful. It is critical for leaders to create an environment where all associates feel respected, valued and able to contribute their best work. In the words of Michael George, Crescent’s CEO/President, “It is our differences that make us great.”