Picking Up the Pace

Ashley Ewing Parrott, founder, AEP Consulting

What initially inspired you to get into the hospitality business? I’ve always loved travel and frequently found myself fascinated by historic hotels from an early age. Like many, I began in food and beverage and transitioned into hotel operations before finally landing in the design and development world. I’m in love with this side of the business–it combines my passion for travel and my love for architecture and design. I’m fortunate to have found my calling.

What’s your outlook for the future with regards to diversity and inclusion within hospitality? Our business has long been diverse, but not in the right ways. Hotels have historically been run by men who in turn lead a staff of predominantly women, and more specifically, women of color. There is a ceiling on property, and these women are rarely promoted beyond middle management. I’m hopeful that discussions like this one, combined with efforts to train and promote female associates on property, will improve our employee retention and loyalty.

In your opinion, how is the lodging industry doing in terms of getting women into leadership positions? Some companies pride themselves on having female GMs on property, while their corporate offices are primarily male. A General Manager is typically middle management, as they lead a property, but report to regional and corporate leaders. Our industry would benefit from more equitable representation of minorities in senior leadership and C-suite positions. While many companies and conferences are moving in the right direction, I believe the hospitality industry can pick up the pace.

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