Although the executive ranks remain male dominated, women in hospitality have made great strides. During a Women in Senior Leadership panel, presented by the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and the American Hotel & Lodging Association this week in Washington, D.C., three successful female entrepreneurs explained how they carved out a niche in their markets. Here are some key pieces of advice they shared for women coming up through the industry.
Put in place a work-life balance that works for you. “The right balance is different in every family,” said Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, founder, president, and COO of Flag Luxury Groups. “And never neglect yourself and your needs. Whether you have to exercise or go to the doctor, make yourself a priority. If you don’t, then there is no balance and nothing to give to anybody else.”
Get your family involved. “From the beginning, we wanted our children to be involved in the hospitality life we shared,” said Noel Irwin Hentschel, chair and CEO of AmericanTours International. “Some of our kids have stayed in the hospitality industry, and some have gone on to other pursuits, but that was always a part of what they knew about serving others. It helped us be together more often and also have a teamwork concept.”
Find a great mentor. “It doesn’t matter if your mentor is a man or a woman, it’s about getting good face time and working in organizations that will give you every opportunity available,” said Michelle Russo, president of HotelAVE (Hotel Asset Value Enhancement). “A lot of people I’ve worked with have espoused creating your own franchise value and your own notoriety. Find leadership that will push you to be as good and as strong as you want to be in the space you want to be in and help you set and manage those goals.”
Photo credit: Career Ladder via Bigstock.