Adrienne Kautzman Andrews on Empowering the Next Generation of Women in Hospitality Finance
In the dynamic and challenging world of hotel and hospitality, the journey to success is rarely linear. Adrienne (Kautzman) Andrews, Managing Director at JLL Hotels & Hospitality Debt Capital Markets, is a living testament to the power of resilience, risk-taking, and continuous learning. Adrienne shares her intriguing career path, her insights on the importance of taking risks, and her passionate advocacy for empowering women in the industry, especially in finance roles.
Her Unpredictable Path to Success
Adrienne began her career journey in an unexpected place: a homebuilding company in Arizona. With a degree in finance and HR, she accepted a position that didn’t initially feel right but was drawn to the people she would be working with. “Sometimes the role is not that exciting. It’s not perfect. But if you can learn from people, and they’re willing to share their knowledge with you, and put you in front of other people, that’s something to consider.”
Through multiple promotions and transitions through underwriting, credit, sales, and eventually a stint in wholesale finance and Franchise Finance at GE, Adrienne discovered her affinity for risk assessment and lending in the hospitality space. As a managing director at one of the largest, most prestigious institutions in her field, her journey exemplifies the significance of adaptability and the willingness to seize new opportunities, even in unfamiliar territories. Despite not having a linear path and not starting with a focus on hospitality, Adrienne's experience underlines the importance of passion, commitment, and optimism in achieving success.
Embracing Risk and Opportunity
A substantial part of Adrienne’s tale is her relationship with risk. Contrary to a common mindset, she emphasizes the necessity of taking calculated risks, especially for women at the early stages of their careers. Despite being told by multiple colleagues that “90% of lenders who try to go into the brokerage intermediary business fail,” Adrienne took the plunge.
Adrienne’s approach to risk is analytical and thoughtful. She stresses the importance of understanding and getting comfortable with the potential outcomes and then making an informed decision. “I was told I was going to fail by multiple people. But I looked at ‘what’s the worst thing that could happen?’ I could learn a lot and take that with me to my next role.”
Empowering Women in Hospitality and Finance
Beyond her personal journey, Adrienne is a fervent advocate for empowering women in the hospitality, commercial real estate, and finance sectors. This disparity motivates her to push for change, emphasizing the importance of mentorship and exposure for young women in these industries. Looking back at her own experiences, Adrienne reflected that “As females, in our younger years, we often are not taught to take risks early in our careers or lean into our networks. We do a much better job of teaching this to our sons and nephews. We need to do a better job of exposing our daughters to the various opportunities and put them in front of people who can help them.”
Adrienne highlighted the importance of diverse thought and experience in the workplace, underscoring the value of women in executive and finance roles. She warns against the trap of trying to mold women to fit into roles traditionally held by men, advocating instead for the celebration and utilization of the unique perspectives and skills that women bring to the table.
“If we’re trying to make women in the business behave like men in the business, we’re doing ourselves a disservice. The benefit of diversity is that we bring different thought processes and experiences. So when increasing different genders, races, etc., if we’re trying to make them like everyone else, we’re missing the point.”
In an interesting twist, Adrienne’s career advice mirrors the advice she’s giving her clients in today’s high interest rate environment: “Being stagnant is a decision. What information do you have today? How is it going to change over the period of time you’re assessing? And how do you work through it?”
In addition to accepting the risks for what they are, Adrienne is also a believer in letting go of expectations of what could have been. “Sometimes it’s just making the decision to move, and making the best decision at the time. We’ve all lived in the world of ‘I’m not ready. This is not how it was supposed to go.’ At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what you thought was going to happen. You made the best decision at the time. Accept what it is and move forward the best you can.”
Anton Safonov and Michelle Jensen Session, co-founders of Aquarius Hospitality Solutions, bring a combined 34 years of hospitality experience to their unique consultancy. Their mission is to guide hoteliers through the complex world of sustainability expectations. At Aquarius, we highlight your existing sustainability efforts, identify impactful, low-effort changes, and help communicate these effectively. We assist in obtaining relevant certifications and craft compelling narratives that resonate with guests, enhancing your brand value in the competitive market. With Aquarius, navigate and thrive in the sustainability journey, building on your current efforts and making meaningful improvements that matter to your guests and the world. Learn more at www.aquariushs.net.