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Ally of the Month: Josiah Mackenzie, Hospitality Daily

New this year, “Male Ally of the Month,” a column that focuses on the men going out of their way to support women in the hospitality industry. While we all know they don’t have to help, these guys want to help, and this new column will take the time to find out how and why they are determined to help us reach gender equality.

You might know Josiah Mackenzie from his popular podcast, Hospitality Daily, which is how we “met,” when he interviewed me about hertelier What I love so much about Josiah is that he has created a platform where gender equality is built into the mission and obvious from his diverse roster of guests. His goal with each interview is to share insights that help listeners reconnect with why they work in this industry and “get fired up to go out there, delight others, and reach their goals.”  Long before starting Hospitality Daily, Josiah fell in love with the industry while studying abroad during college, traveling around Europe and staying in youth hostels. So drawn to the business, upon returning to the US he got a job in a hostel in California, which set off his career working in a range of operations, marketing and finance roles.  It was fun to “turn the mic” on Josiah and chat about why he started Hospitality Daily, what he’s learned from over 300 interviews with leaders, where he sees opportunity for women and about his new membership community, “The Huddle.”  Meet the gift to the industry that is our Mr. December, Josiah Mackenzie! 

Josiah Mackenzie Hospitality Daily

How did you get into hospitality?

I fell in love with hospitality while studying in Dublin and spending most weekends flying to different cities throughout Europe. I’d stay in hostels that served as a home base for exploring the city with friends I’d just met. When I returned home, I wanted to provide that sort of hospitality, so ended up working at a former lighthouse on the California coast that was part of Hosteling International. Having both experienced great hospitality and feeling how fun it is to provide hospitality, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life in and around this business.

One thing led to another, and I ended up earning leadership roles in a few technology companies serving tens of thousands of hotels around the globe with operations, revenue, and investment management.

Wow, you are definitely inspired by the business, is that what gave you the idea to start Hospitality Daily? 

I started Hospitality Daily because I wanted everyone to be inspired by what's possible in hospitality. I spent a decade helping build companies in the hospitality industry and found it was easy to lose sight of why I was working in hospitality between all the emails, spreadsheets, and calls it takes to build and run a business today. 

Hospitality Daily helps you stay informed and inspired each day by the most interesting people in hospitality. My goal is to help you reconnect with why you work in this industry and get fired up to go out there, delight others, and reach your goals.

That’s so great. Your passion comes through in each episode. I love that you seem to have a gender balance in your guests. Thank you for giving women another platform to be inspired by each other. In all the women you have interviewed, have any key themes popped up? 

Talent, creativity, and innovation are balanced across everyone, and traditional industry media hasn’t seemed to catch onto this. Many women I’ve interviewed have spoken about some of the unique structural challenges they have faced, but I’m also hearing many say that gender in the workplace is not the only thing they want to talk about. I’d like to see a world where anyone building something worth talking about gets the attention of others. 

Having spoken with so many leaders and innovators in the industry, where do you see new or more opportunities for women in the hotel industry? 

Opportunities are everywhere in hospitality, but some companies are more proactive in proactively supporting women and members of other under-represented groups.

Thanks to the work of Tracy Prigmore and others, I’m seeing more opportunities for investment and ownership, which is encouraging. I’m also seeing a lot of opportunity in independent hospitality as technology creates a more level playing field for hospitality entrepreneurs to create concepts and have both operating systems and distribution previously only accessible to big companies.

Finally, we’re (slowly) starting to see a few more companies hire or promote more women into top leadership roles, which is encouraging.

Yes, there is definitely a shift to seeing more women in leadership, as we try to inspire more women, why do you feel allyship is so important? 

Access and opportunity are still not equally distributed, and everything should think about what role they can play in creating more equality.

Any tips for men that want to be better allies to women? 

Listen more.

Learn about and be aware of structural barriers that hold people back from opportunity. 

Back to Hospitality Daily, you have just launched a membership community called The Huddle? Tell us more about that. 

I started Hospitality Daily a few years ago with the simple idea that if we could listen and learn to others who were doing interesting things we could reconnect with the magic of hospitality and be inspired to build something special wherever we were. (I didn't want any of us to be limited by geography.)

Since then, I've been blown away by what I found. Every day I speak with someone new, and they share what they're building. I've been so impressed by the creativity and diversity of ways people are serving those around them and building really interesting businesses. 

And it's not just me - there are 300,000+ people now engaging with the stories we're sharing on Hospitality Daily each month.

On top of that, what's happened is more and more people have asked for a way to connect with each other in the Hospitality Daily community, which is why I'm launching this membership, The Huddle. 

The word “huddle,” of course, has its roots in sports and means gathering together to strategize, motivate, or celebrate. That's my goal for this membership. It's a private space where we can get to know each other, ask questions, share our wins, and keep motivating each other to be our best selves and build exceptional organizations.

For our readers who haven’t listened yet, do you want to suggest a few favorite episodes to start with? 

Depending on your work and areas of interest, some of the following might be relevant:

I’d encourage everyone to visit the Hospitality Daily Podcast website, where I’ve made our 300+ episodes searchable and organized by topics ranging from culture to technology.

Also - if you’d like to share what you’re working on or what’s on your mind in an upcoming episode, send me a message!

If you're interested in joining The Huddle, you can save $200 by clicking this page and using the code "hertelier"

Thank you, Josiah!  Happy Holidays!


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