How to Get Jobs Created for You: Brittney Jones, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Raines
An emerging talent in the hospitality sector, Brittney Jones has skillfully leveraged her ability to forge partnerships and savvy negotiation tactics to ascend the professional ladder. Now she is the VP of Strategic Partnerships at Raines, a family-owned business, which started in 1988. Brittney has helped expand Raines into a fully integrated development, management, and investment company that works with some of the world’s leading hotel brands as well as boutique hotels.
Since joining the company in 2015, just three years out of college as a Sales & Marketing Coordinator, Brittney has swiftly transitioned across various roles, notably becoming the company’s inaugural Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Management. We chat with Brittney about how she has risen with Raines, often having positions created for her, and what advice she has for women who want to follow her lead.
When you started with Raines as a Sales & Marketing Coordinator in 2016, did you think that less than 10 years later you would be the VP of Strategic Partnerships?
I’ve known from an early age that I wanted to join a company that could provide a career path, not just a job. When I interviewed with Raines, one of the things that stood out to me was their ambitions and goals for the company over what would be the following five to 10 years. Though I was unsure how at the time, I knew I wanted to play a major role, working alongside others to achieve those goals. To do that, it was important to build strong relationships with my colleagues and leaders of the organization for mentorship and guidance. Through this mentorship, I gained a quick understanding of the complexity of this industry and wanted to learn as much as could.
I wasn’t afraid to ask questions to gain real-world knowledge and understanding and didn’t hesitate to put my ideas out there either.
Aside, from various trainings or courses, I wasn’t afraid to ask questions to gain real-world knowledge and understanding and didn’t hesitate to put my ideas out there either. This approach opened up opportunities to take on special projects or additional responsibilities, showcasing not only my abilities but also my dedication to the company and its success.
How do you handle goal setting and achievement?
While we all start with the overall big goals, I have found that breaking them into smaller steps makes the goal less daunting and provides a clear roadmap for success. Breaking goals down also allows me to celebrate the small wins, helping to stay motivated and positive. I also review goals regularly, which will enable me to track progress and make adjustments as needed, staying nimble to the ever-evolving market we are in.
What are your key responsibilities now and how have you convinced your bosses at Raines to create jobs for you?
As VP of Strategic Partnerships, I am responsible for Raines’ business development efforts with a focus on third-party management while also overseeing our communication efforts internally and externally. As I look back, three key factors contributed towards getting me to where I am today.
Taking on new responsibilities and special projects: I believe this has demonstrated my value to the company and my ability to go beyond my job description. It has showcased my willingness to go the extra mile to contribute to the company’s success while allowing me to develop new skills and prove my capability in handling more significant roles. As an example, in 2019, I was challenged with leading the revenue management department. While revenue management was not my background, I embraced the opportunity. I’ve also planned leadership summits, company retreats and other annual events.
Identifying a need and contributing an idea or solution: In 2017, I was the Director of Sales at one of our properties in Florence, SC. The company was quickly growing, developing assets in new locations and new brands. At the time, Raines did not have a corporate position focused on sales efforts (onboarding, training, developing relationships, and pre-selling in the market). During a meeting with our leadership team, I addressed the gap while presenting a solution that detailed the responsibilities of a corporate role that would address these needs. This approach led to the creation of a Corporate Sales Coordinator position.
Not being afraid to put my name in for consideration: When new opportunities or positions arise that I believe I would be a great fit for, I have not hesitated to express my interest. By being assertive about my ambitions and capabilities, I have successfully positioned myself as the appropriate person for new opportunities such as Corporate Sales Coordinator and VP of Strategic Partnerships.
One of the things we hear women say they struggle with is self-promotion, what are your tips?
Shift your mindset: Don’t think about self-promotion as bragging or being arrogant. Instead, think about it as a way to confidently and authentically share your success to advance your career.
Build confidence. This may seem like the obvious, but I strategically use the word “build” instead of “be.” You can train or teach yourself teach yourself to be confident and there are exercises to help with that. Examples of this include: document your achievements, do things outside of your comfort zone, put together an elevator pitch, and set goals.
Be self-aware. Have a clear understanding of your strengths, skills, passions and even your opportunities. Having self-knowledge and knowing what you bring to the table will allow you to showcase your abilities and contributions. Ask others (friends, colleagues, mentors, leaders) for feedback to gain insights on where you can improve and grow.
What is the key skill or trait you feel has contributed most to your success?
I believe my success has hinged off of two traits coupled together; my ability to learn quickly and willingness to adapt. Our industry is multifaceted and dynamic, one where various aspects of the business are intertwined. Having a well-rounded understanding of these different facets has allowed me to see the bigger picture, take a more holistic approach to decision-making, and contribute beyond the limits of my role. My want for learning different areas of the industry and eagerness to acquire new skills has allowed me to adapt easily and transition from one position to the next. I have taken on various responsibilities and roles (and thrive in them) because of my willingness to learn, adapt and adjust accordingly.
Have you made any mistakes along the way and what lessons did you learn?
Haven’t we all? I’ve certainly encountered challenges and made mistakes along way and will continue to do so; however, here are some lessons I’ve learned.
Not prioritizing work-life balance. It took me a couple of years to learn that by prioritizing work-life balance, I can be my best in both areas. I have found I am more focused, and more productive at work when this is balanced appropriately, and in return, I am also more present in my personal life.
Being afraid to make mistakes. This hindered me from making decisions and taking calculated risks. Overtime, I learned that making mistakes is a part of growth and learning and how you gain some of the most valuable experience and insights.
What is next for you?
Professionally, my focus remains on what’s ahead. I am excited to close out a few new partnerships by the end of the year and begin working on setting ambitious goals for 2024 with a plan to meet those objectives. As we move forward, I will continue to expand Raines’ reach and presence in the industry through new relationships and strategic partnerships that will help showcase our unique capabilities, and support our growth goals.
Personally, pickleball. For anyone who knows me, I am highly competitive and always operate with the mindset that whatever I do needs to have a purposeful end goal or meaning. In effort to take a different approach, my hope is that pickleball will strictly serve as a fun activity, and one that my husband and I to do together.
Quickfire with Brittney
What is your morning routine?
Wake up around 6:30am. Drink 20 ounces of water/make coffee. Spend 15-20 minutes reading the news, and also industry-related articles (*I flag those daily to read the next morning). Get ready. Make the bed. Drink a smoothie (if at home).
What do you do for self-care?
I’ve actually been on bit of a wellness journey since the beginning of this year. While I’ve always eaten well and exercised, I have certainly made it more of a focus and a priority. I take exercise classes 3 – 4 times a week which consist of yoga, sculpting, and weight training. My husband and I also try to ride our bikes or walk at least once a week. I make it a goal to drink 100 ounces of water daily. When at home, I try to incorporate one smoothie a day for a healthy serving of protein, fruit and greens.
What is your top travel hack?
For anyone that is an over packer, packing cubes and rolling (vs. folding) your clothes really works. Always travel with a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated.
Home cook or eat out?
Home cook. My husband is an amazing cook!
What books / podcasts / TV are you into right now?
For me, I read books or listen to podcasts for self-care or that are related to business/the industry. Examples are: The Bezos Blueprint: Communication Secrets of the World’s Greatest Salesman, The 6 Habits of Growth and the podcast My First Million. TV: Suits.