• Emily Goldfischer

Five Skills Women Need to Get Ahead

Women from all areas of hotel management joined the Castell Project last week in Atlanta for special leadership programming to accelerate their careers. Our culture teaches women to behave differently than men and people to treat us differently, for better or worse. While we learn most things best with men – like financial analysis and construction – there are five skills that are learned more effectively in special courses just for women.


Women in the Castell Project's Build and Elevate Programs
Women in the Castell Project's Build and Elevate Programs

So you can recognize them and find resources from Castell or elsewhere, here are the five elements:

  1. Executive presence: women who present themselves as leaders gain opportunity. A leader identity, political savvy, and exercising power with grace build on differentiated skills for women. They include how to “take a seat at the table,” how to “own the room,” using body language to project confidence, and developing a personal brand as a female leader.

  2. Negotiation: women who play to their strengths as negotiators can get better results than men. Unfortunately, women who negotiate like most men are often called the “b-word.” That makes it hard to master negotiation in a mixed setting. Women must discover a different approach to be confident and effective in negotiations. We negotiate all the time in our conversations with team members, clients and bosses, spouses or significant others, and our children. And, as we advance our careers we carry on more complex negotiations. Negotiating well as women brings value to our partnerships in both family and business.

  3. Advocates: women who develop strategic relationships create career progression. Learning to recognize our advocates, asking for mentorship from the right people at the right time in the right way, and expressing appreciation are part and parcel of career advancement but not a skill that women always learn organically. Advocating for others both above and below us on the career ladder is also key to building support for advancement. Those relationships are less likely to develop for women during a round of golf or a night of drinking. So, we curate them in other ways.

  4. Network: women who rise are supported by a professional resource network and a trusted inner circle. For years, women didn’t bring other women into their networks for fear of competition for the few places allotted to women. That has changed dramatically. Relationships with other women who are also excited to be growing in leadership give us advisors, supporters, and friends.

  5. Career planning: Women (and men) who plan strategically move up in organizations. But women navigate different cultural challenges around career planning. For instance, women navigate a common assumption that their career will lag to care for children while men are navigating the assumption that they will accelerate their career in order to support their children. Both are wild generalizations, but they impact our opportunities unless we deliberately manage our careers.

Quote from Peggy Berg, Castell Project

Thirty-six fabulous, talented and high-energy women just launched their year of development with Castell’s BUILD and ELEVATE programs. Over the last few weeks, they’ve taken assessments, attended a 3-day practicum in Atlanta, and are moving into Castell’s custom executive coaching program and developmental virtual workshops. We are excited about their futures – and about hosting the next cohort of women for BUILD and ELEVATE in 2022.