Hertelier's First Ever NYC Event Sparks Thoughtful Conversation and Smiles
What a way to start the day!! More than 75 women from various sectors of the hospitality industry gathered at the iconic Cafe Carlyle in New York City for hertelier's first-ever stateside "Morning Shift" event (our first event was in London in June). The room was absolutely BUZZING, the sold-out crowd was super engaged and curious to learn from the powerhouse panel that included Amber Asher, CEO of Standard International, Marlene Poynder, Managing Director, at The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, and Melissa Maher, Principal, Pinnacle Enterprises Group, moderated by me (Emily Goldfischer, founder + editor in chief at hertelier).
Women are Making Progress in Hotel Leadership But Too Slowly
The discussion kicked off by asking "are we at a tipping point for women with more moving into the C-suite and taking marquee GM jobs?" While recognizing we wouldn't even have this panel if there weren't female leaders, all the panelists agreed that change is happening too slowly. Recent AHLA Women in Hospitality data backed this up, citing one woman for every 11 men in CEO and president level roles and one in four women in the C-suite.
Despite not having many female role models on their way up, Amber, Marlene and Melissa shared their stories of various challenges they faced along their career paths –– from being overlooked for promotions to being the only woman in the room or on a team. Lots of amazing advice was shared and many knowledge bombs dropped.
Top 5 Takeaways
1. Make self-reflection a habit. Write down your accomplishments, either ongoing on your phone, or set a weekly or monthly time to detail what you have achieved in a document. Keep a running tally of how you have added value to your company and in your role. Can be anything from goals you have nailed, money you saved, sales you brought in, efficiencies and innovations you initiated to impact the bottom line.
"If you don't keep track of your accomplishments, someone else will take the credit." –– Amber Asher
2. Become your own advocate. With your running tally on hand, use this as the basis to make a case for your next raise, promotion or both. Come prepared to review meetings and ask for what you want. Melissa Maher shared that early on in her career, getting dry cleaning was important to her, later on it was about getting more responsibility. Marlene noted that women often wait to be more than qualified before applying to a role, when they actually should go for it if they have even half the skills.
3. Speak up and use your voice. This dovetails nicely with tip two, with the nuance that sometimes women's voices are literally not heard due to having a higher register or softer tones when they speak. Marlene Poynder shared a story of an opera singer who happened to work for her in banquets, taking the time to teach her various techniques to project her speaking voice.
4. Get a mentor, a sponsor and do the same for others. While there was much talk about how many hotel companies still don't have formal mentoring and coaching programs, don't let this deter you. Ask within your company and friends outside your company that can help you with advice in challenging situations. Also, when you are able, share your expertise with others.
Related reading: Sponsorship vs. Mentorship and How to Do Both Better
5. Observation is a great way to learn. Working in a male dominated aspect of the business, Amber made a practice of observing and noting how her bosses would act and would learn these behaviors.
Bonus tip: Ask for help! While it may feel counterintuitive, asking for help is a great way to engender confidence from your boss or when making new connections. People actually like to help others, study after study shows being helpful makes people feel good. This was mentioned briefly in the panel and then discussed with more detail in the networking portion of the morning.
Related reading: Discover the Surprising Secret to Effective Networking
Everyone left asking “when is the next hertelier event?” Stay tuned for that!