Started hospitality career with Marriott International and became a founding member of Avendra more than 20 years ago. Proven expertise in client relations and hospitality operations.
Executive Sponsor, Aramark STAR Team
DMV Hub Co-Chair, Aramark EMPOWER
Coach, Girls on the Run on Montgomery County, MD
Community service enthusiast who engages fellow colleagues to join in the coordination of local events and charitable giving, mentored many team members, especially women, into leadership roles.
Why is it important to you to elevate women in management roles throughout the hospitality industry?
In my experience, women tend to be more transformational leaders meaning they work effectively with teams or individuals to identify change needed and then create a vision to guide their followers through the change using influence, inspiration, passion, and related skills. The hospitality industry is a relationship business that offers countless opportunities for fostering connections. My success is due, in part, to supportive supervisors who coached me, executives who mentored me, and industry contacts and friends who guided me.
Many people don’t know that I ‘broke the family mold’ by being the first in my family to go to college. I self-financed my education, working full-time throughout college and overtime during summers and breaks to earn enough money to remain in school. A resilient and hard worker, I have always challenged the status quo – continuously raising the bar on my own performance and that of my colleagues and clients. My goal is to lift as I climb, always looking for opportunities to mentor and grow the next generation of women leaders. I lead by example. I am a wife (of 22 years), a mom (to a 14-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son) and a boss. Balancing priorities at home with the requirements of the job can take some juggling, but it can be done. And it is incredibly rewarding when you find your groove.
What opportunities does Avendra offer to support and inspire women in the hospitality industry?
Throughout my career at Avendra, I’ve shared my experiences and mentored associates both informally and through designing content and leading educational sessions for associates. I share my experiences and learnings from various stages in my 21-year career as I ‘climbed the Avendra ladder’ from an Analyst to my current role as Vice President, Client Success.
Avendra offers an employee resource group called EMPOWER that enables business outcomes by driving leadership and development opportunities through the connection and engagement of women across the company. EMPOWER works to accelerate the advancement of women leaders through speaker series, professional workshops, mentoring opportunities, and community outreach. It also advocates action for women in the workplace and beyond. EMPOWER fosters connections and provides tools and mentoring to help build the confidence women need to reach their full potential.
What is something each of us can do to ensure women are recognized and elevated within the hospitality industry?
Women often have innovative, thought-provoking ideas that go unheard often resulting from our voices not projecting as loudly as our male counterparts. If we do not project our voices loud enough or present our ideas in a confident and assertive manner, our contributions can be overshadowed by the louder, deeper voices in the room. Women need to speak up, be assertive, speak with confidence and stay engaged to ensure our voices are heard. Listening to and reiterating or supporting the contributions of our women colleagues when in meetings helps ensure our voices are heard and the credit is applied to the women who had the great ideas or meaningful contributions. You can do this by actively listening for and identifying instances where a woman’s contribution is not being heard and helping to reiterate “what ‘Mary’ said” or by circling back to an idea and encouraging more dialogue around it such as “I want to return to ‘Mary’s’ comment. I’d like to understand more about the idea she had…”).
“You can do what I cannot do. I can do what you cannot do. Together we can do great things.” – Mother Teresa. Let’s support each other, motivate, and inspire greatness within each other and there is no doubt, the hospitality industry will continue to reap the benefits.