Choosing 30 trailblazing women in hospitality is no easy task—and that is a good thing, we say. The hospitality industry, not unlike other industries, historically has had a scarcity of influential women among its ranks—those who are turned to for leadership, for direction, for prudent input. Fortunately, this is changing, with many more women in the types of positions that they always deserved but were not awarded due to a sometimes intransigent corporate mentality. Now, women make up a greater proportion of executive-level roles, which is why it is so difficult to only choose 30 women for our list. However, we feel that these select women are blazing a path not only in hospitality but in business. Scroll through our list below and read about who they are and what they have done and are doing to push the hospitality industry forward now that the glass ceiling has been cracked.
In 2002, Pamela Barnhill joined her father at InnSuites Hospitality Trust, and rose up through the ranks to become president and COO. At the same time, she founded IBC Hospitality Technologies, which gave her a unique perspective as both a supplier and as an owner-operator. She has also served as a board member for the Independent Lodging Industry Association since 2011. Influence, Barnhill said, is about working with people as much as possible. “Help train and motivate them, share ideas and collaborate,” she said. To stay ahead of the curve, she uses all of her positions—service provider, owner-operator and association member—to share ideas and keep up to date on the latest trends. “Collaboration provides an interesting perspective,” she said. “It’s not just one-sided.” Measuring influence in her different roles can take different forms, from determining guest satisfaction at InnSuites’ properties, keeping employee turnover low and keeping hotels’ satisfaction with IBC’s services high. “We started the software and services business not only for ourselves but for other hoteliers in the Independent Lodging Industry Association,” she said. When talking with other members, several said that they felt like they were operating on an island. “I said, ‘So do I,’” she recalled. While they commiserated, they also developed a concept for mutual support. “What if we help each other out? Hotelier helping hotelier.” As a result, IBC’s software helps with revenue and distribution that can drive down operating and marketing costs. “Software and collaboration lowers the cost of doing business,” she said.
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