COLUMBUS, OHIO—In the hospitality sector that has been traditionally dominated by men, Red Roof has been an industry leader in promoting and nurturing women entrepreneurs. This year, at its fourth annual Forum on Leadership for Women Entrepreneurs, designed to help women in hospitality develop deeper business acumen and stronger leadership skills, Red Roof celebrated its progress with 31 percent of its hotels owned or partially owned by women.
Red Roof knows that support is essential to women overcoming barriers and thriving in the workplace. That’s why the company is committed to giving women the tools they need to manage more effectively and efficiently so they’ll have the critical skills, business acumen and leadership skills, to manage their hotel business, rise in the ranks, and find the confidence to invest in and purchase more hotel properties.
Attendees also participated in Community Service and Action Sessions, including a session from women-owned business Gardenuity. Participants served the local community in Austin by planting and donating garden bags to students through Kimball Musk’s Big Green organization and Million Gardens Movement, Roots Food Group Foundation, and Matthew McConaughey’s Just Keep Livin’ Foundation, while also learning about the wellness benefits of gardening.
Further, Red Roof statistics mirror the fact that women continue to progress in management ranks, as there has been a 20 percent increase in women leadership at Red Roof over the past three years. Fueled by the vision and passion of Red Roof Chief Marketing Officer Marina MacDonald, Red Roof has been industry leading in bringing together women to collaborate, educate and provide the tools and insights to help drive continued growth and support.
Goal: Building a Lifetime of Success
“The past two years have been challenging, especially for women, and the impact the pandemic had on travel and hospitality exacerbated the pressure felt by women in our industry. As women juggle work lives and home lives, there really is no such thing as work/life balance. Rather, there are work/life choices that women are forced to make every day,” says Marina MacDonald, Chief Marketing Officer, Red Roof. “I designed this hybrid professional/personal event to help our attendees further develop their business and leadership skills, as well as the tools to take better care of themselves, so that we will not only help grow more successful and happy women entrepreneurs, but we will also encourage the development of sustainable habits that will lead to a lifetime of success.”
This year, the Forum hosted more than 100 women attendees over two days, including Red Roof franchise owners, industry leaders and corporate team members all looking to collaborate and help one another overcome barriers to success. During the Forum, attendees had the opportunity to network, learn from and support each other, and hear from inspirational and industry-leading experts—including Dr. Lalia Rach, Founder & Partner, Rach Enterprises; Mary Beth Cutshall, Founder & Managing Partner, Amara Capital; Regan Walsh, Chief Renegade Officer, Renegade Global; and Laura Lee Blake, President and CEO, Asian American Hotel Owners Association—who shared their journeys and challenges reaching the highest levels of their fields, and shared advice on how to smash glass ceilings. Breakout sessions included topics such as side hustles, which have become increasingly popular since the pandemic, the characteristics of successful women, tips on public speaking and networking, and the power and enrichment of giving back through community involvement. The top advice for women advancement included the following tips:
- Be Heard. Have a Voice.
- Be Authentic and be YOU.
- Be Fearless, Bold and Brave. Take risks.
- Tout Successes with Confidence.
- Stay true to your Values, Vision and Passion.
- Be comfortable being uncomfortable.
Recent research shows the hospitality industry is slowly making progress toward women in leadership, and statistics paint a picture trending toward increased diversity going forward. According to the 2022 Castell Project “Women in Hospitality Industry Leadership” report, women are gaining in hotel company leadership at the highest levels (CEO, President, Founder). In fact, although still skewed, women now hold one leadership spot for every 10.3 men, an improvement from one to 11.2 in 2019. At the manager and director levels, women now hold one in two hospitality positions and one in six at the VP/SVP/EVP level. However, there is more work to do.