by John Hendrie

We in Hospitality certainly have a glass ceiling, more like tungsten-formed heavy duty plastic – where one gets bounced rather than welcomed into the fold.

Just look at those Hospitality services which relate career moves and openings. Women are mentioned in such “major” roles as Spa Manager, Sales and/or Marketing, Revenue Manager, or Human Resources executive – nice support positions rather than heady line assignments. These are all potential steps to the positions which really count in our world – Operations and General Manager postings.

Shame on us, Hospitality. We can do better. If women can now be on the front lines of our military services, they certainly can run a hotel. That “good ole white boys club” still prevails and reflects generations of discrimination and disinterest. This holds for women as well as people of color.

I remember an experience in a major hotel property in San Francisco in the late 1970’s. A perfectly accomplished black woman, who had been the Executive Housekeeper, had requested a chance to run the Front Office. This company did not have any woman in Operations at any of their properties. She was given that opportunity, surprisingly, but she was doomed to fail. Management simply did not want to help her out and become a success. The “honeymoon” ended quickly. The company could say to the world that it had tried to make this work, but the effort was thwarted. Pretty lame excuse. She had failed, where others might say the company failed her!

Senior Hotel Executives bemoan the fact that there are no qualified women out there to fill their Operations billets. Where have we heard that one before? Of course there are female resources and sources. Also, just think, you could develop your own.

Women bring terrific traits and backgrounds to the business of Hospitality. It is about time that they were recognized and slotted for senior positions. Just think if they ran the world. Most thoughtful people believe that would be beneficial.