Samantha Jones is senior vice president, hotel programs at TRAVELSAVERS, an international travel marketing organization. Previously, she has worked at Radisson Hotel Group, Millennium Hotels and Resorts, and InterContinental Hotels Group. Samantha is a Women Leading Travel & Hospitality member! We asked her a series of questions so you can get to know her better.

  1. What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
    Think Again” by Adam Grant. I recommend this book to everyone, as it really speaks to current times and the importance of keeping an open mind, both in business and our personal lives.
  2. What’s a tip you have for productively leading a remote or hybrid team?
    Be mindful of the individual’s work-from-home (WFH) environment; not everyone’s is the same. For those that don’t have the WFH option, that needs consideration as well. Take time for breaks to avoid screen-time drain.  Try to keep virtual team meetings fun.
  3. What’s a mistake you made early on in your career?
    Thinking that being a workaholic was the fastest path to success.
  4. What’s the toughest part of being in charge?
    Leading with empathy, while at the same time having to make tough choices for the sake of the business during this crisis.
  5. What’s the best way you motivate team members?
    Find out what your people love — movies, books, music, food, travel, etc.  I try to tap into their interests, and find that can be a great motivator.
  6. What woman inspires you right now and why?
    I really admire Sara Blakely, CEO of Spanx. She built her company from nothing and now that she has achieved success, she’s still so grounded and real. Her Instagram Stories during lockdown were hilarious. Managing a company through crisis, while being a wife and mother of four kids, didn’t look easy. Sara seemed to meet the moment with never-ending patience and humor. Her road trip mishaps served as a reminder that no matter how together you think you are, life has a way of kicking you in the backside.
  7. What are you looking forward to the most for the industry for the rest of 2021?
    I look forward to reuniting with my industry peers and colleagues with a renewed sense of purpose for our industry. And of course to people travelling again!
  8. What’s one thing you look for when interviewing a potential candidate?
    Passion, drive and, most importantly, their ability to add value to the team as a human being. Balance is important when building teams. We’re not perfect individuals and collectively we’re better together.
  9. What’s something that you learned about yourself in the past year?
    I learned that as resilient as I thought I was, I certainly was tested both professionally and personally and had moments of despair. It’s OK to be vulnerable to those around me.
  10. What’s your favorite podcast?
    I have a few — they were my sanity during lockdown. Some of my favorites are Smartless  (Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett), Smart People (Jon Rojas, Chris Stemp), and In the Bubble (Andy Slavitt).
  11. What values are most important to you as a leader?
    Empathy, open-mindedness and trust
  12. What’s the most important thing people should know about you?
    I’m a person led by my beliefs and the importance of paying every opportunity forward
  13. What’s one habit you adopted working remotely that you’d like to keep with you as you return to the office?
    Making space in my day to work out. Pre-lockdown it was hard to find the time, but now it has become part of my daily routine.
  14. How would you describe yourself in a single sentence?
    I’m a hard-working and passionate individual who isn’t afraid of a challenge and loves problem solving.
  15. What’s your favorite app?
    Right now it’s my FitBit app, tracking my exercise and sleep habits. When travel fully returns, I’m sure it will be the United Airlines app, another favorite.
  16. What do you do to recharge?
    Travel, SoulCycle, and spend time with my family and friends.
  17. What is your biggest accomplishment?
    On a personal level, I’m proud of being a good daughter, sister, aunt and friend. Professionally, I started in the travel industry as a college intern and through a lot of hard work, dedication and some great mentors, I’ve had an amazing travel industry career.
  18. What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
    Follow your passion, recognize opportunities as they come, and seek out support from your mentors/peers when you need it.
  19. What gets you up in the morning?
    Gratitude, a great cup of coffee, and the sheer love of the travel industry
  20. How would you describe your leadership style?
    My leadership style is firstly, trust — trusting in my team to do their jobs and having their backs, always. I also empower my people to run their areas and know that I’m always here to catch them and guide them, should they need help. I also try to lead with confidence and provide my team with stability and clear direction, but at the same time value the importance of having fun.

If you would like to become a Women Leading Travel & Hospitality member or need additional information, click here.