“We know that women make up 50 percent of all entry-level managerial talent, and as we look at the career progression of women in hospitality, we see that numbers go lower,” said Kate Walsh, dean of the Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration. “Forty percent of all managers are women, 33 percent of seniors managers are women, and women hold 19 percent of all C-suite roles, and make up five CEOs.”
The gap seen in these figures above was the focus of a panel discussion on women in hospitality and travel, which brought together industry and academic leaders to share their stories and own career challenges, victories and personal leadership values, organizational best practices for supporting women in the workforce, and predictions for the future.
Within the discussion, Walsh asserted that at no time prior has this topic been more salient than it is today as a ravaged industry emerges from the pandemic and leaders look for opportunities to maximize talent.
“When we look at silver linings of this pandemic, you know the industry is facing such severe talent shortages right now, but this might be forcing an innovation that has needed to happen for a long time,” Walsh said, pointing to examples of family life impacting the career choices of women who may not have had flexibility in their work previously, with pandemic remote work paving the way for new ways to do business, lead teams, and get tasks done.
“It’s really about how organizations redesign work,” says Walsh. “What are the opportunities right in front of us to really take a longer-term view of career pathing for talent … and making it work however we can make it work.”
Furthermore, Walsh touched on her work with the American Hotel & Lodging Association, which concentrates on organizations working together to provide leadership opportunities for employees of color, including women of color.
Joining Walsh in the discussion was Michelle Woodley (an ’89 Cornell Peter and Stephanie Nolan School of Hotel Administration graduate), president at Preferred Hotels & Resorts, and Miranda Scott, senior director, city operations and partnerships at Lyft. Woodley and Scott provided expertise and first-hand accounts from their careers in the travel and hospitality industry.
This article was originally published here.