March 8, 2024

7 Inspiring Women in Hospitality

In 2023, the United Nations World Tourism Organization revealed a striking statistic: 54% of the people employed in the hospitality industry worldwide are women, standing tall as one of the few industries where women dominate.

While women make up a significant portion of the workforce in hospitality, the view from the top tells a different story: 30% of leaders in the sector shatter the glass ceiling. But that topic is for another time. Let’s shine the spotlight on 7 incredibly inspiring women in hospitality!

1. Liz Lambert

A motorcycle-riding attorney quits her job at the D.A’s office, comes back to her home state and begins her career in hotel industry. Opening Hotel San José in Austin, Texas, in 2000 and then Bunkhouse Group, a company that now operates 10 hotels in Texas, California, and Mexico - those are just some of her accomplishments. She has given the inspiration and strength to other women to step on the hotel industry’s path.

2. Emma Goodwin

"I think the industry would be so much better if there were more females in it”, Emma said.Never working on a hotel project before, Emma and her husband, one day saw a 1950s motel on sale and decided to go for it. They just wanted to show people what a perfect hotel means for them and fill the space with all of their favourite things to create the Zen vibe (surfboards from a local shaper, hammacks on the balcony). That’s how The Surferider Hotel Malibu on the cliffs of Malibu with the view of the ocean was created.

3. Sara Combs

Needed to escape from the big city and tech job, Sara and her husband went on a road trip and ended up in Joshua Tree. That’s when their life changed and search for real estate began. Craigslist - here they discovered 1949 hacienda that soon became theirs. To pay off the mortgage, they decided to put it on Airbnb, naming it the Joshua Tree House. No one would have expected that the images of the place go viral, but that’s what happened."There's something really feminine and personal about these spaces. I'm passionate about offering an experience for other people to reflect, reset, and recharge" noted Sara, who selected every element of the décor.

4. Sylvia Wong

Working in Manhattan at tech and investment companies, Wong started escaping to Hamptons every summer weekend for years. And once she saw online a property, decided to check it out and immediately felt inspired. Even though Covid just hit at that time, it didn’t stop her from opening Roundtree."I want guests to feel like they're staying at their second home," said Sylvia Wong.

5. Jen Turner

Carpenter Hotel was Tuner’s canvas as an architect. Clean lines influenced by Bauhaus combined with industrial, vintage touch: 40-foot metal sign, vintage bowling-alley banquettes, recycled oil pipes or terra-cotta blocks."One thing people have always said about the Carpenter is that we thought of everything. Maybe that's something women do — not necessarily better, but more often," she said. "How do you move about a space, what do you need on a bedside table? Those are all things that I really put thought into."The hotel turned out to be such a hit that Turner from no previous hotel experience, has realized several more hospitality projects.

6. Sonya Bradley

Sonya started with a bachelor of arts degree but that wasn’t her final path. As 25-year woman, having already experience in the hotel industry, Sonya felt a strong need to help people of color and other underrepresented people to be a part on tourism industry.She found her calling in making sure DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) is being practiced in all tourism organizations around the country. She serves on various committees and boards, including California Travel Association, Destinations International, DMA West, and a Sacramento non-profit.

7. Bianca Sharma

A nursery teacher, fells in love with an abonded 17-century monastery while on holiday with her sons in Amalfi Coast and just like that, decides to buy it and make it a luxurious hotel. Who knew it will be a decade-long journey to create Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa. But it was worth it, the hotel is carved into a cliff, with an infinity pool, amazing view and Michelin-starred restaurant, spa and is one of the finest luxury boutique hotels on the Amalfi coast.

We must admit each one of these women are a rock-star!

To change your career, follow your dreams and create something beautiful for others, ahhh, we can just say: Thank you for making hospitality as special as it is!