What initially inspired you to get into the hospitality business? My father started Budget Host when I was 13. One of my earliest jobs was stuffing marketing mailers to let independent motel owners know about Budget Host. My father encouraged me to study what interested me and follow my own path, but I continued to closely follow the growth of the business. After finishing college at the University of Texas—Austin and working for 10 years, I joined Budget Host as marketing director. It was a privilege to get to work with my father until his death in 2007.
Who were some of your mentors or role models, male or female, and what were their most valuable lessons? My father was my most significant mentor. I am grateful I had so many years to learn from him. Bill Long, Budget Host’s long-time Quality Assurance Director, is a wonderful role model as well. He freely shares what he’s learned from many decades in the industry from serving as a director at AAA to owning his own QA consulting firm.
In your opinion, how is the lodging industry doing in terms of getting women into leadership positions? Hospitality is a male dominated industry. When I started in the late 1990s there were very few women executives. It’s been exciting to watch that evolve. I believe there is wide recognition that women are effective corporate leaders. The future is bright for women in the industry!