ATLANTA — Castell Project, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the careers of women professionals in the hospitality industry, has named Heather McCrory, Accor CEO of North & Central America, as the winner of its inaugural Castell Award.
The award honours a woman leader in the hospitality-investment arena and was presented to McCrory at The Lodging Conference 2019 held in Phoenix recently.
A seasoned professional with an extensive hospitality background spanning more than 30 years, McCrory joined Accor’s executive committee upon her appointmentas CEO, North & Central America, in April 2019. In this position, she’s responsible for the strategic direction of the global hospitality group in the region, with oversight of more than 115 hotels, 11 brands in 10 countries, 28,000 employees and more than $3-billion in revenue. She also serves as the executive sponsor for North & Central America for RiiSE, Accor’s international network to promote diversity.
McCrory leads numerous initiatives as part of the RiiSE program, including a research project to understand why women are opting out of leadership roles and a formal mentorship program for women within the organization who have the potential and desire to be a GM within the next three to five years.
“The work the Castell Project is doing to assist women in securing one in every three leadership seats in the hospitality industry is encouraging, but we still have a long way to go,” says McCrory. “Gender inclusivity is a personal and passionate goal of mine, both for Accor and the hospitality industry at large. While women make up more than 50 per cent of the hospitality workforce, we need to have more females in the boardroom. With organizations like the Castell Project in place, I’m confident we’ll one day meet our diversity goals. As numerous studies have proven, this benefits the industry and drives our collective performance.”
“The Castell Project received a wonderful roster of nominations describing deserving leaders and the impact they’re having on coworkers — female and male — and how they’re shifting the culture within their organizations,” says Peggy Berg, president of the Castell Project. “Heather stood out as a powerful female making a difference in the industry. She understands wholeheartedly that, as part of an international hospitality company, a more diverse team is a better performing team. Heather is an inspiration to other women as they find their own paths to success.”
Award nominations were judged based on four key characteristics:
- Change-maker: leads strategic improvement programs for their organization
- Trailblazer: opens new paths in the industry
- Gender-equity champion: creates opportunities for women
- Principled professional: demonstrates ethical business conduct within their organization and the industry