Glowing Bulb On Among Bulbs Off

Roz Winegrad
Vice-president, Owner and Franchise Servces, Marriott International

Definition of success
It’s about leaving a legacy of positive and sustainable change. Success is never final…In my current role, and for many of my leadership years at Marriott, developing great leaders and taking care of people has been my core goal.

Major milestone
In 2000, I had the opportunity to move into the owner and franchise-services group. From a career standpoint, the jump was huge. Another major milestone came in 2016 when I was given the opportunity to lead an owner-franchise operation. However, on a personal note, my marriage and 16-year-old son are the most important successes in my life.

Advice to other women
It’s important to negotiate for what you want and to be honest, smart and hardworking. That said, equality for women in this industry should start at the top.

Strategies that got you where you are today
Corporate leaders must embrace who they are in a fundamental way — and be bold, even unapologetic about it. I never really benefited from trying to act like a man or to be demure — by trying to be someone I wasn’t, I created my own glass ceiling. When you lead authentically, you come across as more powerful, believable and trustworthy



Christiane Germaine
Co-president, Group Germain Hotels

Biggest milestone
Opening my first hotel — I even greeted our very first customer. The recognition of these milestones comes only in hindsight. When you are young, you are also fearless in a sense. You don’t always realize the hugeness of the project you are getting into. I just followed my instincts.

Work/life balance
I never apologize for my drive, but acknowledge it may have interfered with my work/ life balance. If I had to do it over, I might have changed some things. I might have given more time to my personal life. But nothing is perfect and at the end of the day, I am happy with where I am.

In terms of industry influencers, I’ve had several. Mentors join you and then leave you along different stages of the journey. There really has never been one single mentor. However, I have a group of colleagues who I count as an enduring support. I talk to different women in business or sometimes I will be in  the role of the listener. It’s a space where we can really hear each other in a way that perhaps men don’t understand — only because the obstacles faced are so specific to women. There’s an understanding there.

Other passions
When not working, I love travelling and skiing. Now, the goal is to carve out time especially for those hobbies.

Advice to other women
Women need to let things go. In general, in almost every aspect of our lives, we want to be perfect. But perfection is impossible. Too many women feel guilty, especially about different aspects of parenting. But we all need to feel less guilty. We can just do the best we can in the moment.



Mandy Farmer
President and CEO, Accent Inns

Definition of success
I insist on putting your everything into a project with a curated team of the most amazing people. If you can do this and have fun while doing it — that’s success.

Major milestone
When I started my own brand — Hotel Zed — from scratch, I hit my biggest and most major milestone.

Typical day
Business days with my team are filled with lots of laughter and creativity. This all happens as we dream up new ideas with a blank journal and brainstorm. And, unfortunately, I usually have to catch up on a bazillion emails.

Business approach
Have fun. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t do any project half-assed. And, most importantly, hire people better than yourself.

Work/life balance
Work expands to fill the time available. To remedy this constant expansion, I set strong boundaries to ensure self-care. My top three guidelines are: be home for dinner with the family before 6 p.m.; don’t work weekends; and schedule your workouts into your calendar in stone.

Advice to other women
Ask for it. Let it be known you want to work your way up. Work with your manager to get a game plan for making it happen and then make sure you continue to ask for it again and again…and again.



Gunjan Kahlon
Director and Franchise Development, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Inc.

First job
Front-office assistant at Oberoi Raj Vilas, India with a salary of $42 a month.

Definition of success
Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.

Work/life balance
Managing work life and personal life in digital age is tough, but I create boundaries between my time at work and my time at home. I have a set routine for work hours and personal hours. I also switch off my work phone during my personal time (except in emergencies) and make time for things I enjoy outside of work, like hiking and cooking.

Approach to business
Sincerity, steadiness and a steel-wheel determination to get the deal.

Advice to other women
Be genuine, be persistent and never take no for an answer.

Biggest obstacle you faced in your career
When, I moved from India to Canada in July 2006, as a new immigrant I struggled to get a job, as I had no Canadian experience. I decided to cold call every hotel in GTA with my resumé asking for opportunities and requesting to meet with human resources. Finally, three months later my efforts paid off when I got my first job as a sales coordinator. Although it was step down from my last position in India, I was happy to get my foot in the door.



Heather McRory
Executive VP Operations, North & Central America, AccorHotels

First job
Working in the laundry department of the Banff Springs Hotel.

Definition of success
Success is a balance between the three core elements of my life; my family and network of friends, my passion for my job and the personal achievements there, and last — but certainly not least — contributing back to the community in some way.

Major milestone
Jumping from a 20-year career in sales and moving to operations was a significant leap — and probably one of my biggest milestones.

Typical day
There’s no such thing, but that’s part of the reason I love my job so much.

Biggest influence
On a professional level, many of my bosses were role models, but also my family, which keeps me grounded. We need our family to have that big impact. They give us that balance we need.

Advice to other women
You’ve got to be confident in who you are and be true to yourself; allow others to see your strength naturally. Messaging from a hotel leader has to begin at the top. You’ve got to embody and project the values you expect your team of colleagues to have. It’s about moving beyond your comfort zone — if you want to grow, you need to be okay with being stretched and being a little uncomfortable.



Reetu Gupta
Chief Operating Officer,  Easton’s Group and The Gupta Group

First job
Receptionist at the Easton’s Group.

Definition of success
Both professionally and personally, success for me is achieved by creating happiness for others.

Major milestone
My biggest milestone came when I was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2017. This was a huge moment for my career and a true honour for me — and my family as well.

Typical day
I juggle operating three companies — The  Gupta Group, Rogue Insight Capital and Easton’s Group — so every day is different. Things rarely go by schedule.

Work/life balance
One plus side of working in the family business is that you can talk shop during dinner. It’s quite efficient, actually. We have family dinners together and can have strategy sessions for the future at the same time. That said, I also like to make time for myself.

Career obstacles
There are both advantages and disadvantages to being “the boss’s daughter.” I’m not only a woman in the male-dominated industry of real estate development and early-stage investing, I’m also part of the Gupta family — and one of the youngest people in the room. At the end of the day, you have to realize you have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself. So, I fight to ensure that, every day, I am a better version of myself than yesterday.


Interviews by Jennifer Febbraro


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