Strengthening its commitment to empower women leadership, Marriott International closed its 3rd annual Asia Pacific Women in Leadership Conference in Hong Kong recently. The conference hosted 150 high-achieving women from within the company and externally with a powerful call to action: Dare, Define, Do.
The two-day conference, held at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, is part of Marriott’s longstanding goal of bringing women together in Asia to share experiences, challenge thinking and inspire each other to achieve their goals and aspirations.
Themed Dare, Define, Do, the conference Dares delegates to find their voice, challenge the status quo and encourage a new paradigm. They are emboldened to Define the path ahead, how to balance vision, purpose and results and define who they are and who they want to be. Finally, delegates are asked to Do what takes courage, not what is easy, to build a legacy and do something that makes a difference – and do it today.
Being one of the world’s largest hotel groups, the Marriott family has grown to 500,000 employees globally. Having women in leadership positions is a vital part of Marriott International’s strategy for growth and success.
Ever since the pioneering works of Marriott’s co-founder Alice S. Marriott in 1927, the company has sought to benefit from the leadership and talents of women. At Marriott, women hold nearly 36% of Board of Directors positions.
In Asia Pacific, close to 40% of the company’s managers are women. The number of women General Managers has increased by 70% in the past two years and there is a strong pipeline of future women General Managers who will be supporting the growth of Marriott in the region.
A full roster of speakers and facilitators discussed challenges they have faced and shared their own stories about what it takes to manage life and careers. The conference also aimed to educate leaders on key business trends and leadership topics, celebrate successes and stress the importance of “taking care of one’s self and community.
Representing Marriott International, Stephanie Linnartz, EVP and Global Chief Commercial Officer, was the first to take the stage at WIL and she addressed the audience on ‘How to Dare to Challenge the Status Quo.’
Debbie Marriott Harrison, Global Officer of Marriott Culture and Business Councils, and daughter of Bill Marriott, shared the historical heritage and culture of Marriott International with her fellow colleagues.
The conference was also joined by Marriott’s leading men, including Craig S. Smith, Asia Pacific President & Managing Director, who reinforced Marriott’s dedication of empowering women with the 2017 action plan.
Also invited to speak at the conference were Ipsita Dasgupta, President, Strategy and Incubation for Star India, Chloe Chick, Founder of SisuGirls, and Head of GHL Singapore and Innovation Lead, as well as representatives & alumni from the Asian University for Women (AUW).
“Now that we are the world’s largest hotel company, it’s more important than ever that we at Marriott lead the industry and encourage more women to take on leadership roles. Women are vital to the hospitality industry, and we believe that equal opportunity and balanced leadership create the most effective and high producing teams,” said Peggy Fang Roe, Asia Pacific Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, and Executive Sponsor of the Women in Leadership Initiative.
The conference was supported by start-ups and NGOs including Baking for a Cause and YEECHOO. As Asia’s biggest online designer dress sharing platform, YEECHOO offered attendees of the gala dinner with exclusive fitting sessions and ball gowns.
Delegates from Marriott International who took part were nominated by their leaders in recognition of their contributions, they make to the success of the business and the significant impact they have had in promoting the role of women in leadership. The delegates, who range widely in age, are from both regional offices as well as hotel properties.