How Stretching Myself Improved My Skill Set
My High career began in 2014 when I joined High Hotels and helped open the TownePlace Suites by Marriott in Harrisburg. It was thrilling to be part of the fit-out and grand opening. The teamwork was incredible, and I thrived on bringing outstanding experiences to guests while having a blast.
I had started as the Guest Services Manager but knew there was more that High could offer my career development. After three years and advancing through several operational leadership roles, I decided that I was ready for a change. I wanted to improve my overall business knowledge and understanding and to be a contributor to the revenue side. Though I didn’t have the experience, I was determined. I’ll never forget when I brought it up in a one-on-one, and to my surprise and delight, my manager agreed!
It turned out that timing was everything. Fortunately, High Hotels had strategically aligned its approach to sales based on its hotel geographies and was building its sales organization. I was never so affirmed and gratified as when High extended the opportunity to become the company’s first Area Director of Sales & Marketing for the west region of the hotel portfolio.
The new position was exactly what I had hoped for. But the change was huge. On top of it, I was working to complete an MBA at Elizabethtown College thanks to High’s tuition reimbursement program. I have never been so busy in my life! Or more uncomfortable. Taking on a new role when you’re starting from scratch is a humbling experience.
Yet it was also deeply rewarding. Feeling uncomfortable forced me to open up and absorb as much as I could. Practicing humility was key. I learned to understand my weaknesses and strengths, and that sharing them with my team generated trust. I was not going to pretend I was the expert. Rather, my vision for the department was to create an environment for our sales experts to have more time to sell by removing all their roadblocks. My goals were to allow my team to play to their strengths, learn of their challenges through coaching conversations, and to collaborate on solutions to help the team strive forward.
I am proud of the financial success the West Region has sustained over my two years in the role. However, I most proud that together we created a culture that emphasizes frequent communication, action, honesty, and fun. My next goal is to continue this momentum into a role that establishes a similar culture across an entire organization instilling progressive thoughts, ideas, and actions.
As I reflect on my career, I’m grateful to my colleagues and managers for their support and teamwork and for the High’s willingness to invest in me. Even when I felt overwhelmed, I knew I was supported and was able to learn and grow at my own pace. Now I know what I am capable of, and I look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead.