By Monica Goeke, CAE, WHLA
Women in Lodging Gather for Lunch and DEI Discussion
Over 30 hospitality professionals gathered at the Ironworks Hotel – Beloit last week to discuss how women can advance their personal careers and those of women across the hotel industry at the Wisconsin Women in Lodging (WWIL) Luncheon, part of WHLA’s Lodging Innsights Day — Beloit.
Held from January 25 at the Ironworks Hotel – Beloit, the event featured a panel of hoteliers from across the state, including Kristina McConnell, Regional Director of Sales for Aimbridge Hospitality, Katie Neufeld, General Manager of the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel in Milwaukee, Lynn Richardson, Assistant General Manager of Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan. WWIL Chair Krissy Sigmund, Vice President at Chula Vista Resort served as the event host and moderated the panel discussion titled “How Diversity Impacts Your Operations”.
Lodging Innsights Day
WHLA’s new live event series — Quarterly Lodging Innsights — kicked off on January 25 at the Ironworks Hotel – Beloit! Over fifty WHLA members, prospective members, and industry supporters gathered for industry focused education and professional networking.
WHLA Board Chair Jon Jossart (Ambassador Hotel – Milwaukee) welcomed attendees to the event, sharing information about the formation of this new event series. “WHLA recently went through a strategic planning process, and we found one area where we could make a real difference is by giving the lodging industry more opportunities to connect and engage throughout the state,” Jossart said. He continued, “So these regional events were born, bringing together our Board of Directors with our local members and friends.”
The event began at 1:00 pm, and featured four timely educational sessions addressing topics of key concerns for Wisconsin lodging owners and operators.
Working Across Generations: We Prepared for the Millennials.... Now What?
Generation has been a popular lens through which many organizations have viewed their workforce. But as the workforce grows more complex, employers must prepare for a work- place with a variety of generations working together.
During this session, Carmen Smalley, CMP, CHE, Instructor and Lead Faculty of the Hospitality and Events Management program at the Milwaukee Area Technical College shared information Generation Z and the Alpha Generation, comparisons of the Baby Boomer Generation and Generation X, and ideas on how different generations can work together successfully.
Back to Basics: Revenue Management.
WHLA associate member IDeaS sponsored and facilitated an interactive roundtable discussion featuring the key pillars of revenue management. Led by IDeaS’ Anthony Rose, CRME, session attendees discussed strategies and tips to help drive revenue to their properties’ bottom line.
WHLA lodging members Jacob Davis (Lake Lawn Resort), Brandon McConnell, CHA (Lake Lawn Resort), Kristina McConnell (Aimbridge Hospitality) and Krissy Sigmund (Chula Vista Resort and AmericInn Wisconsin Dells) lended their expertise as moderators during this session.
Local Advocacy Issues in Southern Wisconsin
The third session of the event placed a spotlight on the local tourism leaders in Southern Wisconsin and their instrumental role in advocacy. Attendees gained a deeper understanding of the important work local CVBs play within the community, and why these groups are instrumental in advocating at the local level on behalf of the broader tourism industry.
Erin McDonald Geronimo Hospitality’s Vice President of Lodging Erin McDonald moderated this panel discussion featuring Stephanie Klett, President & Chief Executive Officer, VISIT Lake Geneva, Christine Rebout, Janesville Area CVB Executive Director, and Celestino Ruffini, Visit Beloit President & CEO.
Wisconsin Advocacy Update
Industry advocacy continues to be the heartbeat of WHLA, and over the course of the last several years it’s proven to be more important than ever. During the closing session, presenters explored the successes of our advocacy efforts and discussed the priority issues for the next legislative session.
Dave Sekeres, General Manager of Lake Lawn Resort moderated this session featuring WHLA President & CEO Bill Elliott, CAE and WHLA contract lobbyist Kathi Kilgore, Swandby/Kilgore & Associates, Inc.
Following a full afternoon of education, attendees came together at The Porch at Merril Houston’s Steak Joint at the Ironworks Hotel for a cocktail reception sponsored by Visit Beloit. Conversation and drinks were plentiful, and local elected officials Wisconsin State Senator Mark Spreitzer and State Representative Clinton Anderson were in attendance and spoke to the group.
To cap off a full day, participants were treated to dinner on the roof at Hotel Goodwin with drinks sponsored by Geronimo Hospitality.
Future Lodging Innsights Events
The next Lodging Innsight Day will be held on May 23 at the Metropolis Resort in Eau Claire. For more information on this event series visit WisconsinLodging.org/innsights.
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