Hilton: International Women’s Day: Celebrating the Women of Hilton

Hilton leaders share the learnings that have shaped their careers

Originally Published by Hilton.

At Hilton, we’re committed to creating a great place to work where all women thrive – from our housekeepers to our executives. As we reflect on International Women’s Day in this, our 100th year, we’re celebrating some of our many impressive women of Hilton and sharing the learnings that helped them get where they are today. Read on for career inspiration and learn more about how we empower women across our organization here.

Kristin Campbell, Executive Vice President & General Counsel

Read more from Kristin about how we’re ‘balancing for better’ at Hilton here.

What’s the most useful piece of career advice you’ve received?  

Early in my career journey, a mentor advised me to ‘always do your research, and once you have confidence in your position, trust your instincts.’ This has served me well and always been a great reminder to balance due diligence and hard work with smart risk taking.

What advice would you give to those starting their career?

If you work for a company that reflects your ideals and champions your beliefs, you’re setting the foundation for long-term success. Regardless of the industry or position, knowing who you are and standing by your values will take you a long way.

 

Linda Giebing, General Manager Hilton Colombo Residences, Sri Lanka

What’s the best career advice you’ve received?

Get out of your comfort zone. By taking an opportunity in a different department or country you will develop quickly, both technically and by growing your soft skills set. If a challenge scares you but also excites you, then you should definitely do it. When a person is proposing that you to do an assignment or a project, they think you can do it. So take it and be confident!

What has been the biggest change in the workplace environment since you started your career, and how have you adapted? 

Systems and technology. You need to stay up to date, especially when you don’t use them daily. To me it’s essential to learn how you can get the most relevant information from a new technology or tool, quickly and easily.

What are some of the positive impacts you’ve seen from greater diversity within teams?

I compare it to looking at a sculpture. The more diverse a team is, the more angles of the sculpture you can capture because we all look at it through a different personal frame of reference. This leads to better solutions and better ideas.

What do you feel are the most valuable skills for a leader?

Empathy, Humbleness, Empowerment and Resilience.

 

Shruti Gandhi Buckley, Senior Vice President and Global Head, Hampton by Hilton

What advice would you give someone starting their career?

Surround yourself with good people – and don’t be afraid to pursue opportunities you think you may not be ready for.

Do you have any productivity hacks?

Focus on the big things that are going to drive the biggest results. Once you put your focus on what matters most then that is where you will find the greatest success.

What do you feel are the most valuable skills for a leader?

A leader should create a motivational environment – one that emphasizes learning and engagement. When our team members work as partners we ultimately work toward, and support the success of the business.

 

Patricia Page-Champion, Senior Vice President & Commercial Director

What advice would you give someone starting their career?

After finding something that really interests you – get involved in everything you can. Don’t be worried about side moves at the start of your career – a broad range of experience is so useful. Volunteer to get involved in projects – it connects you across the organization and helps you learn. Lastly get a great mentor – someone who can support you but also give you honest feedback.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office?

If I am in the office in Watford, the first thing I do is walk around to say hello, see what is going on and how people are. It connects you back to the core of what we do and ensures you are up to date on what is happening across the business.

Do you have any productivity hacks? 

I wish I had a shortcut! Honestly, you have to work hard but smart to get through your day. Focus on the top three things you need to achieve and don’t be distracted by noise!

What do you feel are the most valuable skills for a leader?

Firstly, you have to be your authentic self – not an image of who you think you should be. You then need to take time to listen to what people have to say and be present. It makes such a difference and quite often, the quietest person has the most to contribute.

Are there any skills or focus areas that you are planning to develop this year and why?

I don’t think you ever stop learning, so that’s my mantra. This year, I will be focusing on freeing up more time for thinking and planning.

 

Talene Lanuza Staab, Vice President and Global Head, Tru by Hilton

What has been the biggest change in the workplace environment since you started your career, and how have you adapted?

Today we are more matrixed teams than ever before- so to be successful you have to know your personal work narrative. Not just what you did- but how you did it.  You have to be clear about how your puzzle piece fits into a team or organization.

What are some of the positive impacts you’ve seen from greater diversity within teams?

For me, a strong team is one that includes diversity in thought. Diversity in thought creates an environment in which team members can stress test ideas against one another, since everyone comes at the task with a different approach. In the end, the team and the ideas are strong and well-rounded.

What do you feel are the most valuable skills for a leader?

As a leader, your biggest responsibility is to paint a clear picture of what a successful end goal looks like. Once that picture is painted, it is up to the team members to figure out how to get there using their diverse strengths and skills. When projects get complicated, as a leader, my role is pointing everyone back to that picture.

 

Leslie Pchola, Senior Vice President Operations Full Service North America East

What advice would you give someone starting their career?

Don’t assume that people know where you want go next in your career, you need to be intentional in discussing where your passion is and what is needed to build the skill set.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office?

When I’m at home I have coffee before tackling emails and reviewing my calendar to ensure I’m prepared for the day. When I’m at a hotel I walk the public areas inside and out, meet as many team members as possible and meet with owners and team to gain perspective and understand their strategic needs.

Do you have any productivity hacks?

Instead of a “To Do List” try scheduling these items in your calendar so you only need to manage your email and calendar.

What do you feel are the most valuable skills for a leader?

Being curious, collaborative and providing an innovative culture. Having a passion for bringing together talented people, guiding their development and leadership skills and promoting them to new positions.

 

Christine Maginnis, Vice President of People Analytics and HR

What advice would you give someone starting their career?

Be open to opportunities that aren’t necessarily in your “plan” and don’t be scared of a lateral move. My background is in finance and accounting. I can honestly say that I never planned to work in Human Resources. Through my mentor relationships, I was encouraged to stay curious and build confidence in my skills which pushed me to explore opportunities outside of my comfort zone. Trying new things through lateral movement has led to some of my proudest professional moments and accomplishments.  Today, I am thriving in a role that I am passionate about, leveraging analytics to drive meaningful programs that positively impact our 400,000+ Team Members around the world – and I couldn’t be happier!

What are some of the positive impacts you’ve seen from greater diversity within teams?

I see the positive impacts of a diverse and inclusive culture every day. My team is diverse in everything from traditional demographics to areas of expertise. This is critical to our success because cognitive diversity drives innovation and creativity. When we approach problems from different angles and embrace a culture that encourages respectful dissent, we are better able to deliver thoughtful and effective solutions quickly. With the pace of business these days, diversity drives agility.

Do you have any productivity hacks? 

I start every day with a to-do list, broken out into three areas “must do, could do, should do”.  This list helps me start every day fresh and prioritize my time. There is only so much you can do in a day. For me, this exercise helps me identify early on where I need help or where I may need to shift timelines. It’s a simple exercise that ensures I stay on track to what truly has to get to done that day. It also ensures I have a “win” each day – who doesn’t like the feeling of crossing something off a list!

What do you feel are the most valuable skills for a leader?

Authenticity, transparency and vulnerability – being open enough to learn alongside your team, humanizing yourself as a leader and acknowledging that you are constantly learning and growing and facing challenges along the way. Also, having natural curiosity and a desire to consistently learn – from your team, your peers and the leaders around you.

 

Jenna Hackett, Vice President and Global Head, Tapestry Collection by Hilton

What advice would you give someone starting their career?

My advice for all young professionals would be to stay true to yourself, to relentlessly pursue your passion and to not be afraid of failure. You can do anything as long as you are willing to work hard, seek to learn from both successes and failures and lean in to achieve your goals.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office?

I am a morning person and am up at 4:30 a.m. to work out and then in the office by 7 a.m. where I give myself an hour to check my email before my day really begins with meetings and other daily to-dos. I’m constantly finding ways to balance and optimize my schedule to ensure I’m thriving personally and professionally. I want to get the most out of my time as well as remain cognizant of my team’s time. To me time is the biggest gift, and I work to value the time of others as well as my own.

What are some of the positive impacts you’ve seen from greater diversity within teams?

Across industries, it is great to see an increase of women in leadership positions. Hilton has done an amazing job of developing, promoting and hiring women to fill executive-level roles and continues to be recognized as an inclusive employer as one of the top Best Workplaces for Women. The Hilton Executive Committee team continues to be strong advocates for women, recognizing a diverse and inclusive workplace is fundamental to our company’s success.

What do you feel are the most valuable skills for a leader?

Being spirited and nimble has been instrumental in allowing me to progress in my career and as a leader. I am motivated by self-improvement and competition. The chance to grow continues to fuel me through successes as well as challenges. And because of that, I’m not afraid of the unknown – I know I’m resilient enough to navigate any situation or new opportunity that comes my way and I also have the support of great fellow leaders across Hilton. And life is about perspective – a glass half full is better than the alternative.

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