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SHE Leads Forum moderator on the importance of managing your own career

By Elaine Simon

The hospitality industry is something that Lalia Rach understands well, and she has spent her career sharing that knowledge with others in a variety of ways—as a professor and dean, as a best-selling author and as a consultant. Rach’s most high-profile position in the industry was as the founding dean of the hospitality program at New York University and leading the school’s annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference.

 

Rach maintains a hands-on role in the “real world” of the hospitality industry as a founder and partner of Rach Enterprises, a consulting firm that provides strategic guidance to hospitality businesses and public sector agencies in the area of economic development, strategic planning, brand management and customer service.

Rach is moderating Red Roof’s SHE Leads Forum on Sept. 28-29 in Dallas, where she will combine her experience in education, hospitality, strategic guidance and more to lead attendees through 24-hours of collaborative learning opportunities designed to support, help and elevate women in the hotel industry.

 

Rach is a storyteller, so in this profile we’re giving her the opportunity to tell her story in her own words.

 

On moderating the SHE Leads Forum …

 

“This is one of the things that I get to do that I consider a meaningful moment. I look forward to it. I enjoy being a part of it. I learn from it. And what more in your job can you ask for? This is not my first time doing it but it never gets old. It’s always exciting.

 

I admire Red Roof and particularly [Red Roof’s Chief Marketing Officer] Marina MacDonald, [creator of the SHE Leads Forum]. I admire how she's taken something and evolved it into an enormously necessary, meaningful and useful event. And that's not always the case. So I can't wait.”

 

On the unique blend that SHE Leads offers …

 

“What I think is the most important aspect is that it is challenging, expanding every attendee’s approach to their professional development whether they are wanting to own a hotel, whether they own hotels, whether they manage hotels, whether they hold a different professional position within the hotel. It doesn't matter who you are, you can really take something from this and really advance who you are. Everyone who's in that room understands the first and foremost important aspect is that the individual attendees leave better than they came as professionals. I always leave with the feeling and the belief that the No. 1 reason for this event was the individual, their growth and their development and that's unusual.”

 

On the impact of Marina MacDonald, Red Roof’s chief marketing officer and the leader and founder of SHE, inspired by Red Roof…

 

“I've known her through much of the growth of her career and I have now worked with her as a consultant in her time at Red Roof for more than a decade. It's been really something I've treasured because I've been able to see her grow and evolve as a professional and take her own values and beliefs and put them into action and she has been able to use her success to help others be successful. I don't know if people truly understand what an impact Marina has had on many people's professional lives. I also think that Marina displays, especially for women, a maturity of spirit. She is courageous. She is creative.

 

“She has as much steel in her backbone as anybody I know and once she decides on a path, that's the path. It's interesting how we measure the value of a professional and for me, my No. 1 measurement is, ‘How many people have you affected, impacted, helped along the way?’ And Marina checks every box.”

 

On the impact of Dorothy Dowling, industry icon and the keynote speaker at this year’s SHE Leads Forum …

 

“Confidence is something that she always publicly has around her. You sense her confidence. Now, that doesn't mean she's not a human being. But what I admire about her is that she exudes her confidence continually in public, and I think that's important for any leader. As a leader, sometimes you have to be the rock, you have to be the anchor, and that's something that Dorothy accepts fully and it's second nature to her. She will continue to keep her ships sailing, even if the waters are extraordinarily rough, because she recognizes people depend upon things and that's something I think so many of our leaders are lacking today. We have to have confidence in people's care for us. We have to have confidence in people's vision of where they're steering the ship, and that's something that Dorothy does so well, among so many things.

 

“She is also one of those industry icons like Marina, she is also a pioneer like Marina. But I don't think either one of them ever really sits back and goes, ‘Oh, I'm an icon,’ or, ‘Oh, I'm a pioneer.’ And that's why periodically whether it's with Dorothy or Marina I am always wanting others to understand what they have done. And without a doubt, Dorothy Dowling stands very securely as a woman at a very high level within corporate brands and has always stood for the very best of what we want our leaders to be.”

 

On Rach’s first book, “Managing the Book on You! Rewriting Your Leadership Story,” which was published in 2022 …

 

“I'm a storyteller; that's what I am. So I wanted it to be stories of people I've coached, I wanted it to be stories that I'd actually experienced in developing as a professional and managing my career. But at the end of the day, don't read it if you're just going to read it. It's a workbook. If you're not managing your own career, nobody's doing it for you. And in fact, it may be one of the major reasons why you keep looking at other people who get promoted, who go beyond, who do better, because you're not doing the things that they are.

 

“I really also feel I don't have the way, the truth and the light. I don't tell you what to do. I do ask a lot of questions that you then need to think about and respond to because my path is not yours. Everyone's path is different. My strengths are not yours, and thank heavens, my challenges are not yours. I would never try to say to you, ‘Do this, do that.’ And I'm not saying other books do but they lay it out as if you mimic what I've done or what I'm saying then this will happen. Well, I don't know. I don't. What I do know, however, is that if you're not working to keep your career moving the way you want it to, then you will not succeed.”

 

On the importance of personal branding …

 

“When you talk about personal branding, my whole point is, it is your career. You're the one who has to decide because it's your brand, not mine. It's having the confidence that at this time, in this place, this is who I am and who I want to be. Now, is that going to evolve? That's why I wrote the book because your career doesn't stay [the same] and how do you make sure that people know now what your personal brand is versus what it was?”

 

On the importance of feedback and being active in your own professional development …

 

“At the end of the day, isn't that what we're all looking for, feedback? When people ask me about their resume or should they have a mentor or this, that or the other thing, I know they're looking for feedback, and I'm always delighted to provide it but one of the things I believe in so much is it's not my career. That's why I'm asking, even in the book, is just think. Be confident in yourself. Be honest with yourself. Nobody's perfect. Nobody's successful in everything. What do you really want at the end of the day? And that's why I'm trying to say to people: Be active in your own development.

 

“And that takes us full circle back to Red Roof. What they're doing with the upcoming event with SHE Leads — they're saying to women, primarily, and underrepresented groups, be active in your own professional development. And what a wonderful thing for a company or brand to be doing.”

Visit www.she-leads.com for more information about Red Roof’s SHE Leads Forum and for tools to help you manage your business, rise in the ranks and find the confidence to become a successful business leader.

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