Celebrating International Women's Day
On March 8, millions around the world celebrate International Women’s Day, reminding us of the need for gender equality. This year, the theme is #BeBoldForChange and it’s one that the Koncept Events team can get behind!
As a business founded and helmed by two amazing, female forces of nature, we can confidently say women have a voice here at Koncept Events. We asked the KE team what they believe would help make us all Bold, and they had some great ideas. Like, a lot of them. We couldn’t keep them all to ourselves, so we are going to let them tell you, and hope that you are inspired to #BeBoldForChange! (editors note: click images for names)
BUT WAIT, THAT’S NOT ALL!! Because the hospitality industry is just full of women leading the way.
This year, we are recognizing, Ashly Balding, Executive Vice President at ALHI; Kelly Murphy, Founder & Chief Visionary Officer of Events on the Loose; and Tatiana Lora, Director of Public Relations for The Ritz-Carlton Hotels of Key Biscayne, Coconut Grove and Fort Lauderdale. These women have shown that it’s possible to be a women and a successful leader. Oh, and they are super insightful. See for yourself!
Ashly Balding, Executive Vice President, ALHI
Ashly joined Associated Luxury Hotels International in 2003 as a National Sales Manager in Atlanta, GA. Since then, the stellar saleswoman has used her skills (honed during her time as a telemarketer!) to prove herself, and today, she is the Executive Vice President of the company. Um, yeah, we’re impressed! So what’s the mindset of a strong woman like Ashly? We found out!
Q: What’s your #BeBoldForChange phrase and why?
A: Authenticity & Adaptability! In this ever changing world, whether it be professional or personal, being authentic is being self-aware and genuine yet mission-driven. Being adaptable is embracing growth or change. Remember, your comfort zone is your danger zone.
Q: Why do you think the hospitality industry seems more open to powerful women?
A: While our industry may be more open to women leaders, we still need more of them. Women understand survival, we have grit and we aren’t afraid to fight for what we believe in or an opportunity to achieve something of significance. Women leaders are found to be strategic, passionate, flexible and purposeful.
Q: Is there a Bold woman you admire?
A: Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.org) – she believes the clearest path to happiness is to combine passion with contribution. As a leader, you don’t only want to win the minds of your team, you want to win their hearts too.
Q: Any last words of wisdom about being a female leader?
A: As a working mom, I believe if I am leading my children passionately and investing in my marriage and family, it makes me more meaningful in the boardroom. Happiness creates ambition, which leads to success!
As a working mom, I believe if I am leading my children passionately and investing in my marriage and family, it makes me more meaningful in the boardroom.
Kelly Murphy, Founder & Chief Visionary Officer, Events on the Loose
Kelly co-founded Panache Event Rentals in 1992, when the events industry in South Florida was just beginning to boom. In short order, it grew it into one of the most recognizable names in event rentals, eventually allowing Kelly to sell the company and gain a little more personal time. But it wasn’t long before her entrepreneurial spirit struck again, and two years ago, Events on the Loose was born. In its relatively short lifetime, Events on the Loose has proven to be one of South Florida’s top choices for unique rentals in both the corporate and social event world. So with two successful businesses under her belt, it’s pretty obvious Kelly is a Bold woman in her own right. And she even let us in on some of her secrets!
Q: What is your #BeBoldForChange phrase?
A: #MakeItHappen. If you don’t, who will?
Q: What has been your proudest moment with Events on the Loose?
A: The moment we (our team) made the decision to move forward with the concept and idea of Events on the Loose Rental Provisions and color outside the lines.
Q: Where does your inspiration come from?
A: Everywhere! It just hits me if I’m willing to be open-minded.
Q: What advice would you give someone who wanted to start their own rental company?
A: Develop and maintain relationships, be prepared for change and long hours, and have the dedication to see it through. Event rentals are often the necessary ingredients to the infrastructure of the event although not the most glamorous part, and sometimes the vision is not always shared. Make sure you are part of the plan from the beginning to end and not an afterthought to ensure the success of every event. It isn’t as simple as buying something and renting it out. There is a whole process involved; which includes getting the inventory from A to B with proper process and execution along with taking a gamble on what will or will not work in your market.
Q: What have been some of the keys to your career success?
A: We’ve seized opportunities as they came along with a “we can do this” attitude overriding the fear of what could go wrong and focusing more on what will go right. Never let FEAR rule. Live outside your comfort zone and reach out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t hesitate to offer it to those who need it. Many times it was my competitors who extended the hand when we stumbled, and we did the very same for them. Morals, ethics and the principle of doing it right are the best compass for any business.
Never let FEAR rule. Live outside your comfort zone and reach out. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t hesitate to offer it to those who need it.
Meet Tatiana once, and you’ll remember her. It could be her big smile, her sincerity or that air about her that says “I make things happen.” Whatever it is, she stands out. She’ll say she isn’t one for being in the spotlight, but it’s hard to overlook a woman who is heading up communications for three of The Ritz-Carlton Hotels in South Florida. So we won’t! Because inquiring minds want to know, how has this young professional been able to be so accomplished so early in her career? Read on to find out!
Q: What is your #BeBoldForChange phrase?
A: One Step at a Time… With anything in life, you have to make sure that you take one step at a time. Big changes do not come overnight, and we have to take our time, both professionally and personally.
Q: Is there a Bold woman you admire?
A: My mother, Isabel Lora. She passed away of a rare form of Leukemia Cancer July 2015, but I admired her greatly for her every day strength and commitment, love and dedication to her children. The sacrifices she made for myself and my brothers are sacrifices that I will be eternally grateful for. She is the reason I am where I am. Sometimes the boldest women are not the loudest ones, but the ones that make the biggest impact.
Q: What has been your proudest moment with The Ritz-Carlton properties?
A: My proudest moments have to include seeing my coordinators move on to larger roles within and outside of the company and begin living their professional and personal dreams. I enjoy being able to work alongside other great professionals and assist them in their growing and learning process.
Q: Over the years, you’ve grown with the company and are currently the Director of Public relations for three Ritz-Carlton properties. What do you think have been the keys to your success?
A: Keys to success are to work hard, be true to yourself, know when to pick and choose your battles and stay focused. If you hit a road block, do not complain about it or make up excuses. Figure it out and troubleshoot. In PR and Marketing, it is all about project management and multitasking.
Q: How do you feel about being considered a powerful female leader?
A: I am humbled to be considered a powerful female leader, but in the end, it is not about being powerful. I am a young, female professional that works hard and tries my best in both my professional and personal life.
Sometimes the boldest women are not the loudest ones, but the ones that make the biggest impact.
*Editors note: A huge thank you to everyone who participated in our International Women’s Day celebration. Some questions and answers have been adjusted for clarity, grammar and/or readability.