HTS Highlights: Managing Through Uncertainty

The Hospitality & Tourism Summit Online welcomed Michelle Mason, President & CEO Association Forum to lead a discussion with Kim Mosley, President of American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, and Kimberly Barnes, President and CEO of the Magnificent Mile Association, on their experiences of managing through uncertainty. Furthermore, the discussion welcomed John Hockman, Principal of McKinley Advisors, to present key 2020 research findings concerning diversity and inclusion within the work environment.  

Hockman began the discussion with the statistic: “44% of members said they have witnessed, experienced–or both–harassment, discrimination or bias in the last year”. The research presented pointed to a lack of diversity within the workplace and the unstable environment to openly discuss diversity and inclusion. It was noted that it is not rare for members to feel a disconnect from what they are told is important, and the level of satisfaction they witness once in the workplace. Hockman urges companies to diversify their leadership, raise awareness beyond just the basics, and to do something. Organizations may be at different points in their journeys, but no matter where they are, it is vital that they do something to advance welcoming environments. 

The discussion then moved to the panelists, where Mosely and bares discussed how they reacted to the problems the pandemic caused earlier this year. Mosley immediately knew that she needed to partner with others to make sure kids still had the chance to be kids this summer. Her organization worked with the local schools to give toys during their food drives and worked with Children Museums to create packages filled with fun activities and toys to keep kids occupied during the summer. Bares also worked with her Association to provide meals to the hardest-hit communities and ensure safety measures were followed within her Association. 

While the pandemic has been a prevalent issue in the industry, the recent movement of racial injustice has sparked conversation everywhere. Mosley commented that she was “optimistic by the way the United States, right now, is really looking at what can we do to address some of the disparities that exist and make lasting changes that will make things better”.  Bares echoes this sentiment and hopes to see everyone heading in the correct direction and taking diversity and inclusion efforts more seriously. 

Both Mosley and Bares are senior leaders in the industry and want to lead by example. They have used their real-life experiences to better understand their workers and to create a welcoming work environment for all. They are both advocates of self-care and want to make sure their workers are taking care of themselves and not feeling overwhelmed. Bares states it’s important that executives tell themselves “I need a break, I need to get this work done, but I also need to live to fight another day”. A company can only thrive if they truly care about their workers in every sense. 

These women have taken the industry by storm, and have continued to overcome obstacles with their innovative and caring form of leading. Uncertainty is inevitable, but leadership takes time.