Castell Project Forms to Advance Women in Hospitality

ATLANTA—Officials today revealed the formation of Castell Project Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the careers of women professionals in the hospitality industry. The group will host its first Castell Leadership Program in the second quarter of 2017. The two-pronged program delivers essential advancement tools tailored for women and implements a custom career development program to move attendees up the leadership ranks.

“Have you noticed how few women there are in the upper ranks of the hospitality industry, and how many terrific women work in the industry?” asked Peggy Berg, Castell director. “We recently spent a weekend working out how to set these women up for success, and as we talked, it became obvious that the time is right for this. The industry has a large pool of talented women poised to move up and committed industry executives—both men and women—who want more women in leadership. Tools to accelerate women’s careers are available and vetted in other industries, and we are adapting them to hospitality.

“Think about it, 65% of college hospitality programs are women, but only 7% of speakers at top hospitality industry conferences are women. This is an imbalance,” Berg continued. “Our immediate goal is to provide information, skills and networks to help women move up. The industry’s public face has to change if we want millennials to choose this industry as employees or as customers.”

McKinsey Global Institute (2015) and Reuters (2014) report stronger performance in companies with women in leadership positions. Organizations, including the American Bar Association, American Management Association, Intel, Kellogg, Yale and Stanford, use dedicated programs to develop women executives for a wide range of industries. However, most hotel companies lack the resources to offer leadership development of this caliber internally, according to the organization. The Castell Project’s goal is to provide the solution.

The inaugural Castell Leadership Program workshop is May 1-3. The one-year sequence includes an individual career plan, Checkpoint 360 assessment, workshop, executive coaching, Five-WILL (Women in Lodging Leadership Network) cohort sessions and membership in WILL.

“Castell Project actively conducts research to track progress in the industry and continually improve our programs,” Berg noted. The organization has Georgia State University as its academic partner, and is currently fielding an online survey to get a better feel for women’s perceptions of career advancement in hospitality.

Castell Project actively seeks sponsors and champions to send high potential women to the Castell Leadership Program as program participants.