Women in Hospitality Technology Inspire, Educate and Challenge

Written by: Sherry Marek and Geneva Rinehart

These words — inspire, educate, challenge — define the goal of this year’s Cyber HITEC session, “How Women in Hospitality Technology Shape the Industry.”  The panel members leading this session come from different education, professional and growth paths. Yet, they all speak about passion for hospitality, awareness of the role technology has in profitability and the guest journey, and the challenges they have faced in the past. 

“How Women in Hospitality Technology Shape the Industry” takes place at Cyber HITEC on Thursday, October 29 at 2:45 p.m. EDT (GMT-4). Register early for Cyber HITEC and be sure to add this session to your agenda.

Two of these women, Mercedes De Luca and Yvette Vincent, CHTP, have been deep in the trenches of technology in roles as CIO or CTO. Peggy Berg, CPA, Devon Thiele and Anja Luthje understood early in their careers the value of technology and were quick to adopt technology tools for marketing, finance and advancing the guest journey — thus driving and shaping the use of hospitality technology in their jobs.

The journey and paths through technology varies for each person. HFTP has highlighted women leaders in past issues  of the HITEC Special Report (2014 and 2019). A consensus of women previously polled from those groups felt that gender does not act as a prominent deterrent to professional growth. In addition, those leaders advised our professionals to be open to learning, which provides opportunities to contribute to an organization and grow. Not all women need a computer science degree to advance and understand technology. Having a passion for your work cannot be faked. Embracing technology from the marketing department, HR group, finance or operations can provide career growth at many points.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki shared this important thought: “Life doesn’t always present you with the perfect opportunity at the perfect time. Opportunities come when you least expect them, or when you’re not ready for them. Rarely are opportunities presented to you in the perfect way, in a nice little box with a yellow bow on the top. Opportunities, the good ones, they’re messy and confusing and hard to recognize. They’re risky. They challenge you.”

A networking Hangout session will immediately follow the scheduled Women in Hospitality Technology education session. It is unfortunate to not see each other in person, but we are using Zoom after the live Q&A to allow attendees to connect and start conversations outside of a formal session. We hope to see you there at Cyber HITEC!

About Cyber HITEC: Register early for Cyber HITEC and plan your agenda today. Your registration unlocks access to 35+ education sessions including the Women in Hospitality Technology presentation, 90+ hospitality technology exhibitors, special events and networking opportunities.
It will be live October 27-29 and on-demand through November 25.

 Sherry Marek is co-founder and vice president of Datavision Technologies. She is a passionate advocate of helping our industry make informed and data-enabled decisions to streamline operations. Sherry was featured in the “Women in Hospitality Technology” profiles for the 2014 HITEC Special Report.

Geneva Rinehart is senior vice president and managing editor at Hospitality Upgrade, a publication dedicated to hospitality technology. She was featured in the “Women in Hospitality Technology” special profiles for the 2019 HITEC Special Report. Read an excerpt on HFTP Connect.

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