Happy International Women's Day! While every day is a great day to celebrate the hard-working women within our organization, we thought we'd catch up with a few of our fearless leaders today and rapidly fire off some questions for them to answer.
Collectively they bring 98 years of experience so we couldn't wait to hear what they had to say.
Denise Beckson - Vice President of Human Resources
Number of years with the organization? 36
Who’s your favorite female role model and why? Condoleezza Rice had to overcome great obstacles and challenges in her life and in spite of those, is very accomplished in many arenas: Concert Pianist, accomplished figure skater, scholar, diplomat, etc. She is well spoken and carries herself with grace. I have had the pleasure of meeting her and remain inspired by her intelligence, humor, and perspective.
What type of progress have you seen with women in our industry? I think women have always had an important place in our industry. In my experience, the industry has always been inclusive. That said, in recent years, we are seeing more women in leadership roles. I think work-life balance has been an obstacle for women – believe it or not, we work incredible hours in this industry and it does make prioritizing non-work life difficult at times. Thankfully, there are more resources than ever before as well as different expectations on gender roles. We are fortunate to have Amanda Thompson, (the second-ever female) leading our professional association as Chairman of the Board of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.
Why is it important to include more women in leadership roles? It is important to be inclusive with appointments to leadership positions in order to bring various view points to the conversation. Being collaborative often results in a better product, strategy, direction…. Individual’s perspectives are impacted by their background, gender, race, etc. and varying viewpoints work to strengthen the decision making process and end result.
Merideth Fiorucci - Director of Group Sales
Number of years with the organization? 33
What advice would you give your younger self? In everything you do, from the mundane to major, do it with integrity and you will always be fulfilled.
Who has inspired you and why? My mother is my greatest inspiration. She always believed in me and told me I could accomplish anything I set my mind to.
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions? I believe the most successful managers are servant leaders, putting the well-being of those we have authority over empowers them to flourish and ultimately become star performers.
Celia Rossi - Senior Operations Manager
Number of years with the organization? 26
Who has inspired you and why? I genuinely believe that everyone has something to offer, whether it be a skill, talent, characteristic, or personality trait. I can’t say that there is anyone specific who has inspired me. Rather I am inspired by those who use their skills, talents, characteristics, or personality traits to contribute in a positive way to their family, to their place of employment, or to their community.
What are some traits you think great leaders possess? Without a doubt, I believe that one of the most important traits of a great leader is effective communication, with an emphasis on active listening – listening to understand, not listening to formulate a response.
What are some things you’ve learned along the way that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations? I personally feel that two of the most important skills to focus on when seeking an impactful role in an organization are knowledge and self-awareness. The more you learn, the more you know. The more you know, the more you can contribute in a meaningful way. The more you can contribute in a meaningful way, the more respected your opinion and insight are. The more respected your opinion and insight are, the easier it is to earn a more prominent role in an organization. However, that knowledge can only go so far if you lack the self-awareness to see how your words and actions, with respect to that knowledge, are perceived by others.
Michelle Chambers - Health & Safety Manager
Number of years with the organization? 3
What advice would you give your younger self? Smile more and worry less
Why do we need more women in leadership roles? Many women, especially moms, are fantastic multitaskers and great at handling crisis situations with grace. These are great skills for leaders to have.
What is some of the advice you share with young women entering a male-dominated field? Keep learning, take advantage of continuing education seminars and classes. Being informed will help you build confidence and be a valuable resource to your organization.