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Dos and Don'ts: How To Use Your Girl Power In Corporate Culture

/ Posted by Zahrah Grant

Originally published by Forbes Woman: 

There’s no shortage of women entering the travel industry — but men dominate when it comes to senior management, especially in the hotel industry. According to a 2015 white paper produced by the Hospitality Industry Pipeline Coalition, women hold less than 40 percent of all managerial positions in hospitality, less than 20 percent of general management roles and just 5 to 8 percent of board positions.

Ritz-Carlton aims to change that: the hotel company is putting an emphasis on equal opportunities for women, in alignment with the UN’s goal for equality in the workplace by 2030. Through Community Footprints — its corporate social responsibility arm —  Ritz-Carlton has announced a mission to promote the rise of female employees into management positions by encouraging mentorship and other positive reinforcement.

The goal: “keeping women inspired to not only enter the workforce but to remain in the workforce and to then progress into opportunities for leadership,” says Nicki Allen, manager of Community Footprints.

One Ritz-Carlton employee whose career is being fostered as a result is Laura Salles — the perfect example of girl power in action. The 24-year-old was recently named manager of international and domestic communications at the Hotel Arts Barcelona, a Ritz-Carlton property in Spain. After starting in 2013 as a trainee at the front desk, Salles has had a meteoric rise through the ranks — from pool supervisor to club lounge manager to her current role as public relations manager, which involves overseeing the property’s image and traveling around the globe to promote the property

“As a little girl, I knew that I wanted to travel the world,” says the Brazil-born Salles, who grew up going on business trips with her mother, the owner of a travel agency in São Paulo. Working with Ritz-Carlton, Salles says that she has consistently been encouraged and mentored within her various roles. “Ritz-Carlton’s philosophy is that young people can bring motivation that moves the hotel,” says Salles, who points out that much of the staff at the Hotel Arts Barcelona is under 30. “Many of today’s interns will be future general managers.”

Salles, who wants to eventually become a general manager herself, wants to encourage other young women to pursue and follow their dreams, too. And yet, she recognizes there are unique challenges to navigating corporate culture, especially as a woman.  This go-getter reveals the top dos and don’ts that have helped her achieve her career goals — and that other young women can follow, too.


1. Build genuine relationships.

The corporate world changes so fast that your employee or colleague of today can become your leader of tomorrow, so build relations at work. Besides making your work environment more fun, this will cultivate good future connections.

2. Ask for responsibility, and believe in yourself.

During your career, not everyone will believe you should be promoted and might have thoughts like: “She is too young, she doesn’t have enough experience.” No matter how young you are, you need to demonstrate your capabilities by projecting confidence, and give your leader confidence to entrust you with new opportunities. Most importantly, believe in yourself and others will believe in you, as well.

3. Focus on balance: Cultivate a personal life, in addition to prioritizing work responsibilities.

Your personal life is as important as your professional life. You don’t want to look back with regret in a few years, saying: “I did not live in my 20’s.” You can work hard, but you can also play hard. Having friends and social life after work is vital. With breaks and fun time off, you’ll come back to work with even more creativity.

4. Maintain a positive attitude.

Young people are naturally positive, so play this up. Energy is contagious, as is empathy; you can impact your work environment and connect with your colleagues by behaving as you’d want others to behave.

5. Smile — always.

This simple act will help you in every interaction with others. Be approachable. Remember that this is an exciting journey, and there are endless opportunities to learn and grow.


1. Don’t compare yourself with others.

Everyone has a different career and life. You are not better or worse than anyone — you are YOU. And that should be your point.

2. Don’t forget to breathe.

Allowing insecurity, anxiety or emotions to hold you back from accomplishment is you hampering your own potential.

3. Don’t talk too much; listen more.

Understand that many people have experienced more than you have. So give a chance to listen before you impose what you think. This is particularly important when you are young and starting out.

4. Don’t mix your private and professional life.

Everyone has personal problems but you need to try to control them when you are at work. Don’t let your emotions dominate you. You don’t want to transmit an immature or uncontrolled image.

5. Don’t take no as a stop sign.

Don’t get tired, don’t give up. “No” should be gasoline for you to continue and work hard to finally get to “yes” (opportunity). You will achieve your objectives when you strategically plan them. Running without a clear destination will not drive you anywhere.

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