Nancy Johnson’s career in hospitality spans more than 40 years, the last 25 of which were in executive roles with Carlson that include heading up the brands Country Inn & Suites™ and Radisson Hotels International. Nancy served as Chair of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) in 2012, and initiated AH&LA’s Women in Lodging Council. Nancy is recognized by many as a spokesperson for the industry, she has participated in a variety of speaking engagements, panels, and leadership programs internationally.
Nancy practically grew up in the hotel industry. By the age of 21, she was married and divorced with two small children. Since her top priority was being home with her children during the day, she took a night job as a cocktail waitress at a full service hotel. She knew she could make more money as a bartender, but the owner of the hotel told her “women don’t bartend,” so she made the tough choice to leave the hotel and started bartending at an independent bar. Within a month, the owner of the hotel realized he was losing business, so he offered her a bartending position. She was eventually promoted to front desk clerk, then Banquet Manager, and finally assistant General Manager. This was Nancy’s first leadership experience.
Nancy then worked for a construction company as a hotel specialist and stayed on through the construction of 48 new hotels. This position provided a lot of great opportunities for her, and she continued to hone her skills by taking blueprint, marketing, and real estate courses. Nancy worked for McDonalds and learned planned unit development. This lead her to become involved in local government. What Nancy loves about this industry is that there have always been many choices. However, the bottom line is always to be of SERVICE.
Ginny Morrison of Evanston, Illinois, is a 33-year veteran of Spire Hospitality, a hotel management company with a portfolio that spans coast-to-coast. As vice president of sales and marketing, Morrison saw the coronavirus pandemic decimate the meetings business. More than a year later, she’s witnessing a comeback as small-meeting planners are actively booking events for the last half of 2021 and beyond. As public health agencies expand COVID-19 vaccination programs across the U.S. and states ease up on public-gathering restrictions designed to keep the virus at bay, the hotel industry is seeing small meetings begin a comeback. In Episode 317, Long Live Lodging covers the state of the small-meetings sector and how hotels can grab their share of the meetings business during and post-pandemic. This report is part of our ongoing coverage about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the hospitality industry.
The Hunter Hotel Investment Conference will be the industry’s first large event to be held during the coronavirus pandemic. The Atlanta event will be a hybrid format of in-person and virtual access, also an industry first. Lee Hunter, chairman of the conference, knows the level of expectation is high among other conference planners as well as industry professionals eager to network after more than a yearlong hiatus. Episode 316 of Lodging Leaders podcast features Hunter as he tells what it takes to re-launch the industry’s conference circuit amid the COVID-19 outbreak.