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Women Moving the Hospitality Industry Forward: A ForWard Conference Recap

Earlier this month, the Sertifi team attended the 2024 ForWard Conference in Chicago, an event created to celebrate and empower women in the hospitality industry through educational sessions, workshops, and networking to move the hospitality industry forward. 

This year's overarching theme was “Right the Narrative,” encouraging women in attendance to practice taking up space, reshape their reality to fit their professional goals, and stop withholding their own messages to make others more comfortable. 

“ForWard is an investment in yourself,” said conference host and president of the American Hotel & Lodging Foundation, Anna Blue. 

Anna led many discussion panels throughout the event, creating the framework for three days of unapologetic storytelling from speakers and attendees alike to amplify the voices of women and highlight the importance of those voices no matter the context. 

Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable 

Many thought-provoking ideas were shared, including the importance of disruption. Change itself is uncomfortable, so to lead change, disrupters need to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable. When female disruptors experience that discomfort, they have the power to reframe it as strength to disrupt and innovate, evolving the status quo and evoking change. 

Using Failure to Your Advantage  

Another discussion point was how women can use failure to their advantage. “I have learned to look at failure as moving forward,” one panelist shared. “I’ve learned to take risks and fail fast – because if you don’t try, you'll never make progress. Use failure to turn every challenge into an opportunity.” 

Feeling Empowered through Connection 

With a newfound energy, our attendees came back to the office feeling inspired and renewed. Being surrounded by such an impressive group of women from all over the country, representing all corners of the hospitality industry, created an amazing feeling of connectedness and strength.  

In our eyes, the event was nothing shy of a celebration of the collective power of women moving the hotel industry ForWard. A big thank you AHLA Foundation for creating such an impactful event! We are proud to have been included. 


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About the author

Mimi McNulty

Mimi McNulty is a Marketing Generalist at Sertifi. While she makes a point to have a pulse on all things Sertifi, Mimi is responsible for the company's social media channels, event coordination, and blog. She also assists with content creation, creative marketing, content strategy, and internal marketing ventures. Mimi is a communication enthusiast with a passion for storytelling and media relations.