Rising to the C-Suite: Tips and Lessons to Navigate the Journey


Marina MacDonald, Chief Marketing Officer, Red Roof 

As we celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, it is important to reflect on how support is essential to women overcoming barriers and thriving in the workplace. Companies and colleagues should be committed to giving women the tools they need to manage more effectively and efficiently so they will have the critical skills to manage their businesses, helping them rise in the ranks, and the confidence to invest in themselves and their careers. In order for more women to rise to the C-Suite and assume top level leadership positions the following suggestions, lessons and tips may be helpful. Successful women thrive in the workplace when they have: 

SUPPORTIVE SPOUSES, PARTNERS, FRIENDS: Support outside of the workplace is critical. It is important to have a group of close confidants who are there to help, listen, counsel, encourage and cheerlead. Help in your personal life and knowing there is a robust support system provides peace of mind which helps drive performance. 

SUPPORT FROM SENIOR LEADERSHIP: Making friends and allies at the top of companies and organizations is extremely helpful and women will find that senior executives are great resources and will make time to meet. They  will be able to help navigate difficult situations and share their stories of success and how they made it to the top. Of course senior support also comes from the visibility of volunteering to lead and participate in company-wide high-profile projects. 

SUPPORT FROM A MENTOR: Asking for a mentor or to be part of a mentoring program is always a great idea. Mentors are great listeners and are able to guide, motivate and help navigate tough situations. They serve as sounding boards and become advocates. They have the ability to influence and help shape careers. They are instrumental in the corporate environment. 

EDUCATION AND TRAINING: Sign up for available leadership training courses; training that enhances specific skills broadens horizons. It is imperative to enhance skillsets and be current on all industry innovation. Getting to the C-Suite is all about being ten steps ahead……showing creative and strategic thinking that wows colleagues and supervisors.

Marina MacDonald, Chief Marketing Officer, Red Roof About the Author: As a leader at Red Roof, Chief Marketing Officer Marina MacDonald has been one of the most indispensable senior leaders of the company, leading the charge for transformationand innovation at the brand. MacDonald proposed that the company create and launch the Red Roof Forum on Leadership for Women Entrepreneurs showcasing women in the male dominated hospitality industry: their accomplishments, achievements and insights. In 2020, she was appointed, Chair, the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) Americas Board of Directors, Executive Committee.

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