Business Women’s Day
September 22, 2015
Today marks American Business Women’s Day, a day of recognition for the millions of women who have achieved or are striving for greatness in the U.S. work force. It’s a day to reflect upon their contributions and accomplishments, and with that we’d like to honor Allie Hope, Head of Development for Virgin Hotels. Allie has been a vital member of the Virgin Hotels Head Office Team for almost five years, driving development deals for our Chicago property and future ones in Nashville, New York and Dallas, with many others on the horizon. We sat down with Allie to talk about women in business and how she balances life, family and her demanding job.
What woman do you look up to as a business leader?
I have tremendous respect and admiration for Jacqueline Novogratz [of Acumen]. She was born to be an entrepreneur and change the world, and through Acumen she has done this. She’s greatly contributed to improving global poverty through entrepreneurial approaches across the globe, and I aspire to do something similar someday and bring a resolution to a global problem.
And another close friend, Jessica Johnson was a mother of 3 (now 4!) before starting Mommy Chic by Jessica Johnson. She has always had a deep interest in fashion and kept kicking the tires until she was inspired to create Mommy Chic. She now has created a clothing line based on her need for comfortable, fashionable and affordable pre and post pregnancy clothes. (one of my favorite pieces in my closest is MCBJ!)
These women are authentic to their self, and remain quite feminine as they take on business, sometimes in male dominated industries. They’ve got the guts to achieve lifelong passions, and remain true to their core, and rock the family life as well.
What’s the key to working as a small team with large responsibilities?
The key is to build a team you can trust, has talent, loves what they do, and provide a platform for them to succeed. Fortunately Virgin is full of passion. Each team member is held to a high standard and empowered to impact the outcomes of their efforts. It’s a very effective way of working these days and really centers around trust. My goal is to convey that trust is the most important, then self-starter, independent thinkers, but team players are key.
I also stress constant communication; holding frequent meetings where the group is updated on everyone’s responsibilities and projects, and is able to [reach out] when they need support. Nobody should be working in a silo.
It’s also key to the success of the business to keep a list of trusted consultants that can jump in and support us when the work load is too heavy or we can’t afford to slow down. We’re not afraid to raise our hands when we need help and this is something I stress to my team.
What’s your favorite motivational quote?
Attitude is Everything – My Mom [Debbie Ellison Hope] – This gives me hope that with the right attitude, anything is possible.
How do you stay balanced while traveling for work? What tips and tricks can you give to the fellow road warrior?
My husband and I sit down on Sunday and go over our calendars. We plan for work travel, fill gaps with fun events, talk about projects we want to accomplish, upcoming family events, and discuss who is responsible for following-up on what.
Other than managing calendars, here are a few of my staples:
- Eat healthy, lots of veggies and I always have Somersault snacks in my bag. Best mix of something delicious but I feel great after eating them.
- I always bring my Nano Pak vitamins, take them morning and evening.
- When planning travel I book the closest lifestyle hotel to my meetings. This allows me to walk to them.
- I schedule meetings with my meals and stick to tequila and soda, clean and hydrating.
- Pack efficiently. I use Trish McEvoy makeup binder. It is amazing and holds everything I need. This way I can keep one set of makeup, brushes, etc and pack it in a minute.