Sarah Robbins

Sarah Robbins

Chief Operating Officer of 21c Museum Hotels

I am continually motivated to coach others to be their best. Plus, I love to eat and drink…and I love the numbers. I can’t think of another business that would check all these boxes!

One of the most memorable moments in my career is happening right now. It will probably be years before any of us will gain perspective on the current COVID-19 situation. What I do know is this: deep belly breaths are helpful right before you deliver heartbreaking news to your team that is out of anyone’s control; leaning on and supporting your industry friends is vital (so make sure you have some for when the sh*t hits the fan), and keep going. You are stronger than you think.
While working under Susan Seiller at Jack Fry’s, in Louisville, as a busser for Sunday brunch my sophomore year of high school, I learned there was a school (Cornell Hotel School) where I could learn the business behind the hands-on training I was getting. I was hooked and never looked back. I loved every minute of that program.
A few skills that I think are key to your success are: creativity, a good head for numbers, patience, organization skills and a true desire to coach others.
I find it easier to inspire others when I, myself, am inspired. I purposely look outside our industry for inspiration…podcasts, TED talks, novels, leadership books, walking around cities, and hikes. It is refreshing to hear and see perspectives from outside our industry; I will naturally make the connection back to what we do and be able to apply and share with our team. That said, there are plenty of opportunities within our industry. Zingerman’s ZingTrain (seminars + books), the FAB Conference, the Welcome Conference (videos online!) and the newly formed Independent Restaurant Coalition are all fantastic, to name a few. Plus, Culinary Agents Career Timelines, obv!
When hiring, I look for a natural curiosity, a willingness to listen and learn, confidence to make one’s voice heard and a desire to please.
I cannot do my job without my calendar (and the planning that goes into filling it). Plan the work; work the plan. Feed the beast. It’s in charge, not me.
Frequent exercise is very important; it helps clear the cobwebs and gives me much needed energy and endurance.
The Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry (Eleventh Revised Edition)…aka the purple book. Unless the numbers are good, how can you use them to make your job easier?

Disclaimer: Individuals featured in the Inspirational Career Timelines section have been nominated by peers, colleagues and/or other members of the hospitality industry. It is to the best of our knowledge that each individual has demonstrated leadership and acted as a positive role model for others.

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