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At First Hospitality Group, one of the first concepts that we are all taught is the art of stepping outside of our comfort zones. VP of People Services, Mary Pat Knight, has driven this lesson home again and again in leadership training – as leaders, we have to challenge ourselves. We take risks to achieve greater results, which mean that we can’t be afraid of setbacks or failure.

Last week, Chairman, Stephen Schwartz, and President & CEO, Bob Habeeb, illustrated that stepping outside of one’s comfort zone happens at even the highest levels of leadership. As a company, we launched our first ever video conference to over 1,000 employees in the home office and field. It was incredible to be a part of a new chapter for First Hospitality Group, as we saw and heard our leaders share an updated strategic vision and the key metrics that will be instrumental in reaching our goals.

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Like Mr. Schwartz and Habeeb, ringing in this new era of change will require us all to step away from the comfortable and familiar. We will need to challenge ourselves to find new ways to retain and develop our associates, elevate the guest experience, and drive profits and STR yield position for our investors.

All of you out in the field know this concept well, whether consciously or not. Every day, you take risks and try new things – you introduce an alternative way of resolving a problem and you roll out different programs to better engage or motivate. Let’s face it, sometimes you make mistakes, face challenges, and find yourself in a bit of chaos. So, why do you continue to move forward? Because the risk is worth the reward. Eventually, you know that you and your team will pull together and get the job done.

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Our leadership team faced our fair share of challenges in bringing this video conference to fruition. Organizing and connecting hundreds of people across nine different states is no simple task and we faced some hiccups. It would have been easy to cancel or postpone at the first sign of trouble (or the second or the third), but we pulled together and we made it work. Of course, there are opportunities to improve upon in the future, but in order to make an impact, we had to execute our plan and take a risk.

As we work to achieve our new company-wide goals, I encourage you all to remember that the only way to innovate and grow is to step out of your comfort zone. Though it can seem intimidating, know that you are surrounded by a support system that has your back. You may stumble when traveling a new and unfamiliar path, but Team FHG will always be there to catch you if you do, and the view and sense of accomplishments along your journey will be that much more incredible.

Big kudos offered to our Chairman and our CEO for modeling risk taking, grace under pressure and the power of a unified message for all of us at First Hospitality Group.


“Planning is the open road to your destination.  If you don’t know where you are going, how can you expect to get there?”  –  Basil S. Walsh

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