Lee Allen –
If it were that easy, every woman in the work world would be recognized as tops in their field in Forbes magazine. But it takes an above-and-beyond effort to rise to those lofty ranks – and Linda Cormier, GM of Tubac Golf Resort & Spa, has done so.
With the headline, “These Female GMs Are Changing the Face of Hotel Management,” the publication advises young businesswomen to follow the lead-by-example precepts shown by the three women receiving editorial honors. “Work smart. Work hard,” reads the story. “Our business is 24/7, 365, so it demands lots of effort and hours.”
You’ll get no argument about the hours and effort required to rise to the top. “If you have the passion, the desire, and the spirit to lead, don’t take no for an answer,” said the Tubac GM. “Say out loud what your goal is. Keep following your dreams.”
Cormier arrived in Southern Arizona with more than 30 years of sales and hospitality management experience, having climbed lots of rungs on a number of ladders. “I started in the hospitality business in a front-desk position, moving to sales and then upward into management. One resort owner saw my potential and convinced me I’d make a good leader,” she said.
The obstacles were many. “I was the brunt of some of the inequality the Women’s Rights Movement was fighting against. I wanted to be a bellman, but they would only hire a man for that position. It was the 1960s and 1970s. I got bounced around a bit, taken advantage of because I was female. I received lower wages than my male colleagues and had to prove myself more so than male general managers.
“But I love a challenge and learned to work harder and smarter. In my world, the true task of leadership involves the ability to make change happen.”
Despite her successes as a leader, Cormier feels her inclusion in the Forbes article was serendipitous. “There are many equally qualified women managers in the industry who could have been chosen – so it’s an honor to be selected.”
In her eyes, there are no secrets to good management – just concepts that have proved integral to success. “I lead by example and I don’t give up,” she said. “I’m the type of person that just keeps going no matter what kind of obstacles I encounter. Obstacles don’t get me down. They just challenge me to figure out how to go over, under, around or through them to achieve my goal.
“A basic part of my management philosophy includes a smile. I call it a patch for rough spots on the road because smiles go a long way in helping resolve problems.
“Managers are supposed to take the reins and make the hard decisions and I have no problem doing that. I’ll push back if I feel there is validation, because if a smile helps, so too does a velvet hammer. I’m nice, but I’m no doormat, and sometimes I have to bring the hammer down.”
Cormier also follows the example of her entrepreneur father who was a voice for the worker. “It’s the staff that implements management ideas and I’m always supportive of them, publicly recognizing their efforts and successes. My dad used to tell me, ‘The higher your place, the more humble you should be.’”
Humble, yes, but there are other characteristics of a good manager in her opinion. “Be determined and persistent, do not give up. Maintain a steady course toward a goal. Sometimes you may have to take a path without a roadmap, but remain focused on the goal, keeping a smile on your face – and a hammer to use when needed.”