Paula Drummond, the Director of Sales & Marketing at the Hyatt Place TCU, is a woman at the top of her game in the hospitality industry. Drummond, who grew up in Fort Worth, has a degree in Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences with a focus on Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of North Texas.
After stints in different properties in Dallas and North Texas, she came back to Fort Worth, first with the Omni Hotel as their national sales manager, and now at the Hyatt Place Fort Worth/TCU. We sat down with Paula to ask her about the hotel she works in and what it's like to be a Black woman in the hospitality industry.
Tell us about the Hyatt Place Fort Worth/TCU.
We’re the new kids on the “Lot” with unique amenities. Working at the Omni Hotel was a great experience and one I will always hold dear, everyone there feels like family. Which made it a tough decision when I was approached with this opportunity. But this was something I could not pass up. The property opened during Snowmageddon last February. I’ve been here since August, and it’s not like any other Hyatt Place property anywhere. We’re a Hyatt Place on steroids!
So it’s a hotel located near TCU but it’s also convenient to the Cultural District and Will Rogers arena, too.
We’re located less than five miles from many different local attractions, such as Dickies Arena, Will Rogers, Fort Worth Zoo and many more. Fort Worth is a large city with a small-town feel, so essentially most main attractions are easily accessible from our hotel.
Unusually, you have several bars, including one of the largest rooftop bars in town.
Our chef brings a great amount of expertise to the restaurant. You’re not just getting an average here. The quality of the product is something I’m proud of.
Given that you’re a Mean Green alumna now spending a lot of time near TCU, have you come to appreciate Purple on Fridays?
You definitely catch the Purple Fever here (laughs). Many of our clients are parents of TCU students. We’re partnering with TCU students to feature some of them as musical entertainment for different areas in the hotel. We’re also opening the Frog Bar, which will be a bar near the pool this spring.
Although the hotel industry is overwhelmingly staffed by women, especially women of color, there are very few women in management and director roles. According to a national survey, one in six hotel employees are Black, but only about one in 50 employees in managerial roles are Black.
While it’s true that many general managers are men, I’m working with the only female GM here, which is nice. Black people are exposed to the hotel industry at the front desk level, but may not be given exposure to management and sales.
Do you feel that things are getting better in terms of equity in the higher-paying, career-ladder jobs in hotels?
I have seen more people who look like me – there’s been an increase in the number of Black women in management over the past few years. But there’s definitely room for improvement.
What are some concrete steps that can be taken to expose talented people to management jobs?
I feel that it’s my job to look for, mentor, and guide people with talent. I have a couple of female role models in my life who are in leadership roles who have given me great advice. So I want to give back to those on their way up.
What career advice do you have for anyone interested in the sales or management side of the hotel industry?
I’ve been in the industry for 20 years and I’m still learning. I would tell anyone to be open to learning all aspects of the hotel industry. Don’t ever say “that’s not my job.” Be ready to adjust and change and be open to possibilities.
What do you like best about Fort Worth?
There are a lot of neat little businesses and you have boutiques and restaurants that aren’t chains, which are unique to the community. It’s definitely a city with culture.
Plan your next trip to Fort Worth and book your stay at the Hyatt Place TCU.