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Blog Article

Daring To Be Great: Leadership Insights With Heather Popp

Nov 26, 2021

Heather Popp Director of Revenue Management, Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort

Describe your professional development path at Davidson – how did you get to where you are?

Approximately 15 years ago, I stumbled into Revenue Management by way of Front Office and Event Management. I always wondered “who were these people tell us what rates we could quote.” For me, I wanted to understand how they got to the numbers they did. Since then, I have moved from Portland, OR to Washington DC to South Florida, and two tours in Arizona; all under the Revenue Management discipline. Starting my career with Marriott International and making a small detour with independent hotels…Almost 9 years ago, I started with Davidson Hospitality Group: it was like coming home! This company feels like family to me and has allowed me to nurture and grow into the leader I am today.

What do you love most about being a leader?

Creating value for the organization and other associates. I love the feeling of success as a result of leadership decisions my teams make, including watching associates flourish into strong, well-informed leaders themselves.

What is your management philosophy?

Collaborative. One team, one dream is always a pathway to total hotel success.

What inspires you to be great?

Since a young age, I was a competitive athlete and it was instilled in me to be driven and do your best…not only for yourself, but for the betterment of the team. As I have matured, that has evolved into inspiring to be great in the hotel industry, I have grown to love. Now a parent, I want my children to see me giving my best. My favorite quote is from a fellow (native) Oregonian, “to give anything less than your best is a sacrifice of gift” (Steve Prefontaine; Olympian) and this quote has laid the ground work to inspire me throughout the years to live by.

How do you inspire team members? (Give us examples!)

Communication: positive tone, enthusiasm, and words of affirmation are all very vital functions of inspiring others. As a Director of Revenue Management, I am able to successfully motivate and cultivate team members through using these values. This holds true with team members also recognizing your willingness to hear them, empathized with them, and provide feedback. Inspiring others does not always have to be “beams of sunshine”; inspiring others can also be the way you provide constructive feedback to guide that team member to grow on the path to success.

What advice/tips resonated with you most from mentors throughout your career?

Two of the best pieces of advice & quotes I have received over the years was from one of my mentors and former General Manager turned SVP with Marriott International (Janis Milham): “Be the one that you would want in the trenches with you!” and “Head down and plow through!” Sometimes, when things get hard, I remind myself of these quotes to persevere…especially this past 12 months!

What is the most pressing challenge you’ve faced and resolved recently?

2020 is a year none of us will forget. Its wrath is something that impacted our associates personally and professional on so many different levels. More so than ever before, there have been many times that I needed to counsel other team members and provide support to resolve concerns either related to our business or on items outside our hotel doors. Being a leader is more than spearheading items in the conference room; it is also about maintaining headship even once you close your office door. Associates remember who has been in their corner; and that is how you build, mold, and hold on to good team members.

Anything else you want to add?

Through the highs and lows, I am very grateful that I was given the opportunity to continue to work and support the organization to the best of my ability. I am thankful for all the mentors within the Davidson Family and am very honored to be nominated.