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Event and Meeting Innovator: Reina Herschdorfer

Women Innovators Event Industry

Reina HerschdorferHaving been in the hospitality industry and the meeting industry, I have always worked predominantly with women. Women have so much to bring to a team and an organization. I believe strongly that you should have a diverse team with different perspectives. You get better ideas and it’s more interesting. 

This is probably because I have lived in five countries and have worked with many different nationalities. Everyone has a point of view and brings something to a team. I’ve worked in the meeting industry for more than 20 years, and there have been many moments that have left an impression on me. 

I am from the Netherlands and moved to the U.S. at 13. I was in my third country and did not speak English. I went from being on top to starting over again. This forced me to be strong and determined. It has broadened my perspective. Since then I have worked in the meeting industry all around the world. I love this industry. Meeting planners are some of the most widely traveled people who have so many interesting experiences to share. Travel helps you grow and change the world. 

Being the only woman in the room was commonplace not too long ago and in some cases is still common. It would be fair to say that men are judged by their potential and women are judged by their experience. From my point of view, I’ve noticed that men are very good at supporting each other. Women have come a long way in supporting each other, but we can still improve. We are stronger united.

I am proud to be a part of Caesars Entertainment because my company has developed a caring culture. Not only are we one of the largest gaming companies, but we are at the forefront of many initiatives involving corporate citizenship, equality and giving back to the community. Our company has countless programs supporting corporate social responsibility, equality and employee development.

Personally, I have had the opportunity to be involved with the Lean-In program, developed by Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, an initiative that Caesars Entertainment has embraced. Her goal in creating this program was to see more women reach top tiers in the workplace. Caesars Entertainment launched their own Lean-In circles in 2013. Lean-In circles are peer-to-peer groups for female leaders, designed to provide support in professional and personal development. My Lean-In circle consists of seven women from across the U.S. in various roles throughout my company. We meet monthly—virtually and face-to-face—and discuss all types of topics: our jobs, our teams, our goals, our struggles and day-to-day happenings. We listen to each other, support each other, offer advice, help each other with challenges and provide solutions. We help each other move forward and become more successful as individuals and, subsequently, as a company.

Another program I am involved in is Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a professional development program aimed at developing public speaking skills. Public speaking is a valuable skill for anyone. I have written and delivered speeches, and I developed my skills as my group members critiqued me. I became aware of nervous habits, weird gestures and unfavorable cues. Over time, I became a more confident speaker, developed ideas more clearly and learned how to deliver a more effective message. How you are perceived is important and you want to be viewed as confident, collaborative and forward-thinking. Toastmasters is a fantastic group to be involved in.

Recently, Caesars Entertainment launched a partnership with the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative (BJKLI). Our company is committed to achieving gender equality among its leadership ranks by 2025. Caesars Entertainment will work with BJKLI to ensure workplace fairness and continue to foster an environment that promotes diversity and inclusion. In doing this, we will create an Equality Council comprised of employees and external experts who will be implementing unconscious bias training across all management teams and conducting surveys broadly across the company about diversity and inclusion. This is important to me and to the future of the workplace.

While at a conference years ago, I once heard a speaker say, “Successful people ask for help.” That statement has resonated with me. I have been fortunate to be involved in many amazing programs, such as the Lean-In circle and Toastmasters, where I’ve been able to ask for help and been able to grow.

Conclusion

If I could provide any advice, it would be to be a team player, work hard and take initiative. You should be clear about your goals and develop a plan that you execute. Make sure others know what you are working towards so that you can be held accountable and supported. Be assertive and pursue your dreams. I encourage everyone to get involved, ask for help, learn and grow.


About the Author

Reina Herschdorfer - Caesars Entertainment
Reina Herschdorfer

Reina Herschdorfer is director of marketing for national meetings and events for Caesars Entertainment. She is responsible for the marketing strategy for the $400 million meetings business for Caesars Entertainment and brings more than 20 years of international meeting industry and hospitality experience.