At Atlanta hotels, more general managers are women
The number of women becoming general managers of Atlanta hotels is growing rapidly, those among its ranks say, and the metro area may be a leader in gender diversity in the industry. More than 25 of the metro area’s top lodges are run by women — from Tracy Johnson at the Holiday Inn Gwinnett to Erica Qualls at the Marriott Marquis, Atlanta’s largest hotel at more than 1,600 rooms. And more are coming. Danni Williams, who started her career with Marriott Corp. in 1981, was named general manager earlier this week at the Renaissance Hotel downtown. Valerie Ferguson, a former general manager of the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta, is coming back to the city to become head of the Loews Hotel in Midtown, which is slated to open in spring 2010. That’s a contrast to years past when the position was almost exclusively filled by men, industry leaders said. The long hours — general managers usually work 15 hour days and often on weekends — were not considered “family friendly” for women.