Getting to Know Anna MacDiarmid – Women’s History Month

Anna MacDiarmid, General Manager, W Fort Lauderdale

Tell me a little bit about your background personally and professionally.

I have loved dedicating the last 35-plus years to the hospitality industry through the Starwood & Marriott brands. I began my career in my hometown at The Westin Winnipeg in Canada and later moved to Toronto to work at The Westin Toronto, a 1,000-plus room property, where I served as Director of Food and Beverages, Director of Operations, and ultimately General Manager.

From there, I joined W Hotels where I was General Manager at three New York Properties, including W Times Square and W Hoboken, where I managed the property through its opening and helped lead it to win Hotel of the Year two times. I also worked at the brand’s original W property – W New York.

Since coming to W Fort Lauderdale as General Manager in 2015, we have worked to re-establish this world-class property, and I am so proud of our accomplishments here! In my personal time, I get a great deal of fulfillment from volunteering for causes close to my heart like Covenant House and Children’s Miracle Network.

How did you get into hospitality? 

I started in the hotel industry at a very young age and absolutely loved the business. Every day is different and no matter what position I was in, I was able to make a positive impact on my team and my customers.

What qualities make a great female leader?

Humility and confidence. Being motivated and celebrating other women’s successes. Make sure to teach and mentor and also be true to yourself.

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

Women’s History Month is an opportunity to remind us of the accomplishments of women throughout history to our culture and society. It’s a chance to reflect on the trailblazing women who lead the way for change.

Why is it important for more women to be recognized in leadership roles?

Having more female leaders changes the perceived conception about who can lead and what qualities are necessary in a leadership position.

What piece of advice would you give to women coming up in hospitality?

Be yourself. Never let anyone take your joy or passion away – both in business and your personal journey.

What professional, personal or community service driven accomplishments are you proud of?

While General Manager of W Fort Lauderdale in 2015, I oversaw a multi-year, $60 million renovation and our hotel has achieved numerous awards and recognition, including being named a Top 10 Best Hotel in Florida by U.S. News & World Report. I am honored to have been nominated for General Manager of the Year and love being active in my community. I was recently named a Smart Meetings’ 2021 Hall of Fame honoree after being recognized for their “Women Who Inspire Us” awards over multiple years. I think it’s important to remain active in your profession and community. I currently serve as Chair of the Fort Lauderdale Beach Business Improvement District (BID), Chair for my Chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA), member of Marriott’s General Managers of Americas Committee (GMAC), and as the Chair of Marriott’s South Florida Business Council.

How did being a woman affect your professional path/path to leadership?

I feel that I was able to take on all challenges that were presented to me and never sat back. I always took the front row seat. I never focused too much on titles and levels but instead focused on my personal growth. It’s important to realize that there is no superwoman. We set such unrealistic bars for ourselves. Be kind to yourself. It’s fine that things aren’t perfect. Don’t try and have it all. Just do your best!

I feel that it is important to help young women in business. At each of my properties over the years, I have spearheaded Young Women in Leadership groups to help coach young female talent who are up and coming in our industry.

How do women positively impact Florida’s hospitality industry?

Women provide career opportunities for women from all walks of life. Their leadership and guidance help strengthen our up-and-coming young female leaders through their experiences and mentorship.

Why is it important for more women to be recognized in leadership roles?

Women leaders bring skills, different perspectives, and innovative ideas to the table, which help create new perspectives that lead to better decision-making as a whole for the business.