Jodi Cross, Palm Beach County and Treasure Coast Regional Director
Marketing and Mentoring in Florida
Jodi Cross has spent the majority of her career in the hospitality industry. Before joining FRLA as Palm Beach County and Treasure Coast Regional Director in 2017, she was the Corporate Director of Marketing for Sonesta Hotels World-Wide for over a decade. Prior to that role, she was Director of Marketing for Doral Resort and PGA National Resort.
Going further back, Jodi hails from Rochester, New York. She came to Florida first for college in Miami where she studied hospitality management and decided to stay. When she entered the world of hospitality, she joined a very male-dominated atmosphere and served as one of only two women on an executive committee. It felt, at times, that she had to work harder than others, but she prided herself on doing a good job, being creative, and always towing the line with anyone else – man or woman.
In addition to her extensive background in strategic marketing, Jodi had the honor of serving for 10 years as Executive Director for The Commonwealth Institute – a female CEO mentoring non-profit whose mission is to propel women leaders in South Florida to achieve professional and personal success. In that role, she met incredible women colleagues, as well as learned from trailblazers like Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice. She appreciated those experiences and felt that it was important to pass those lessons on. Jodi believes that it is important for more women to be recognized in leadership roles because they are role models that help bootstrap other women as they rise in the ranks. “If they see someone else succeeding, it will inspire them, said Cross.
According to Jodi “Women have a natural gift of hospitality through their attention to detail and sincere desire to make people feel welcome and appreciated.” Female leaders should be genuine. “Be kind, approachable, and relatable, but be candid.” She believes in not sweating the small stuff because it can distract from the larger picture of what you’re trying to accomplish. And she has wise words for women coming up in hospitality: “Stay true to your values. Speak up for yourself and don’t let your voice be silenced.”
Women’s History Month is an opportunity to raise women up – women from all different backgrounds and levels of skills and experience. She loves to see the diversity of women being celebrated. “Despite any differences, we all share common ground. Whether in the struggle of coming up as a woman in the business or just respecting our journey,” states Cross.
Closing Question: Is there a woman from history or your past who you admire and why?
”Without a doubt, Lois Silverman, founder of The Commonwealth Institute. She has an incredible story. She was orphaned as a young child after the death of her parents and was eventually able to receive a scholarship through her orphanage to go to nursing school. From there, she started a home health care business in Boston and eventually became the first woman to take her business public in the State of Massachusetts. She later sold her business and has an extensive history in philanthropy and her work on numerous boards where she is still trailblazing a path for others. As my boss and mentor at the TCI, I learned so much from her passion and her drive and I take her counsel with me each day I serve in Florida’s hospitality industry.”