Nicole Chapman, FRLA Northeast Florida Regional Director and Florida Inns Director
SHOWING OTHER WOMEN – AND HER DAUGHTER – THAT IT CAN BE DONE!
Nicole Chapman has always known she wanted to work in events and hospitality. She majored in Tourism and Event Management at the University of Florida and has been in the industry ever since. She interned with the City of Jacksonville Beach, planning their summer events and was hooked. As she thought about her future, she loved engaging with others, public relations, and planning events. Sounds like the perfect fit for our industry!
Nicole worked first with her local Hotel Association and helped lead their merger with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) and became Regional Director for the Northeast Florida Chapter. Since taking on that role, she has also created the Florida Inns Chapter by merging Florida Bed & Breakfast Inns and the Superior Small Lodging Associations into FRLA to create the first statewide special interest chapter that represents small independent lodging business who have under 50 rooms.
As a young woman joining a male-heavy industry, she notes that confidence in her abilities and hard work were both key to her success. “You can’t be intimidated,” she says. She credits many professional leaders – both male and female – who believed in her, saw her talent, and helped her to grow.
She works tirelessly to promote her local FRLA members and connect them with the latest news, resources, and updates to keep their businesses thriving. COVID shuttered so many businesses in Florida – and across the nation – and Nicole was determined to advocate for Northeast Florida businesses.
Becoming a mother helped her to see her work from another important perspective – her children. Women in the workforce often struggle with the appropriate balance between family, work, and self. The hours in hospitality not being the typical 9-5 job can present significant challenges. Nicole shares a saying she once heard that is her daily motto: “There are days you will be an amazing employee, an amazing mother, and an amazing wife, but you won’t be all three in one day.” This helps her to show grace to herself as she continues to push hard to do her very best. On being a female leader in hospitality, she says, “You have to take initiative, own projects, have that entrepreneurial spirit. You have to push hard, and you have to really want it.”
Her goal is to show other women that it can be done. Hospitality is the top industry in Florida – responsible for so much economic health for the state and millions of jobs. And while she loves her work, she tells us, “At the end of the day, I want to show my daughter and future generations that there is opportunity out there if you work hard. You can have a successful job and be a mother and make a difference in the community.”
CLOSING QUESTION: What piece of advice would you give to women coming up in hospitality?
“Do your job and do it well. Apply your values to your work life as well. There is room for all of us at the table, and if you work hard and do the right thing, good things will come.”