The meetings and hospitality industry is dominated by women, but peek into any corporate suite and you're more likely to find a man behind the desk. Despite progress, the glass ceiling -- the invisible barrier that blocks women from the top jobs -- still exists. But according to industry insiders, things are slowly improving.
Although many women rise and stall on their way to the top, that is not the case at Caesars Entertainment. Fifty percent of its employees and 44 percent of its manager level employees are women, a metric that is significantly higher than the national average of 38 percent. But that isn't good enough for Caesars: The company has set a goal to have 50 percent of employees manager-level and higher be minorities or women by 2030.
This May, 30-year-old Martha Morales was named general manager (GM) of Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace, the youngest Nobu general manager and the fourth woman GM out of six in the chain, where she oversees a staff of 400.
Born in Mexico, Morales migrated to the United States with her parents at the age of three. As a 16-year-old, she got a job at Circus Circus as a ride operator.
"I sat in the employee dining room admiring the front desk agents and couldn't wait to become one myself," she says.
A full scholarship to UNLV helped her earn a degree in hospitality management and upon graduation she landed a job with Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino. The Epicurean Charitable Foundation, a non-profit that helps inner city youth land hotel jobs in Las Vegas, helped her, and now she helps the foundation as a member of its board. She also sits on the board for the Nevada Caesars Entertainment Hispanic Business Resource group, Vision in Action.
Last year, Morales received the Caesars Award of Excellence for Diversity.
"I strategically pick people to be on my team who have diverse backgrounds be that their culture, age, sex, and upbringing," she says. "As director of hotel operations at Caesars Palace, I had all women leaders but one at the front desk, something I am extremely proud of. It's important to have diversity here, as it's the first interaction your guests who come from all over the world will have."
Watch the video below as Morales discusses the importance of diversity.