Name: Maggie Houston Stokes
Where are you from and/or what made you move to NYC?
A small town outside Pittsburgh, PA. In a former life, I was a Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Modern Dance. I originally moved to NYC to join a small modern dance company in addition to many side jobs I held to help stay afloat!
What industry are you in and what do you do?
Hospitality – General Manager
Your industry is pretty male dominated – do you think it’s been challenging or inspiring or both to be an anomaly as a female GM?
I would say a bit of both. When junior in my career, I deemed it a bit challenging at times due to insecurities I carried in myself. As I grew in both knowledge as well as confidence, I would now say that I see it as inspiring as I personally feel that women are very well-suited in hospitality management.
Have you seen that change at all over time? Easier now than at the beginning?
Yes. While once it would be a bit rare for a female to seek growth in Operations Management versus Sales, I find myself to be in the company of many fantastic female leaders in our industry these days.
As a woman, what was the biggest challenge you endured during the beginning of your career?
One of the unique aspects of the hospitality industry is that a formal education is not necessarily required. During the beginning of my career, I felt that superiors viewed my degree in Fine Arts as a detractor in that I didn’t attend a formal hospitality program in my undergrad. I, however, have always seen this as advantage as I don’t look at what we do through a typical lens. At the end of the day, a hotel is a 24/7 performance. There is a front of house visible to the guest and a back of house where all the technical magic happens. I’m an expert of crafting a performance and I appreciate that I’ve had a non-traditional education supported by strong mentors who saw the potential in my uniqueness and helped personally foster my potential.
What would you like to see change for women across the world?
Equality. It’s disheartening that women remain underpaid and underpromoted when compared against male counterparts.
Tell us about your journey with Arlo?
I’m an Arlo original. I started before we had a name. I helped open all hotels in New York City and am so proud of having helped contribute to our brand story and our guest journey.
What excites you most about your day-to-day in your job at Arlo?
I love that no two days are alike. I appreciate that there is never monotony and that I get to dig my hands into so many different responsibilities. As a generalist, I am awed by the experts I manage in our various departments and appreciate all our team executes to help the hotel exceed expectation both for our guests, our investors, and, most importantly, our internal family.
What are you most passionate about outside of work?
As a recent wife and dog mom, I’ve become a bit more of a homebody recently. Having grown up in Amish country, I love escaping the big city to the great outdoors as New York does feature bountiful green outside our urban jungle. When not outdoors, I also do still try to support the arts as New York City is an epicenter of all things creative.
Favorite place you have been in the world?
Although I am eager to travel more, I would say the Amalfi Coast. As escaping to nature is a passion, I find this region a paradise as a day of hiking can be concluded with intimate, local dining with a following recovery day enjoyed on a breathtaking beach.
Where will you get on a plane to next?
Anything last min you want to share with our guests as an ARLOcal??
Consider escaping Manhattan for a day. When asking for a recommendation, I really enjoy when guests ask our team members where they (really) love to eat or explore. Most our team members live in the boroughs surrounding Manhattan and there is a whole world of authentic opportunities that are a short train trip away.