Q: How would you describe your job?
I'm the lead strategist, and I'm here to drive results. It's really the filter by which I structure my day, my priorities and decide which meetings I attend. Running a hotel is like being a mayor of a small city, where there all these departments that are in need of my time and attention but I can't devote all my time to anyone, but still need to know enough about what's happening in each area to be dangerous… to be able to know where I can drive results.
Q: What are some fundamental skills or traits of a hotel general manager?
Being highly organized; servant leadership and being strategic are just a few.
Q: What advice would you give young women in the industry who want your job?
Excel at everything you do. There are no shortcuts. In my case I literally just worked my way up by doing every job I could get my hands on because I wanted to make sure that when I became a general manager I had the knowledge. I never wanted to sit with an employee and be discussing a job that I either didn't know how to do, or just didn't know what they're talking about.
Q: What legacy would you like to leave behind?
That I created a culture of excellence in any hotel I've been in.
Crane's BeachHouse Hotel & Tiki Bar, Delray Beach
27 rooms; 22 employees
New Jersey native Balestriere fell in love with Crane's BeachHouse Hotel & Tiki Bar on her first visit. She was immediately struck by the potential of the 27-room hidden treasure in Delray Beach and was surprised that only two rooms were occupied that weekend.
Determined to change that, she contacted the hotel's owner Michael Crane and convinced him she had the skills to turn things around. Ten years later, she's still there and under her leadership, Crane's BeachHouse has achieved and maintained a 72 percent annual occupancy over the period.
Prior to coming to Delray, Balestriere, 41, worked as director of sales for a Holiday Inn in Hollywood, and previously owned and operated a travel agency and professional travel school in New Jersey, which had annual sales of $5 million. When the travel industry took a hit following the 9-11 terrorist attacks, she sold the business and moved to Florida in 2002.
Q: How would you describe your general manager journey?
It's been challenging. I had to be innovative and creative because we had no brand recognition or corporate resources to rely on. We had to know our abilities and recognize the challenges we were working with.
Q: What are some skills or traits necessary to be a hotel general manager?
Being a motivated self starter and team player; being flexible and versatile and maintaining a sense of humor under pressure. You also have to thrive in a deadline type environment.
Q: How do you strike the balance between work and home life?
It helps that I love to come to work every day but even on stressful days, I'm careful not to take work issues home.