For this week’s Woman Wednesday, AY About You sits down with Gretchen Hall, the CEO of the Little Rock Convention & Visitors’ Bureau.
Hall grew up in Sheridan and graduated high school at Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock. She attended Lyon College on a basketball scholarship and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree, majoring in business administration and economics.
“Sports have always played a tremendous role in my life, teaching me invaluable lessons about hard work, dedication, teamwork, coping with loss, leadership skills and much more,” Hall says. “Sports led me to my first job and even helped me get my foot in the door at LRCVB over 19 years ago. Most importantly, sports has given me an opportunity to give back through volunteer coaching, which introduced me to two young ladies that I now call ‘daughters.’”
Some of Hall’s hobbies include coaching basketball, traveling, enjoying time at the lake, and outdoor activities. Hall identifies as a lifelong learner and obtained two professional designations within her field: Certified Destination Management Executive and Certified Meeting Professional. She also co-authored the book 100 Things to do in Little Rock Before You Die – 2nd Edition.
We asked Hall what it means to her to be a woman. “There has been notable progress toward diversifying gender roles in C-suite and leadership positions across multiple industries, however I still find myself being the only woman at many tables,” she says. “Many of us are still in pioneering roles for women. In July of this year I will be named Destination International’s board chair – only the 6th female to hold this position in the organization’s 107-year history. There is still work to be done.
Hall discusses the challenges that she has faced as a woman in her field.
“Implicit bias about ‘traditional’ roles for women still exist,” she says. “Oftentimes I feel women can be judged through a different lens, making us feel we must work harder and take on more tasks than our male counterparts.”
Hall offers a few pieces of advice for the women and girls who might read this article. She outlines that advice below.
- Find something you are truly passionate about. It may take a while to find the right fit but do not get discouraged. There is no longer a “traditional” path to success. And do not be afraid to bet on yourself and create your own path.
- Take initiative on the job. Do not wait to be asked to do something if you see a need.
- Little things in life matter…if you can’t do the little things right, you will never be able to do the big things right. Be attentive to the details because the quality of your work will speak volumes about your future potential.
- Do not let others define who you are and do not let others’ opinions drown out your own.
- Surround yourself with friends and colleagues who will challenge you intellectually. We cannot get comfortable and complacent in a world that changes as rapidly as ours or we will be left behind.