Heather Mavros, marketing and administrative director for Atlanta-based John Hardy Group, was in the inaugural class for The Castell Project that mentors mid-career female hospitality executives .

IN MARCH, 25 female hospitality executives became the inaugural class of The Castell Project, a not-for-profit group dedicated to mentoring its participants in order to further their careers. Heather Mavros, marketing and administrative director for Atlanta-based John Hardy Group, was one of them.

“It was awesome!” Mavros said. “I think it was particularly wonderful to be able to meet a lot of women who are coming up in the industry as well as people who have been successful.”

Now the Castell Project is accepting nominations for its for 2018 Castell Leadership Program in Atlanta. The candidates are first nominated by their employers as “champions”, just as John Hardy selected Mavros. The idea for the program began with Highland Group founder Peggy Berg, who noticed a dearth of women at the many conventions she attended for the industry.

Its inaugural year was a success, Berg said. “We have laid the foundations of a very powerful professional women’s network that provides both educational and supportive outlets for participants.”

The year-long program involves a workshop, scheduled this year for Feb. 7-9, as well as an individual career plan, Checkpoint 360 assessment, more workshops, executive coaching, Five-WILL (Women in Lodging Leadership Network) cohort sessions and membership in WILL.

“It seems like it’s going to be very promising for my career,” Mavros said.

Mavros said the Castell Project’s negotiations workshop was particularly instructive. “This negotiation workshop totally changed how I look at conversations,” she said.

The Castell Project served as a platform for meeting like-minded professional women, said Nala Holmes, vice president for business development and acquisitions at the Pyramid Hotel Group. She was nominated by partner and chief investment officer of Pyramid Hotel Group, Warren Fields.

It provided its members with resources, webinars and group calls to meet all of their needs, she said.

“Each opportunity afforded by the Castell program, whether an executive coaching call or peer conversation, has helped me build greater awareness, develop a stronger personal brand, and add value to my company,” Holmes said.

Interested participants must complete and submit a Champion’s Nomination Form and an application/registration sheet, available on the Castell Project website.  Potential candidates will be contacted and interviewed prior to a final decision.