Participants in The Castell Project, like Garrison Investment Group executive Kelsey Bodenstab, are nominated by people they work with.

The Castell Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the careers of women professionals in the hospitality industry, is accepting nominations for its 2019 Castell Leadership Program. This will be the third year for the program begun by hotel industry expert and Highland Group founder Peggy Berg.

Participants are nominated by a “champion” from their firm and must also submit an application/registration sheet. The applicants’ material is reviewed and they are interviewed for acceptance. They must be women in the hospitality industry, and they can come from any part of that industry.

“With each cohort, we have refined the Castell program to build the strengths women need to advance,” Berg said. “While women are 53 percent of the hotel industry workforce, we are drastically underrepresented in the c-suite and on the speaker’s dais.  We are committed to changing the paradigm and are confident today’s dynamic rising business women will transform the industry.  The Castell Program exists to provide the tools and resources to make it happen.”

Kelsey Bodenstab, vice president for real estate acquisitions at Garrison Investment Group in New York City, participated in the 2018 round of the project after being nominated by Mary Beth Cutshall with Hospitality Ventures Management Group who is on the Castell Project Board of Directors.

“Mary Beth and I have worked together on several hotel deals and kept in touch over the years. As an industry veteran, she has been a great mentor and role model,” Bodenstab said.

She found the Castell Project workshop empowering and she developed a strong camaraderie with her fellow participants as they covered topics like personal branding, negotiation and career planning.

“My key takeaway was the importance of women lifting each other up and supporting one another. After completing the program, I felt inspired to pay it forward so I coordinated a ‘Women in Real Estate’ event for students at my alma mater, Lehigh University,” she said.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, Bodenstab said.

“The main goal is to encourage young women to join the school’s real estate program and consider pursuing a career in the industry. The event will provide a platform for students to hear 10 female alumni discuss their experiences in commercial real estate and the different types of jobs available within the industry.”

The Third Annual Castell Leadership Program workshop runs April 29 through May 1, 2019. The one-year program sequence includes an individual career plan, an assessment, workshops, executive coaching, and membership in the Women in Lodging Leadership Network.