Julie Arrowsmith has had a busy few months at G6 Hospitality. In August, she was promoted to president as well as chief financial officer, then in January she was named the company’s interim CEO after Rob Palleschi stepped down from the position he had held for five years.

“It’s been a whirlwind to be sure. I think that it moved at a faster pace than I thought,” Arrowsmith said.  “I don’t know why I’d be surprised by that because the fast pace of G6 is one of the reasons why I’ve stayed for so long. But it’s been a privilege and I’m just so, so honored to be put in this position.”

Arrowsmith made time to sit down with Asian Hospitality for its third installment of the Leadership Series. She shared her perspective on her plans for the company, the furtherance of women in the industry, franchiser/franchisee relations and more.

Stepping up when she’s needed

Arrowsmith’s appointment to president was an expansion of her CFO duties overseeing all finance and revenue-driving efforts, including the oversight of the revenue management, sales and e-commerce departments. Taking on the CEO position, even in an interim status, marked a high point in her accomplished career with the company.

She has served in various leadership positions at G6 since joining the Carrollton, Texas-based company in 1995. Prior to that, she worked in the audit team at Deloitte. She is a graduate of Texas A&M University where she received a bachelor’s degree in accounting and subsequently earned her CPA license.

“It is a privilege to take on this additional responsibility as we position G6 for continued growth,” said Arrowsmith. “We have an incredibly strong team in place across the organization, and I look forward to continuing our work to support our franchise partners and deliver exceptional value for our guests.”

Rob Harper, head of real estate asset management Americas at Blackstone, which owns G6, said Arrowsmith is well qualified for the interim position.

“There is no one that knows G6 better than Julie, and we are confident the business will see a new level of success under her leadership,” he said.

In her interview with Asian Hospitality, Arrowsmith said G6 is in good condition to face a year of various headwinds.

“I think we’re really positioned perfectly for what’s ahead,” Arrowsmith said. “We went through quite a transition last year, where we were selling off the last of the old hotels, to our franchisees, so we continue to have great network growth. And, but it required a lot of energy, and there was some reorganization, it wasn’t just selling the last hotel and now you’re a franchise brand, it really did require a lot of transformation.”

That experience is behind them now, Arrowsmith said. However, the effects remain.

“It’s really given us an amazing amount of clarity, and this is what we need to do to continue to drive network growth, to drive revenue growth,” Arrowsmith said. “We’ve already got a lot in play with levers that we really weren’t that keen on, because there’s a lot that goes on with operating and managing hotels and selling them. So, the team’s already very focused on assessing our revenue strategy, and where can we drive market share, and looking at our development process, and our quality, and really focusing in on the industry as a whole.”

Her predecessor, Palleschi, said before his departure that the company would be in good hands with Arrowsmith.

“With Julie’s energy, commitment to G6’s values and nearly three decades as part of the G6 team, I could not be more confident in the company’s next chapter.” Palleschi said

Following her mentors

Arrowsmith said she had help getting where she is today, particularly from Palleschi. Because of that, she understands the importance of extending similar assistance to other women in the company.

“I’ve had mentors all along my career path,” she said. “I definitely wouldn’t be where I’m at without some of those. Rob has been a great mentor to me. And I think there’s others that I’ve had that really shaped not just my career path, but also my values and how I lead and the kind of leadership style that I want to have.”

In October, during AAHOA’s inaugural HerOwnership Conference & Retreat, G6 launched its “Light Her Way” program to empower women seeking hotel ownership opportunities with tools and resources. Tina Burnett, G6’s chief development officer, said the program aims to protect women’s rights.

“We have always promoted the belief that everyone has the right to travel, but it is just as important that everyone have the right to ownership,” Burnett said. “The launch of ‘Light Her Way’ will empower women on the path to ownership and is an example of how we live up to our values.”

Arrowsmith said “Light Her Way” will allow women in the company to interact with people who can provide good information about the business.

“I think it’s got a lot of momentum to be a fantastic opportunity for women,” Arrowsmith said.

The program also fits another priority for Arrowsmith, looking after the needs of G6 franchisees.

Understanding where everyone is coming from

The emphasis on relationships is, to Arrowsmith, the most important part of AAHOA’s 12 Points of Fair Franchising, the association’s guide to a new model of the hotel franchise model. G6 publicly endorsed the 12 Points in December after an in-depth analysis.

“We’ve always had a long standing, positive relationship with AAHOA. I think we are very committed to all of the organizations and associations that support our owners,” Arrowsmith said. “But when the 12 points came out, we made a point of wanting to really thoughtfully go through each one and address it and commit to it and put it in writing, not just talk to it. When I look at them, I think that the relation component really is, the foundation for all the points.”

Understanding where franchisees are coming from is key to maintaining that relationship, Arrowsmith said.

“You’re both in business for profit, it needs to be a win-win partnership,” Arrowsmith said. “I think that the more you get out there, and you really understand where your franchisees are coming from, you’re able to make the right adaptations, and they’re able to see where we’re coming from as a brand as well.”

The future is shiny

In the end, Arrowsmith said, the future is bright for G6.

“We’re always evaluating what our guests are asking for,” Arrowsmith said. “We’ll continue to evaluate as we grow the extended stay product Studio 6 Suites we launched and I think that’s going to be a great extension to go along with our Studio 6 extended stay. But, we’re going to continue to keep our eyes open to see what makes sense and go from there.”