DEI Advisors Podcast

Emily Goldfischer, Founder of Hertelier, interviewed by Rachel Humphrey

February 22, 2023 David Kong, Dorothy Dowling, Rachel Humphrey, Lan Elliott
Emily Goldfischer, Founder of Hertelier, interviewed by Rachel Humphrey
DEI Advisors Podcast
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DEI Advisors Podcast
Emily Goldfischer, Founder of Hertelier, interviewed by Rachel Humphrey
Feb 22, 2023
David Kong, Dorothy Dowling, Rachel Humphrey, Lan Elliott

Emily shares her journey from her roles in public relations to the Founder of Hertelier, an online news platform inspiring women working in the hotel industry. She discusses the important lessons she has learned from being an entrepreneur, but also from overcoming challenges and setbacks (there are no such things as failures) and how taking risks has taken her career to heights she never imagined.  Emily talks about self-care and how she continues to learn (it involves reading lots of books).

Show Notes Transcript

Emily shares her journey from her roles in public relations to the Founder of Hertelier, an online news platform inspiring women working in the hotel industry. She discusses the important lessons she has learned from being an entrepreneur, but also from overcoming challenges and setbacks (there are no such things as failures) and how taking risks has taken her career to heights she never imagined.  Emily talks about self-care and how she continues to learn (it involves reading lots of books).

Emily Goldfischer, Founder, Hertelier, Interviewed by Rachel Humphrey

Rachel Humphrey: I am Rachel Humphrey with d e i advisors, and today I am excited to be joined by Emily Gold Fisher of her Tellier. Who's gonna spend a little bit of time with us today telling us about her journey to leadership and the lessons she's learned along the way. Emily, welcome to the show. 

Emily Goldfischer: Thank you for having me, Rachel.

Rachel Humphrey: Emily, d e i Advisors is a nonprofit organization to empower personal success of those up and coming in the hospitality industry. And one of the really important aspects of this industry is how different everybody's journey to leadership can be. Not one unique path. Trailblazers for everybody else.

Yours is even more unique than some of the others that we have interviewed so far. Tell me a little bit. Your background, your path, and how you got to where you are today. 

Emily Goldfischer: Great, thank you. First, I just wanna say I'm a huge fan of d e I advisors. I listened to many of your interviews and I love them, so I really feel honored to be here today.

So thank you for that. And yeah, in terms of my journey, I think it is interesting in that I actually. Think where I started was I went to Cornell. And I went to Cornell because actually my father had gone there on scholarship and the university was very important to him. It was really a big change for him in his life.

And as a kid, I'm the youngest of five. I was always going up to Cornell and so that, I went to Cornell basically. And actually when I went there, I was there to. Natural sciences And freshman year I took biology with all the pre-med kids and it was tough. It was not for me. . And I ended up switching to the hotel school because actually I had an older brother, Alan Caners, which some people may know in the industry, some of your followers.

He's on the investment side and he had been in the hotel school and. , I decided to switch from doing science to hotel, which was a really great move for me and I enjoyed it very much and I really got into the program. And then I ended up working in a couple different hotels. And when I graduated I actually ended up working in public relations.

I didn't. Know if I wanted to do operations. And actually when I graduated, it was in the early nineties and there was a bit of a recession, , so I didn't have a job at graduation and I went home and then I started looking at different careers and I stumbled upon public relations. Through the Cornell Careers office and I applied for an internship, which I didn't get, and then I decided, actually that sounds like a really cool job.

And I applied to quite a few different PR firms that just did travel and I ended up going to this company called K W E Associates. And I stayed there for six years. Working on all different kinds of clients of destinations in the Caribbean, Hyatt Resorts, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. It was a lot of fun During that time while I worked at K W E, I actually left for a year and I went, came to London to go to graduate school and then I ended up going back and working with them.

And from there I went in-house and I worked for Lowe's Hotels, and I did that for 12 years, sorry, for 10 years . And 12 years ago I moved to London for my husband's job. And at the time we had two small children. That are both teenagers now, . But at that time they were small and we were gonna come here for two years and ended up staying for 12 years.

And at that time, because we were only staying for two years, I decided to become a journalist, which is the flip side of working in public relations. And there we go. And that's how I got into journalism. , and if you want me to continue to talk about her, tell her I can do that. But basically five years ago I noticed.

women were making big strides in the industry and I didn't feel that anybody was really telling those stories. And I think back to my Lowe's days and who inspired me? And at Lowe's I had really a lot of amazing mentors. And then, and there was a lot of women in leadership at the company at the time I was there.

And , I guess with that in my mind, and then seeing what was happening in the industry and then what the Castell Project was doing and the research and that there was a movement happening, but nobody was really writing about it in the way that I thought it could be done. And during the pandemic, I decided to just go for it.

Rachel Humphrey: I, first of all, from biologist to journalists to now entrepreneur. That's an incredibly inspirational story, and I always like to share, Emily, how First came into contact or how someone else that I am interviewing has really impacted my career or my journey. And I remember the first time I reached out, I had read just a little blurb about her teller during, early on during the pandemic, and I reached out to you to learn more and wanted to talk to you about possibly showcasing somebody that I was working alongside.

But what I realized over the last couple years as we've had an opportunity to interact is you were able to. See a need. and figure out a way to fill it and then execute on it. And that's an incredible inspirational message for any of us who, a lot of people can see a need, a lot of people might even know what the solution to that need is, but then to really take that final step.

And talk a for a little bit, you just mentioned where you saw an opening to story tell, which is so incredibly important. But talk a little bit. What have you learned from the launch of hertel? I'm guessing it's a learn every single day, both skills, content, whatever it is, but as you continue to grow, what are some of the things that you have learned from this particular venture?

Or how has it impacted you as a leader or an industry executive at this point in your career? 

Emily Goldfischer: Yeah, I, I'll actually answer that question in two parts. . I think the first thing is there's been a tremendous amount of learning in terms of, I've been a writer for the last decade, whatever, but I never built my own website

I had never really thought much about s e o and then Canva. , the graphic design. So I actually learned a ton on the technical side. Of how one has a website and how you host a website. And then actually even, finding a company to host a website. , that's been a huge learning curve, which I have to say has really had its ups and downs but I think that being challenged in that way has been really good for me and, my mind. And then in terms of the teller piece and what have I learned is like actually I've interviewed now over 300 women. and the lessons I've learned have been innumerable. We could, we only have a half an hour, Rachel, so I can't, tell you all of that.

But I feel like a lot of the themes have actually come across in your interviews also on the DI advisors. So I just, I think there's just so much knowledge to share and I think what's been wonderful about technology is this the democratization of being able to sh share stories. If you think back to when you and I were in college or even just in our first jobs like you, there were, you were in certain trade magazines or there were business publications, but there wasn't the ability to do what you and I are both doing now.

And I think that's really a great. . 

Rachel Humphrey: I will tell you that David and Land, and Dorothy and I can sympathize with your learning new technologies and Canva and social media and other things that throughout our career may not have been our number one responsibilities. So I love that. I also think, you bring up a great point about interviewing these 300 plus people that you know, you and I now have access.

Relationships and roles to tremendous stories to industry leaders who whether it's one-on-one or at conferences we get to listen to and be inspired by. And the idea of sharing those stories, barrier free with anyone who wants to listen once. To read is really powerful to me. So thank you for doing all of that work and continuing to share those stories.

I think that's so important for the industry. But you have now both in talking about your journey and in talking about Hertel a little bit, talked on some. life lessons that I think are really important in that a lot of us are contemplating or trying to figure out strategies for. And I wanna start with taking risks to go to college and then completely pivot for what you wanna do to move across the into to a different country.

To stay there, to really pivot roles, to leave being a journalist and start a. Venture completely. Those are all things that are incredibly risky. How do you evaluate risk? How do you decide which ones are worth taking or that, you know what, here's a risk that I'm not gonna do and here's some of the reasons why.

What is your process like for that? 

Emily Goldfischer: Yeah, it's funny cause , I was thinking about this as . I think there are some people that are very intentional about every decision that they make. And then I think there's people like me, , , and I can't say, I always think through everything. Even with Hertel, which actually is probably the hugest risk I've ever done.

I guess it's what you have to think about, what's the potential downside? , but then also I think it's what's the upside? So for example, moving to London. that to me and my husband that had huge upside. We're like, we can live in London. We can travel all around. We can give our kids this amazing, cross-cultural experience.

So I think the more you think about the upside, the less you worry about the downside. power, positive thinking, , I think that's me . Yeah. And then, if you worry too much about the downside, , it can end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy, I think, in a way. And that's something you wanna avoid.

So I, I try to always be very optimistic and so far that's worked out for me in my life, . 

Rachel Humphrey: That's great advice. Similar to that, nobody gets to where they are in their career, the levels that you've reached without facing some setbacks and challenges. And I have heard you say before that, there are no such thing as.

Only learning opportunities. Talk a little more about that philosophy. Again, a very positive way of looking at things. . Yeah, talk about, 

you again, that mindset of how you turn, what could be an incredible stumble or even a barrier to what you're trying to achieve into a positive life lesson.

Emily Goldfischer: Yeah, I, it's interesting cuz this concept of failure, I think at the moment is having quite a renaissance. Living here in the uk. There's actually this woman, an author and a journalist called Elizabeth Day, who's actually turned failure into a whole platform. She has a podcast called How to Fail, and she interviews celebrities and authors and artists about.

three biggest failures in their lives and then share, they share those lessons and it's actually a very good and interesting podcast. But the whole point of it is that actually a failure is just an opportunity to learn. So I'm trying not to be afraid of failure and to try more things now. As you get older, I think it's easier to do that actually.

I think when you're first starting out, you're, you don't have enough life experience not to be afraid. Yeah. So that's how I've been approaching. And then in terms of her tell, yeah, it was a huge risk. , there's every day a mini failure of some sort , where, you just try things.

If you look at the site or even our Instagram page from early on, the look has changed. We've, changed, tweaked how we do the interviews and things. Some of it is to save time, or some of it is because people don't respond to it. There's a, I'm sure you see this with your interviews as well.

There's some that. Oh my God, this is gonna kill it. And then for whatever reason it doesn't. Or there's some that you're like, oh, nobody's gonna care about this. And it like is on fire. Yeah. So it's really interesting. 

Rachel Humphrey: That idea of ever evolving, if you go back and look at day one of what you were putting out in day, whatever we're at now.

Yeah. multiple years. Yeah. That continuous growth is actually part of each of our leadership development as well. It's not just the evolution of her tellier. It's as you continue to grow and develop, whether it's as an entrepreneur or as a storyteller or a consolidator of information, talk about where you turn to continue to develop those skill sets.

Whether it's website development or leadership or how to interview. Speak, there's a lot of growth that happens granularly for you now at this stage or chapter, we'd never stop learning. What are some of the paths that you choose for that? 

Emily Goldfischer: Yeah, I, I, and I know a lot of the people you've interviewed has said this, but I am just a very curious person by nature.

I love to read, in fact, bef, I didn't say this in the first question, which was, how did you get up in pr? But I've always loved to read the newspaper. I've always been a. Just a really, I'm into reading, I like to read. I think that's been a way where, reading leads you to growth cuz you're learning stuff all the time.

And actually I wanted to mention two books that I've read in the last year that have really helped me with her tell and also just as I think. in general about my career and then lessons to share with the hotel, your readers and with your listeners. But one is called Build for Tomorrow. Yes. I've brought Show and Tell , and it's by actually the editor of Entrepreneur Magazine and he, I think this book just came out a couple of months ago.

But it's great. And he really talks about. Skills and then also dealing with change and how you can do that, and then how to be very proactive about, learning and growing. So I really like that. And then 

Rachel Humphrey: I'll that pause you just one second. For those who are listening and not watching, it was called Build For Tomorrow.


Emily Goldfischer: build for Tomorrow, Jason's Piper. And then the other book is called When Women Lead, and that's by Julia Borson, who's A reporter on C N B C and she actually interviewed a hundred women that are startup founders. So that's less than 2% of all startups are get startup founders. Get that gets funding are female.

And so she really honed in on those women because she's actually, if you're less than 2% of this bigger population, how did you do that? How are you successful? And the lessons in this book are tremendous. So that's. An example. And then actually at the moment I'm reading a book called, I Don't Have Them cause I have a Kindle which I mostly read on my Kindle.

And it's called How Women Rise. And I would say that's another really great book because it talks about all the habits that somehow ha either are ingrained in women because. The, unconscious bias or things that just, you learn when you grow up, but you don't really think about, and then it's holding you back in your career.

So I, that's another one. I actually don't know who wrote the book but it's called How Women Rise, so I recommend that as well. 

Rachel Humphrey: I love that I am actually a voracious reader as well, and I learn a lot and have learned a lot through the various careers that I've had about myself, about leadership, about development and other things.

And I think even if you take a single tidbit away from a book, it has been well worth to read. So I love to hear. That as a strategy. I wonder if that is becoming more of a lost strategy given how we consume information these days. But I love to hear that for sure. I wanna turn a little bit to, one of the things we hear about as a stumbling block for a lot of women that are trying to take their career to the next level, which is a generalization that we are not good at advocating for ourselves, whether it's for a position.

Whether it's for speaking opportunity monetarily what do you provide for advice either from those that you've interviewed or in your experience ways that if somebody is really feeling hung up about advocating for themself, they might think about. . 

Emily Goldfischer: It's interesting cuz actually what I, most of my career was in public relations.

So that's really advocating for other people. And so you would think that as a person who's trained and done that for most of my career, that I would find it very easy. So I think it's really something that it's natural for people to struggle with. Particularly for women. They've done a lot of studies that, you know, women.

it's not just in our heads, like actually women do struggle with advocating for themselves, whether, again, it's like these, biases that we grow up with. So you have to overcome those. And what are different ways again, is listening to things like this, d i advisors, learning from other people, getting mentors that can help you to learn how to do it.

But ultimately, Learning that delicate balance of how do I advocate for myself without coming off being braggy or, that you don't deserve it because usually you do deserve it. And actually what they say, and again, that's in this book, how Women Rise is like w women think it's if you're doing your job and doing it well, people will notice you.

 And actually, That's not how it works at all. And that men somehow, they're trained on just learning how to, always be going for that next promotion, not to make themselves indispensable in the job that they're in, so that the boss maybe doesn't wanna worry about replacing 'em as like it's.

learning how to be invaluable. So this idea of being the person that is gonna help where the, in the company needs you most. And that's also I think, a skill that's really important to learn. And a lot of it's just life experience. And again, trying to find mentors that, that can help you. 

Rachel Humphrey: You said at the start of that about , I can't remember the exact words that you used, but I'm gonna not being too much of a bragger or something else, but honestly celebrating successes we're so hard on ourselves.

We, we recognize yeah. And attach to every perceived failure setback challenge, but we don't really take the time to celebrate the successes either internally or externally. And maybe finding more room for that. To help others see. And then when you're advocating for yourself, you see this history of successes and other positivity.

One of the trends we hear a lot, and you interview a lot of people, you read a lot, you share a lot of articles. Is this renewed focus on self-care and wellness? Are you thinking that finally is here to stay? Is this a trend coming out of the pandemic that when we get back into bad habits or old habits, we're.

Revert from, how do you think you've done from a self-care and wellness standpoint? 

Emily Goldfischer: Yeah, I think it's here. I think it's different than it was before. I do think there's this mental health piece that people are talking about more openly now. In terms of my personal self-care, I've always been into trying to keep fit.

I, I've run in my twenties, I was, I ran the New York City Marathon a couple times. I don't do that now. , . But, I do things like yoga and I still run, actually not as far, just a couple miles. But yeah, I do think it's really important. I've tried to teach my kids that, you have to do some kinda exercise every day.

And I think people realize that, there's this. I think it's called the Happiness Challenge that's going around now. I think it's Gretchen Rubin is the author of that and she said for 2023, just try to get out for 23 minutes a day just to get outside. I think that we have learned a lot during the pandemic in terms of the importance of me, being outside, interacting with people, having, the social element that I think people miss so much and.

Just there is, it's important to have that balance in your life and I think it's when you don't focus on those things that the other things get more stressful, that you worry about things that you shouldn't be worrying about. 

Rachel Humphrey: think you just made a great point is that self-care and wellness can be different things.

It can be fresh air, it can be exercise, it can be social interaction. It doesn't have to be going out and running the New York City Marathon, . Yeah, congratulations. Cause that is No thanks. Yeah. Relating to that, you mentioned moving with young children who are now teenagers and you may know I have a 21 year old and a 17 year old daughter, so we are exiting the teenage years and into the young adult years.

What are some of the strategies you have used to either be a continuous work in progress or to find some. combination of where you can be a successful careerist, but also a mom, a wife, a daughter, and a sister. Other things like that. 

Emily Goldfischer: Yeah, look, we did a big pivot when we moved here for my husband's job, and at that time my kids were four and six.

I had been working at Lowe's, which is a great company for women. I had two kids there and did my maternity leaves and all that. But look, it was hard. And I think, as most of your listeners work in travel the travel piece can be difficult with young children. And we did see this as an opportunity for me to maybe take a more of a.

Bigger role at home and, let my husband's job be more of the focus. And so that was why journalism was a great, pivot for me at that time. And then also just moving countries. It was, it's hard with little kids and then, being here, we were, moved here temporarily, so we were renting, so we moved a couple times.

So moving houses really hard. It's funny, I was I was in Florida last week and I met I was, saw some old lows colleagues, and I met a woman. Had moved with her husband 18 times. He worked, I think had worked for Hyatt. So it's, moving around is no joke. And I think it's something that a lot of people in the hotel business can really relate to.

And. I, you know what I hope that in the course of these interviews, you find someone who tells you the secret to make it easier, , and I'm not that person. But yeah, I just think in terms of the balance, I think life is like in waves. You have peaks and valleys. So now I've been, the last two years super busy with her teller, which I love.

But yeah, it's like you can't, I don't think you can have two spouses with really intense jobs for an extended period of time. You can do that in short bursts and then also you have to have help. So when we lived in New York, I had a full-time nanny. But then, when we moved here, I.

Kind of became the nanny as well. , I have done that 

Rachel Humphrey: route as well. But good support systems, you're right, are so critical, whether they're internal or external support systems. You talked about life being aim, being a wave. And that's one of the things that I actually love about life is that we learn as we go, that we are works in progress.

But this idea of continuous growth, whether it's through books like you do or other things, what would you tell 21 year old Emily about how things have turned out today? 

Emily Goldfischer: Yeah. I never would've predicted how my life has unfolded, but I think I would just tell her to hang in there, . It's gonna be fine.

I love that. The little things they always pass, 

Rachel Humphrey: nice. Excellent advice. All I'm gonna ask you a couple of final things. Where is Emily's happy place today? Where will we see you relaxed and enjoying life? The. , 

Emily Goldfischer: with my family and also I'm a big, we're big travelers.

That was part of the motivation for moving to London. We've traveled all around the world those are my happy things to be traveling. And with my family. I also love cooking and exercising. So those are, that's what I like to do. . Nice. 

Rachel Humphrey: Emily keeping in mind the motto of d e i advisors to empower personal success, is there a final piece of advice or something that you would share with our listeners about taking this next step or about continuing to empower themselves today?

Emily Goldfischer: I guess so I would go back to just, being optimistic and knowing that everything is temporary and there's always something, good around the corner. Yeah, that would be my advice. I love that 

Rachel Humphrey: and that's a great place for us to wrap things up a little bit. Emily, what you are doing with Hertel is incredibly exciting.

It is also empowering and inspiring for so many of us, much needed in the industry. So on behalf of the hospitality industry, but also for me personally, who get so much energy and motivation from what you are doing. Thank you for your leadership and also thank you for supporting d e I advisors and joining us on our show today.

Emily Goldfischer: Thank you for having me. And I would just say for anyone listening, please sign up for our Sunday roundup. I send out a newsletter every Sunday, which I know you read Rachel. And then also I just wanna make mention of my partner with Hertel, which is Nancy Mendelson, and she's actually was my mentor at Lowe's.

And we've had a long. History and great relationship, and she's really taught me a lot. So I wanna give a shout out to Nancy Medelen, who also writes a weekly column that gives life advice. So definitely one for your listeners to check out. 

Rachel Humphrey: You're right, I do read the weekly roundup. I also follow you on LinkedIn, and I would encourage everybody to do the same.

Such a great resource for all of us in this industry. And I would tell our listeners and our audience today, thank you so much for tuning in and if you've liked what we've heard, we hope you'll tune in to d e i and hear from the more than 70 industry leaders who have shared their incredible journeys and their insights along the.

we are also streaming on all of your favorite podcast streaming channels. So Emily, thank you again and thank you everyone for listening.