International Women’s Day
#PressForProgress: Cendyn Co-Founder Robin Deyo shares what International Women’s Day means to her
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we sat down with Cendyn’s co-founder and Enterprise Business Officer, Robin Deyo to talk about the role of women in hospitality technology, her mentors and equipping the next generation of female leadership at Cendyn.
You co-founded Cendyn over 20 years ago – how did it all begin?
When Charles and I started Cendyn in 1996, the Internet bloomed in front of us and we decided to use this new medium to develop web-based tools that could help the industry we had worked in for years run their businesses better. The first product we brought to market was eProposal, which is still the industry leader almost 20 years later.
What are some of the key milestones that defined your career?
There have been so many special moments…winning regional sales awards like Top Gun of the Southeast when I was in hospitality sales. Cendyn being named Business of the Year by South Florida Business Journal. Having the vision of what eProposal could do and seeing it thrive with over 22,000 hotels and venues worldwide using the tool in 34 languages. The stunning number of Adrian Awards we won for our eProposal Multimedia Tours.
Who were some of your role models and why?
My Dad was always a guiding light for me. He was such a good person. Honest, hardworking and grounded. He lived his life in a simple way but was also so caring and transparent. No hidden agenda. No drama. He also taught me to give a good h3 handshake to anyone I was greeting. To this day I hate it when someone gives me a wimpy handshake. First impressions are everything!
In business, I have had some great leaders: driven, thoughtful and willing to share their knowledge with me.
Sadly, most of my role models have passed away but I am committed to passing along their wisdom. I am a big believer in “paying it forward” and giving others opportunities for success.
What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?
I am very patriotic! My family laughs at me because I cry every time I hear the National Anthem. America is the poster child for diversity and what a h3 country can be when it includes people from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds. Cendyn is no different. At one time I counted over 26 different nationalities represented in our ranks. You should have seen our pot luck lunches back in the day! We employ young people just coming out of school all the way up to seniors over the age of 75. Our diversity is key to our success, especially as we have expanded on a global scale.
How do we ensure that advancing women in technology goes beyond a platitude and into action?
At Cendyn, we have always taken the “best person for the job” approach. While I did experience the “Boys Club” when I was in hotel sales, I think the days of gender bias are on the way out in hospitality technology. In addition to myself, we have a significant number of women leaders at Cendyn. Cendyn’s CTO, SVP of Client Success, VP of Interactive Design & Production, VP of Security & Certifications and VP of Sales-Americas are all women.
I also consider it my responsibility to lead by example and provide growth opportunities to the women within our organization. Cendyn pays the dues for membership to the Junior League of Boca Raton for any female employee who wants to join this amazing organization. I have been a member since 1999 and it has made a huge impact on my skills. The Junior League of Boca Raton, Inc. is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.
This year’s theme is “PressforProgress.” Where can we improve to further women in our field?
We need to keep having these conversations. At Cendyn, we need to keep doing what we have done all along and be a shining example of gender parity in the workplace.
If you could shape the agenda for 2018, where would we step forward as women?
Encourage our female team members to speak up, be heard and be confident. Ask for what you want or need! Don’t settle for the status quo!
What advice would you give a young woman starting out in hospitality technology?
Success never comes easy. Be prepared to work hard, work smart and be persistent. There are no short cuts.