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Yonni Hoffman, Lerch Bates VP of Market Development, was recently invited to speak to Marriott International’s Women in Engineering Council (WEC), a group of women engineering associates and leaders from Marriott headquarters and properties across the U.S. The event was an insightful opportunity for Hoffman, who’s known for her deep technical knowledge, communication skills and high-quality client relationships, to encourage other women on similar career paths.
Hoffman spent nearly 20 years with KONE prior to joining Lerch Bates, where she’s held multiple roles with the multidisciplinary consulting firm primarily focused on vertical transportation clients in the hospitality sector.
“I got my start in elevators when I answered an ad in the paper for a sales job,” Hoffman said. “I cried driving to work for a month because this was nothing like the job I had envisioned for myself. I had no idea that more than two decades later I’d be sitting here speaking to this group about how much opportunity there is for women in engineering and other technical roles within the industry.”
Hoffman’s hour-long fireside chat included multiple questions from the moderator as well as attendees, all focused on Yonni’s firsthand experience in an industry with a reputation for being male-dominated, a trend Hoffman noted is changing very quickly.
“Each of the major elevator OEMs (KONE, Otis, TKE and Schindler) have corporate goals to significantly increase female representation over the next few years,” she shared. “Marriott couldn’t create a group like WEC or Lerch Bates couldn’t have WIN+ if there weren’t women in these roles to fill those rooms.”
“But it’s important to remember that amplifying one demographic does not take away from any other demographic,” she said. “It’s not a zero-sum game.”
When asked to share the best career advice she’s ever received, Hoffman said that early in her career someone told her: wave your own flag.
“I’m still waving my own flag today,” she said. “Mentorship, networking, continued education – these are all important, but at the end of the day if you aren’t advocating for yourself, who are you expecting is going to do it for you?”
To invite Yonni or another Lerch Bates employee-owner to speak to your group, email firstname.lastname@example.org.