South Florida Biz Journal Q&A: Jodi Cross on the best trip she’s ever taken

Oct 24 2017

This week’s executive profile. 10.20.17

Jodi Cross

BirtBIZIMAGEhplace: Rochester, New York

Residence: Jupiter

Current position: Regional director, Palm Beach County, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association

Previous positions: Founder, Cross Network Marketing Inc.; corporate director of marketing, Sonesta Hotels, Resorts & Cruises; executive director, The Commonwealth Institute South Florida; director of marketing, Trump International Sonesta Beach Resort; director of marketing, Doral Golf Resort and Spa; VP, The Neighborhood Marketing Institute; director of marketing, PGA National Resort & Spa

Education: M.B.A, Nova Southeastern University; B.A. in hotel hospitality management, St. Thomas University

 The travel bug bit Jodi Cross at 10 years old. 

That’s when a family trip to Hawaii “turned her life upside down,” said Cross, regional director for the Palm Beach County chapter of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association. At that young age, she realized there was a whole world out there to discover and many more places she wanted to see.

Today, Cross is an avid traveler, equestrian, golfer and hospitality marketing professional with over 20 years in the business working with brands whose properties span the globe. But the place she likes to work more than anywhere in the world is at home.

Cross talked to the Business Journal about her first job, a recent trip that stood out and technology she can’t live without.

Can you talk about one of the best trips you’ve ever taken? Two years ago, my husband and I went to Paris, where his father was shot down in World War II. While we were there, we found the person who headed up the historical registry of pilots shot down during the war. He happened to know the owners of the farm where he crashed. When we got there, we met this old woman who remembered the day it happened. Then her son comes out with this crate and asks us, “Would you like to take a piece of your father’s plane with you?” It was just amazing. Here is a piece WPBF ran about our trip when we returned. https://youtu.be/IIVGq9ZlQHo 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIVGq9ZlQHo&t=32s

How did you get into horseback riding? When I grew up in Rochester, I started riding horses and it became a passion of mine. I’ve been riding ever since. We make it part of our trips, like when last year I went to North Carolina, I rode three or four times. We went down to Puerto Rico recently and had a riding experience there. I used to ride often at Wandering Trails in Palm Beach Gardens.

Where will your next trip be? I just booked a cruise and we’re going to Quebec, Montreal and Halifax in Canada.

What was your first job in hospitality? I started out as a sales manager with Interstate Hotels at the former Sheraton Brickell Point. My boss was an ex-nun and she used to work all night long. Meeting her probably would have sent someone running out of that career immediately, but she really taught me a lot about my craft and the relentless pursuit of excellence.

What’s the best piece of advice you received? When I was the executive director at The Commonwealth Institute of South Florida, the founder, Lois Silverman, had some interesting advice. She told me: Think about the answer you want before you ask the question. I took that to heart.

What makes a good leader? A lot of times, as a leader, you have to step back from working on your business. You have to go from working in your business, to working on your business. A lot of people are putting out fires every day and don’t take the time to think about strategy. I take some quiet time in the morning and think, “What are the two things that we’re going to accomplish today that move revenue forward?” You get into your busy day and lose sight of that strategy sometimes. My to-do list never ends.

If you could work anywhere in the world, where would it be? I really like to work from home. With today’s portable office situation, you can pretty much work anywhere. I love having that flexible work environment, where you can be anywhere and still be productive.

What are the positives of doing business in South Florida? The negatives? The diversity is a plus. It’s a real melting pot down here. You have so many people who have relocated down here from around the world, and they have a ton of talents. As for the negatives, I find that some people don’t have the same work ethic and values down here as they do in the Northeast and Midwest.

What’s an app you can’t live without? I just love Uber. I use it all the time.

Emon Reiser

Digital Producer

South Florida Business Journal

https://www.bizjournals.com/southflorida/news/2017/10/17/executive-profile-jodi-cross.html