Sheila Cluff, owner and founder of The Oaks at Ojai and The Palms at Palm Springs, will take part in an initiative by Inter-Continental and Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts to better meet the needs of the growing ranks of women business travelers. The Travel Advisory Council, a group of 12 female business leaders from diverse industries, will address gender-specific issues relating to travel, and help recommend possible new products and service offerings. The council was formed as part of the hotels` Project Future program that encompasses sales and marketing, business alliances and partnerships, and cause-related sponsorship and fundraising.
At age 64, Cluff has contributed to the travel/fitness industry for more than four decades since her career as a professional figure skater. She later developed a flare for sharing her knowledge of health and exercise as a high school physical education teacher and built on her teaching background when she introduced “cardiovascular dance” to the world in the 1950s. Today, we know this groundbreaking exercise simply as “aerobics.” Cluff has exhibited her generosity through annual donations to over 100 charity organizations this past year including the Venice Art Walk, KCRW, and St. Joseph Center. Cluff is also an active member of the Ojai Valley community, where she makes her home. She recently expressed her support by generously presenting $200,000 to the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy.
“As a businesswoman and frequent traveler, I am very excited to be a part of the Advisory Council. I look forward to contributing resources and contacts, as well as helping address and respond to the evolving needs of female travelers.”
Joining Cluff on the Travel Advisory Board are: Gloria Bohan, president & CEO, Omega World Travel; Debra Feldman, vice president, asset management, FelCor Lodging Trust Incorporated; Edie Fraser, president, Business Women`s Network; Evelyn Hannon, editor-in-chief/CEO, Journeywoman.com; Gloria Herndon, president & CEO, G.B. Herndon & Associates; Karyn Marasco, COO, Lodgian, Inc.; Maria de Lourdes Sobrino, president & CEO, LuLu`s Dessert Factory; and Robin Read, president & CEO, National Foundation of Women Legislators. The advisory council chairwoman is Connie Glaser, a leading authority on women in business and best-selling author.
Inter-Continental and Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts hope to meet the needs of women business travelers by providing guests with their most desired preferences, creating a female-friendly environment both in public and private spaces, and training staff to be more aware of gender-related issues.
Inter-Continental and Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts have formed several key alliances and partnerships with well-respected organizations to support the Project Future initiative and to acknowledge the growing number of female guests and their perspectives on business and leisure travel. In July, Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts became the Official Hotel of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). More recently, the brands formed a partnership with the Working Woman Network (WWN), which includes the Business Women`s Network (BWN) and the National Association of Female Executives (NAFE). Crowne Plaza is also the official hotel of Count-Me-In for Women`s Economic Independence, and this year will raise $100,000 in over 73 U.S. hotels for the non-profit organization.