Taking Action

    By Shannon Shackerley-Bennett, BA, PMP

    Like many others, I look forward to Spring and what it brings to us. For me, this includes the annual CHLA Legislative Action Summit that provides an opportunity to travel from the South Bay to Sacramento to connect, network, learn, and discover my voice.

    In days gone by, we would gather to learn about the issues of importance to our industry and enjoy lunch together before taking a short springtime walk from our morning meeting place to the California Capitol Building.

    One could feel the energy increasing as you neared the historical Neoclassical structure full of grandeur and tradition. Approaching our muster area in the lower levels, the buzz was always palatable as we gathered closely in small groups, greeting each other by shaking hands before reviewing our material, and then collectively making our way through the maze of halls to find our legislators in the California Assembly and Senate. The elevator occupancy would frequently max out and this is where we would often meet other members and other advocates. Our brief yet useful interactions helped us learn what is of interest to other industries. This was also an opportunity to learn more from them about how to approach the Assemblymen, Senators, and their staff.

    This year we advocated differently about issues that matter to our business. Participating in the 2021 Legislative Action Summit still provided the opportunity to learn about issues of importance to our industry but, instead of cramming into elevators and rushing by each other in hallways, we were collectively briefed online about two topics: restarting California’s tourism economy and employee rehiring practices. Instead of having the always helpful Issues Brief tightly in hand, it was propped close to my monitor to help guide the discussion with those we were meeting online.

    Similar to previous years, the sessions had been set up ahead of time. Instead of carefully checking the schedule and figuring out where to be and when to arrive, my digital calendar reminded me to prepare to join online via Zoom. I “arrived” relaxed with other CHLA members who logged on and as we waited to begin, we had a few minutes to catch up—it was like a reunion given I hadn’t seen some of my friends in over a year! We normally have a busy spring attending conferences and golfing together, but the last year has not made this possible. It was such fun seeing everyone that we almost forgot the task at hand.
    Just like in person, our time was limited, and we needed to make the best of it as we approached the topics. After AJ from CHLA introduced the issues, we each took turns painting a more colorful picture. We shared our individual perspectives and stories that help legislators understand and prepare them to respond to real world experiences that we are all having.

    Participating in legislative action summits provides the opportunity to learn about issues of importance to the industry so we can advocate for solutions that matter to our business.
    As the day came to an end, I logged off and sat back, feeling an enormous amount satisfaction from connecting with others who, like me, value collaboration and using our collective voice to support our industry.

    Shannon Shackerley-Bennett, BA, PMP is a dynamic leader that creates results through strong communication, organizational and professional abilities. More than 25 years of progressively responsible positions with corporate, new business, and start up teams, means she applies practical knowledge and leadership to manage risk and solve complex challenges. North Star Hotel Development is wholly owned by this executive who during 2020 led a team responsible for entitling 132 room select service hotel development project in the Silicon Valley that was approved in under 12 months despite the challenges presented by Covid.

    North Star Hotel Development is a pre-construction developer providing support with engaging brands, industry vendor selection, capital raise, deal structure, the entitlement process, and syndication. What differentiates us from other developers is that our interest extends beyond a potential hotel site into the hospitality industry which spills over to economic development for the surrounding areas. Our mission is to collaborate with others to develop hotels that are welcomed by communities and bring value to the shareholder.
    Contact Shannon Shackerley-Bennett at shannon@northstarhoteldev.com or 646.430.3911. Visit www.northstardevgroup.com for more information.