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At UrVenue, we have the unique opportunity to partner with a vast network of female hospitality innovators on the front lines of technological innovation. Many of these women have helped transform the way multi-billion dollar resorts and hotels drive commerce and elevate the guest experience. 

During Women’s History Month, we are honoring women in hospitality and how their experience and perspective are helping shape the future of hospitality technology. 

One woman, in particular, encompasses the vision, intelligence and leadership necessary for being a true innovator: Vice President of eCommerce, Digital & Performance Marketing at Resorts World Las Vegas, Lori Kobashigawa. 

Technology Leadership at its Finest 

In hospitality, technology is everywhere. While the word “technology” may not be in her title, Kobashigawa is all but totally immersed in it.

Lori Kobashigawa’s resume is impressive by any measure: two decades of leadership in the hospitality and tech fields with ties to several Fortune 500 companies, including MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts. She has established sophisticated digital programs for some of the world’s largest hospitality companies across social media, programmatic, SEM, SEO, mobile, product and email marketing. She has also spearheaded innovative programs that inspire excellence and a creative work environment for her teams. 

At Resorts World Las Vegas, Kobashigawa is leading a team working to create revenue-generating programs with digital technology for the city’s newest integrated resort. It’s a big role with a lot of responsibility, but complexity is part of what inspires Kobashigawa. “I always look forward to the next challenge,” she explains. “And one of the great things about being part of the opening team at Resorts World Las Vegas was having boundless opportunities to contribute new ideas and leverage my skills and experience to the fullest. It was great to have both the responsibility of the guest-facing front-end solutions as well as the back-end development of those solutions.”

Being a Positive Force

While more women are rising to key positions in the hospitality industry, a recent study showed that women accounted for nearly 30 percent of all hospitality leaders in 2021. This is a profound increase from 12 percent in 2019, a change Kobashigawa has witnessed firsthand.

“Although the past few years have shown tremendous progress in welcoming female leaders and their contributions, there are still plenty of opportunities to embrace unique perspectives, especially female ones. Women often forget the importance of their uniqueness and how bringing different minds to the table can drive change for the better.”

This should serve as a steadfast reminder to all women that having a different viewpoint should be celebrated, and that speaking up is sometimes all it takes to be a positive force. 

A Harvard Business Review report noted that having women in the C-suite provides a better balance for executive decision-making. The report emphasizes, “after women joined the C-suite, firms became both more open to change and less risk-seeking.” 

A New Creative Approach

Kobashigawa says that at the heart of the work culture she’s fostered is a focus on creative approaches to unique situations. For example, in her current work environment, she balances two iconic brands with different histories: one from gaming and one predominantly from non-gaming. Resort World’s partnership with Hilton has created unique opportunities for her teams to demonstrate agility and learning on the fly. Kobashigawa is grateful to her teams. “We’re so proud of our teams for successfully integrating the two brands,” she says. “Through deep collaboration, we’ve created something that did not exist before with a lot of custom solutions.”

Kobashigawa embraces the elements of her role that propel the constant evolution of digital and tech initiatives across the entire resort. 

“You’re never quite done,” she says. “There is always something to improve upon, so there are endless opportunities for adding value through constant iteration.” 

Going Against the Grain

As a woman in tech, Kobashigawa recognizes the unique challenges that women face as they build their careers.

And she has very simple advice:

“Be a disruptor. Go against the grain. It’s ok to have different thought patterns and different ways of doing things. Women who come to the table collaboratively and inclusively are unstoppable.”

We, at UrVenue, recognize Kobashigawa for her talents, her vision, and most importantly, her partnership.