Every year on March 8th, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. Macau is home for many international women, whether born locally, from China, or from around the world.
This year International Women’s Day is celebrated under the #BeBoldForChange campaign. Macau Lifestyle is taking part in this global campaign and introducing you to some prominent Macau-based women. We sat down with each of them and asked some “bold” questions. The answers we got are open, real and inspiring!
In between cultivating a successful career and lending a helping hand to the Hong Kong US Consulate as a volunteer US Warden in Macau, the list of Linda Switzer’s professional achievements is indeed a long one. As vice president of retail at Wynn Resorts in Macau, she develops strategies to maximize business performance and profitability of the retail stores throughout the resort. Her work with major international brands in the United States brings extensive international experience in retail sales and operations to Macau.
With more than three decades of exceptional experience, she recalls working in the 1960s when an average woman aspired to be a school teacher, a flight attendant or a secretary—popular roles for women in the workplace at the time.
How does it feel to be a woman in Macau, what is your experience and what challenges have you faced?
It’s still a difficult time for women because everywhere else in terms of remuneration men still get paid 20% more. However, I’ve been quite fortunate working in Wynn for almost 15 years and it has been an equal opportunity for me and that’s rare for women in the workplace.
There is still struggle, even as an American woman, where freedom and equality seems to be a strong point. I see the need for women in Macau to be inspired more too.
With your work and contribution, what inspires you?
You have to follow your passion. That is the greatest motivation in life.
The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186. While it is still 2017, what makes women different and so important at this time?
I recently had the opportunity to speak to university students in the hospitality industry and give them a different point of view and not just within the scope of hotel management.
I told them that I did not necessarily start to be where I am today. I seized every opportunity that came my way and to have a positive view in everything that I encountered. I remember working in Kansas City and the company president telling me how I always seemed enthusiastic and excited with every presentation. Why shouldn’t I be? It’s a chance to learn and spread positivity around me. That should be the same for women at this time.
This year IWD is celebrated under #BeBoldForChange campaign. What “bold” actions can we do today to help drive gender parity?
I think the most important thing as a successful female executive is to offer hope to women starting out in their career. It’s women helping other women and that’s very important.
What was your bold moment? How did you do it? What motivated you? What difference did it make? How can others learn from this?
I always had a passion to travel and there are certain places in the world that inspire me. It might not seem like a huge change but for me on a personal note, it’s priceless. I even took my granddaughter to New York City so that she could experience the big, international city.
My particularly bold moment in life was when my boys went away to college and I moved to New York City. I spent 15 years there where I traveled nationally and internationally. When that opportunity came along, I seized it immediately and it was the same with my move to Macau. Many people I knew didn’t even know Macau so coming here was a very brave move. I joined a luxury property with a different role and I was confident that I would flourish in the city.
In your daily life, how do you balance all the woman’s roles?
My children are all grown up and have their own families. I plan my life with quarterly trips to go to Tokyo and Kansas City and spend time with loved ones.
What is the message you’d like to share with all the women out there?
It’s easy to say, “do anything you want to do”, but, that’s not exactly true. You have to have a positive attitude and a goal in life. When I look back, I remember taking risks and changing my career direction at a later age in my life. Remember that we all do the best we can with what kind of path we are in. As women, we juggle a lot of roles in life and you can’t achieve the best of both worlds. Focus on things that matter most to you. We all make choices and we all doubt it sometimes but stay true to yourself.
To read more #BeBoldForChange inspiring interviews follow the hashtag #BeBoldForChange.