Kim Schaefer is Head of Parks at Two Bit Circus. Formerly CEO of Great Wolf Lodge, she guided the resort entertainment company through rapid growth and the transition from private to public company. She now heads up Two Bit Circus' location-based entertainment and micro-amusement channels.

Thoughts on Women in the Industry

What is the most pressing issue facing women in the workplace today, and how can the attractions industry influence positive change?

​The attractions industry is an interesting business in that it is not an 8-5 office. Women are multitaskers, in general, so we are juggling careers and families in industries that conflict with these schedules. Our busiest times are when kids are out of school so women still having to make large considerations for how they manage schedules, raise children, and find time for personal and leadership growth. The industry is open to smart, strong, and capable women, but flexible schedules and better soft benefits will entice them to stay in this industry.

​​How have you seen the industry evolve in regard to gender roles? ​​

I was always fortunate​ ​to have incredible mentors and partners as we grew our business. I made myself indispensable and really didn't offer anyone a choice on needing me through hard work, effort, skill, and dedication.​ Great Wolf was built with so many incredible women working together.

How have you built your network of women in the industry?

There are amazing women I met throughout the years in business and IAAPA. I love how they support each other. So many people I met were from industry women supporting industry women.​

What is the one piece of advice you'd like to convey to women starting their attractions career?
​Work ​hard and be valuable. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want!​

​Creating Careers of Distinction

How do you invest in yourself as a leader?
I try to grow as a person through self evaluation and continual improvement.​ I like to meet new people and hear their stories and glean information that can be useful to me. I like to read and find new ways of finding solutions to problems and inefficiencies.

What is your most cherished work principle?
Be a servant leader. Spend as much time every day making sure the team and the guests relying on you are getting your time. The best use of time is to ensure the employees that are interacting with our guests, making a difference for the company, are getting the time and attention they need to do their job properly. 

What do you consider your most significant career accomplishment? ​

Working with an incredible team over 18 years to build the Great Wolf Lodge brand.​
What has had the greatest impact on your career? ​

Craig Stark, my hospitality mentor and boss for 10 years. He gave me incredible opportunities to grow as a leader and take on duties and responsibilities that I had never done before which ultimately led to me leading the Great Wolf brand.
What has been the greatest challenge of your career?

Moving on from Great Wolf Resorts, a company I had been a part of since the begging  was incredibly challenging because I had to rediscover myself. I took some time off to find what I really loved to do, what made me happy and what I could give back to others as a leader not just a boss within Great Wolf. Luckily for me Two Bit Circus was looking for just such a person.
What was the greatest piece of career advice you ever received? ​ ​
Surround yourself with great people. You will learn from them and they will make your life so much better for their responsibility in the company.​

The Future of the Industry

Why did you join and choose to stay in the attractions business?
It's an industry of fun and every day is a new adventure!

What makes you most passionate about the industry?

There is such an incredible opportunity to entertain people, and this industry is in a perfect position to evolve into more immersive and technology-based experiences.

What is your vision for the industry in the next 20 years? ​
Continue to keep people leaving their homes to have social experiences together.

​​Know a professional we should talk to? E-mail Prasana William, IAAPA manager, digital content and strategy.


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