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Linda Round is a part of the marketing and business development team at JRA, where she is responsible for global sales support and trade show operations. She's previously held positions in roller coaster sales, and has served on the IAAPA Strategic Planning Committee.


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?

Personally, work life balance is top of the list; managing a balance between family and work is challenging for all caregivers. As more women enter and remain within the workforce, I see this becoming more of a family issue, not necessarily an issue facing women alone. I watch my male counterparts, my own husband, struggle with a conference call while picking up our son from school, and getting on a plane knowing he is missing the last soccer game of the season. The attractions industry can continue to influence positive change by promoting and adopting the best practices of companies that have a reputation for encouraging work life balance.
 
How have you seen the industry evolve in regard to gender roles?
During my time in the industry I believe there has been a positive evolution in regard to gender roles. There are more women in management, holding leadership positions, and running their own companies than when I entered the industry more than 35 years ago.

Our careers are built on creating happy, memorable experiences for those that visit our member attractions. As creators and operators of those attractions, we are inherently sensitive to the religious, cultural, economic, and social factors that influence our guests and our employees. Our industry leaders are some of the most compassionate people in the business world, so I am confident as we grow the industry will continue to do our best to positively address the many factors that influence the attractions work place.
 
How have you built your network of women in the industry?
I have spent my career building relationships among a network of people in the industry; all of which have great integrity and excel at what they do. Thanks to the opportunities available to everyone in the industry, there happens to be many incredible women in that mix.
 
What is one piece of advice you’d like to convey to women starting their attractions careers?
I offer the following with an explanation: Be the person that understands how fortunate they are to be in a lifelong industry where you love what you do. To clarify, first, don’t think of yourself as a woman: you earned the position because you have qualities that make you a good employee, manager, and/or executive. Second, appreciate how lucky you are to do this every day; it will motivate you to focus on continued development and improvement. Third and very important, be sincere. The attractions industry is a small world and, for many, a lifelong career; these are friends and colleagues you could have for a very long time. Lastly, and a nod to my past coaster life, if you enjoy the ride, it is hard not to love what you do.


Creating Careers of Distinction


How do you invest in yourself as a leader?

I have always focused on being part of a team. There are always great players, strategic thinkers, and creative minds on a team, and as a result there is always the opportunity to learn and improve. Serving on committees, both in our industry and our community, provides me access to different viewpoints, processes, and disciplines. Being part of a team makes me a better person, employee, and leader.
 
What is your most cherished work principle?
I live by the Golden Rule, both personally and professionally. Treat others, as you would want to be treated. This was ingrained in me at a very young age (thanks Mom and Dad); it is simple, all encompassing, honest and sincere.

What do you consider your most significant career accomplishment?

My most significant career accomplishment was belief in myself as I started a new career selling roller coasters. My first day of work was spent getting on a plane to visit my new company headquartered in Japan. I had never traveled west of the Mississippi, much less out of the country. My relevant work experience included sales and marketing at a local water park, no cell phones and no internet (yes, I am dating myself). I had only ridden roller coasters…now I was going to work for a company that designed and built them. If I had not taken that single, career- and life-changing leap, I know I would not be in this position today.

What has had the greatest impact on your career?
My employers have had the greatest impact on my career. These men and women have given me the opportunities to succeed and to prove my value to their organizations. I have been blessed and honored to work for them.
 
What has been the greatest challenge of your career?

The greatest challenge of my career has also been my greatest motivation. I had no plan on how to achieve both family and career, but I did have faith that I could. I have always wanted a family, and when the time came, this industry offered career opportunities that allowed for both. I still work in this industry for myself, but a good deal of motivation comes from showing our children that hard work, flexibility, and a little blind faith can pay off. Besides, they loved growing up telling their friends their mom sold roller coasters.
 
What was the greatest piece of career advice you ever received?
You are only as good as those around you. If you are ever in the position to hire or choose a team, don’t be afraid to choose those who are smart and bring a new skill set to the table.

 
The Future of the Industry


Why did you join and choose to stay in the attractions business?

At 15 years old my first job in Kings Island’s picnic grove was not glamorous. It involved hot days, long hours, and serving a lot of barbecue chicken. I stayed at Kings Island and in the attractions business because of the people. How can you not love to be around people whose measure of success is the ability to create happy and memorable experiences for others? I did not plan to make it my career, but then every person I met just endeared me more to the industry.
 
What makes you most passionate about the industry?
I am passionate about the people in this industry. They love what they do, and it shows.

What is your vision for the industry in the next 20 years?
Reflecting over the industry’s accomplishments of the last twenty years, many will anticipate more and even better technology and grandeur. My vision for the industry is story and engagement. My hope is that the industry never underestimates the power of a good storyline and its ability to engage its visitors.



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

 

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