Tara Morandi is Vice President, Marketing at accesso. She is an active IAAPA member and has served on the IAAPA space allocation subcommittee. She's worked on rebranding efforts across accesso's five acquisitions in the past six years.


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 most pressing issue facing women in the workplace is equality … in income, in advancement, and in opportunity. The attractions industry is historically male-dominated, but there are women who are proving themselves to be competent professionals qualified to get the job done. The more opportunities we can create, the better.
How have you seen the industry evolve in regard to gender roles?
The barriers for women are less than they were 10 years ago in the attractions industry. We’ve seen more leadership roles for women and more recognition for females who are making a difference in their fields. As women, we struggle to ask for things, whether it be a new opportunity or a salary increase. But as natural-born leaders, we need to continue making our voices heard and break even more barriers for future young professionals.
How have you built your network of women in the industry?
Over the years, I’ve cultivated a network of trusted mentors and colleagues. These are women who inspire me, challenge me, and encourage me in everything I do. I would not be where I am today without those incredible women supporting me. As a working mom, I struggle daily with the guilt of having to travel and be away from my kids. When I need it most, my network reminds me why I do what I do, that my kids are doing just fine, and that the work I do sets an example for the kind of women they can one day become.
What is one piece of advice you’d like to convey to women starting their attractions careers?
Take advantage of opportunities, even if they’re out of your comfort zone. Push yourself and embrace change. That’s the only way to grow.

Creating Careers of Distinction

How do you invest in yourself as a leader?

I’m continuously learning. I read a lot of books, articles, commentaries, and watch a lot of TED talks. I also take continuing education classes when I can find the time! Investing the time to learn new things helps me to improve and develop new approaches to personal and professional challenges.
What is your most cherished work principle?

Just be yourself, listen to your gut, and always follow through.
What do you consider your most significant career accomplishment?
Balancing being a mom to two amazing girls with the demands of a challenging career has been my most significant accomplishment. Even though I work at it constantly with some days being easier than others, I really do love my job and love being a mom. It helps that I have an incredibly supportive husband who works in the same industry and understands my job. He has always encouraged me to work hard and supports my crazy travel schedule!
What has had the greatest impact on your career?
I took a big chance leaving somewhere I was comfortable for an opportunity and it was the best thing for me. It totally threw me out of my comfort zone, but I’ve had such an amazing opportunity to grow professionally, develop new skills and become a leader. I remember not sleeping for weeks because I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing, but I truly believe everything happens for a reason.
What has been the greatest challenge of your career?
Knowing my weaknesses and learning to ask for help. Early on in my career I tried to do it all and tried to make it look like I could. Be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses, and surround yourself with people who can help you grow. I’ve learned that I can only do so much and I have an incredible team that helps me overcome those weaknesses. I have learned to ask for help when I need it!
What was the greatest piece of career advice you ever received?
Be yourself and network with as many people as you can. You never know where the next opportunity is going to come from.

The Future of the Industry

Why did you join and choose to stay in the attractions business?
I thought it would be a fun job, and it was. I even met my amazing husband in the attractions industry! I continue to stay because I’m inspired by the passion and commitment of my company, and because of the incredible people I’ve met who’ve become great friends and mentors.
What makes you most passionate about the industry?

This is a fun industry to work in! Ours is the industry that provides an escape, an opportunity for families to smile, laugh, and create lasting memories. I watch my young daughters experience so much joy and laughter when we take them to a water park or FEC and I just love that I get to work in an industry that makes those memories.
What is your vision for the industry in the next 20 years?
I see an industry that will be increasingly transformed by technology, an industry where attractions constantly strive to enhance the guest experience and form lasting relationships with their customers. And I see an industry that will continue to embrace equality, and in which more women will have opportunities to grow into leadership positions.

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



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