Women In the Industry - April 2018


Lauren Weaver (left) and Chloe Hausfeld celebrate Hausfeld's IAAPA Young Professional of the Year Award at IAAPA Attractions Expo 2017. 

The Future Is Female

Two young leaders with family roots in the industry carve out careers of their own

By Prasana William

Some women find the attractions industry. Others are born into it. Chloe Hausfeld of JRA and Lauren Weaver of Sally Corp. fall into the latter camp. “My parents met at the regional theme park back home, so I literally wouldn’t be around without this industry,” says Hausfeld, daughter of Keith James, a founding partner of JRA. “Growing up, I was lucky to have the chance to visit many different places and experience countless things that were not possible for others. Although my sister and I knew not to take this for granted, I think it took me a while to understand just how lucky we were because it was ‘normal’ for us.” 

Now director of marketing and business development at JRA, Hausfeld was named IAAPA Young Professional of the Year in 2017. After an education in teaching, she calls her career in the industry “a happy accident.” “I haven’t thought twice about joining JRA. I only wish that it hadn’t taken me so long to decide that this was the direction to go,” she says.

Her friend Weaver also grew up in the industry, though the two didn’t meet until five years ago. “Once you get a taste of the amusement industry, any fun-loving human being would try to find a way in, I just happened to have it in my DNA. I think most of us in this industry realize how lucky we are to be a part of it,” says Weaver, marketing director at Sally Corp. Weaver is the daughter of IAAPA Hall of Fame member John Wood. She attended IAAPA Attractions Expo throughout her childhood and college years, banking her experiences for her current career.

Both the Wood and James families are active in the industry and IAAPA—adding to the challenges women already face in carving out their identity in any field of work. But Hausfeld and Weaver have found ways to stand on their own—it all boils down to the unique connections they’ve made. “Networking is an important tool, and I have made a point to be as approachable as possible,” says Hausfeld. “Volunteering your time, and being accessible to others, is also a very good way to put yourself out there. Our industry associations make it easy to want to get involved, and I’ve had the privilege and honor of representing several different committees and task groups throughout the years.”

“I learn from the best!  My dad, and my grandfather before him, never shied away from a conversation (or a social gathering), so I’ve always put that into practice,” says Weaver. “You can’t be shy when you’re trying to carve out a name for yourself, so I’ve always tried to immerse myself in this industry. There’s so much you can learn (and teach!) by shaking hands and making your rounds at industry events.”

For more thoughts from Chloe Hausfeld and Lauren Weaver, check out the IAAPA Women in Leadership Project at www.IAAPA.org/WomenLeaders.