Dee began working at The Hermitage Hotel in the spring of 2004 and has been its managing director since early 2019. In her role, she oversees the operations of the hotel, as well as the Capitol Grille, the Oak Bar, Rachel’s Boutique, the Garden at Glen Leven and several downtown real estate properties. She has more than 20 years of hospitality experience in Nashville and Virginia and is active in area cultural preservation and green space conservation efforts. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Johnson & Wales University.

What is the biggest challenge facing women in leadership? Balancing professional goals with personal lives continues to be a challenge. We continue to be faced with obstacles that prevent many working mothers from achieving their desired professional potential. The pandemic was a stark reminder of this. Extraordinary numbers of women found they needed to step back or away from their careers because of childcare demands exacerbated by the pandemic.

What’s the most common piece of advice you find yourself giving other leaders or aspiring leaders? Take the emotion out of a situation so that you can examine it with clarity.

What advice would you give those looking to become an active mentor? Pay it forward. Remember when you were inspired and encouraged by others along the way.

How do you choose which causes and organizations to devote your time to? My professional and personal life influence my choices. I run an institution that’s the pride of the city, so it’s important for me to actively participate as a stakeholder here. Nashville is also home to my family, and I am committed to participating as a citizen. I serve on a number of civic boards, including the Nashville Downtown Partnership Board, the Nashville Civic Design Center, the Historic Capitol Corridor Foundation, the Centennial Park Conservancy and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. I also serve on the board of the Tennessee Hospitality & Tourism Association and the Greater Nashville Hospitality Association.

How and when did your involvement with nonprofits begin? And what advice would you give to someone looking to get seriously involved for the first time? I believe that an important component of building a professional life is becoming a stakeholder in your community. Find causes and groups that interest you on a personal and professional level and volunteer, seek out mentors, build relationships, identify people who inspire you and do your best to surround yourself with them.