For as long as she can remember, Jill Torke has wanted to work in a major hotel. She followed her dreams, and started her hospitality career at the Hamilton Stouffer Hotel in Illinois more than two decades ago. Ms. Torke transferred to the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago in 2003, and has been with them ever since. She considers her greatest strength to be her ability to work with a diverse team and come to a common agreement. Ms. Torke is also proud of the fact that five of her team members have been promoted to leadership roles. She was inspired by one of her own superiors, who taught her the value of always striving for perfection.
As a woman, the greatest challenge Ms. Torke has faced is being recognized as an equal in leadership roles. Additionally, while brand standards are extremely important, she feels that, in a competitive industry, there needs to be more freedom for creativity. Ms. Torke believes that she and her team members could stay true to the brand if they had some flexibility. Even in the face of these obstacles, Ms. Torke has still had an extremely successful career. She won the Ritz-Carlton Leader of the Year Award in 2007 and 2009, which marked the first time anyone has ever won for two separate years.
To prepare for her professional endeavors, Ms. Torke earned a Bachelor of Arts in hospitality with a minor in business management from the University of Wisconsin, Stout. She also completed ongoing leadership and management training with Ritz-Carlton. Moving forward, Ms. Torke hopes to become the general manager of a luxury corporate hotel someday. She would like to be remembered for creating great, successful, and productive teams. When she isn’t working, Ms. Torke enjoys soul cycling and being with her seven grandchildren. She is also an honored member of The International Women’s Leadership Association.
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