PRESIDENT A ND CEO, ACCENT INNS
Mandy Farmer grabbed the reins as CEO of her family's motel chain, Victoriabased Accent Inns, in 2008, just as the global economy was collapsing. The business was taking on water, literally and figuratively. Leaky condo syndrome afflicted its five buildings, and falling property prices sank the company's valuation.
Farmer bailed out Accent with two fresh approaches. First, she revitalized her motels to set them apart from their deep-pocketed corporate competitors. Being a smaller company has its advantages: “We can do whatever we want,” Farmer explains. She gave her team freedom to add fun, personal touches: rubber ducks in the tubs and nightstands stocked with office supplies.
Next, Farmer pushed boundaries further with two freshly remodelled properties under Accent's four-year-old Hotel Zed brand. Guests can borrow bikes, roller skates and games. In the closet, there's a mini-disco with a fog machine. Farmer, who estimates that the company's value has grown fourfold, plans to add more properties to the seven it operates now.