Jun 1, 2023

Lusharon Wiley

The artwork is a three-dimensional piece that was created by local artist, Trish Woodhouse. After seenig Woodhouse's art, Wiley knew she wanted to have a piece created. "I met with Trish and told her what I wanted - to capture the tobacco bard that I used to work under when I was growing up in South Georgia," Wiley said. "To my amazement, based on my description, Trish was able to design the piece. Working in tobacco and picking cotton are such a big part of my early history."

The move to Pensacola was initiated by the military, but, more than thirty years later Lusharon Wiley, Ph.D., chooses to live in the area because, quite simply, she likes it.

“There is so much to do, opportunities abound and Pensacola is expanding and growing,” Wiley said. “I can hardly wait to see what happens next! I am constantly discovering new things about Pensacola that keep me interested and looking forward to looking for the next adventure. "

Born in Valdosta, Georgia, into a large family with caring parents, she was expected to do the right things. They provided guidance and discipline and an emphasis on education. “I would describe my upbringing as typical for the era. There were rules to follow, work to be done and manners to be shown at all times,” she said. “Education was stressed as one of the ‘must haves' and always showing respect to others was a ‘must do.’

”She earned an undergraduate degree at Tuskegee University, then completed a masters and a doctorate. Wiley worked in social services and then for nearly a quarter of a century, she worked in higher education. Then came the opportunity to join Innisfree Hotels where she serves as vice president of corporate culture. Innisfree is a Florida-based hotel management, marketing and development company where Wiley is responsible for managing and leading the company’s culture practices by providing expertise and support in the areas of employee engagement and retention, diversity and inclusion, culture training and navigating difference. Wiley is enthusiastic about her work and its importance to the organization and its team members.

“At Innisfree Hotels, our culture underpins our success,” she said. “I work with other members of the senior leadership team to ensure that the Innisfree work environment is inclusive and welcoming to all team members. Going beyond the routine practices of diversity and inclusion, culture practices and training at Innisfree are intentional. Team members participate in culture training each year to learn skills that foster an inclusive work environment while helping them to succeed both in the workplace and in their personal lives. The skills they are taught are built on the premise of cooperation rather than competition. ”Wiley says that Innisfree understands the importance of continual improvement and on going practice and with an underpinning of culture practices and training, Innisfree continues to expand its portfolio and service as an organizational leader in the community. “Through our social responsibility program, The Hive, we are making meaningful impacts in our community. Among the programs that we support, many of which we started, are the Equity Project Alliance, Parent University, and Dixon School of the Arts and Sciences.” Wiley shared. Innisfree continues to innovate and expand to serve Pensacola residents and guests. The Fairfield Inn on Pensacola Beach is nearing completion and one if its newest ventures is Piazza Pizza. “It’s fabulous,” she said of the new pizza restaurant that recently opened in the Hampton Inn Pensacola Beach. “If you are looking for great dining experiences, don’t forget to visit SALT, Water Pig and Red Fish Blue Fish Restaurants at Pensacola Beach. ”Wiley, who grew up moving around in a military family, has long been very active in the Pensacola community and continues to be highly engaged and bring her positive attitude to local nonprofits and was recently a member of the mayoral transition team. She has a love of family, community and her work. “I have two wonderful children and five smart and beautiful grand children. Today, I work in an industry that I adore with team members and colleagues who both support and encourage me but are willing to provide honest feedback when needed. ”Each day she generates good vibes and enjoys their benefits in everything she does.

Wiley's Wisdom

Invite and embrace non-conventional thinking. It doesn’t matter if it’s not the routine way of doing things. YOU are uniquely made– this includes how you think and the things you choose to do. Remember, do you – everyone else is already taken.

Be willing to deep dive into conversations that may become intense; this requires a mindset that is ready to embrace change even amid the “messiness” that it might take to get to the next level. It is often in this place of discomfort and ambiguity that creativity can flourish and might result in something that is transformational.

Be kind to yourself and others.

Select super star supporters. Surround yourself with people who are cheering for you.

Show your appreciation whenever someone helps you. This will open the door to great professional and personal relationships.

Seek opinions – people love giving advice. One of the main reasons we network with people is to take advantage of their experience, skills or knowledge.

Give consistently, receive occasionally.

Remember that another woman’s success is not your failure.

Celebrate others’ success without questioning your own.

Avoid compliments that compare.

Be outrageously and gloriously you!

Keep on inspiring me! Women of Pensacola – you rock!!