Robyn Bridges lives by the mantra, “To whom much is given, much is required.” She believes that as human beings, we are called to serve each other. She shares, “I can’t imagine how it would feel to have the opportunities I have and not be compelled to return service to those around you.”
With 26 years in the hospitality industry and 19 years with Auburn-Opelika Tourism, Robyn has a great deal of experience providing the places and the experiences that shape people’s minds and hearts, and lives.
Robyn serves as the President & CEO of Auburn-Opelika Tourism, a non-profit service organization driving economic impact and improving the quality of life in the local community through the visitor economy.
“Simply put, we make our community better. Through operationalizing our five pillars, our small but mighty team of seven ensures that we are properly serving and engaging with community partners, government, thought leaders, residents, and visitors.”
The team values and maintains ongoing communication and collaboration with all stakeholders to fulfill the organization’s mission and drive brand awareness and positive impact on the community. Robyn says, “I won the lottery of careers. An opportunity to lead a team whose only mission and only motivation is to make their community better in a place like Auburn, Alabama: that’s something I’m grateful for every day my feet hit the ground. If I am successful, it is because I remember every day how lucky I am, and I spend each day doing whatever I can to return that grace and good to my community.”
Robyn is a strong believer that women are a natural fit for leadership. The skills that we possess, the natural ability to empathize with and work for those in our care, the emotional intelligence and intuition, are the skills that elevate women as leaders in our communities, at home, and in the workplace.
Strategic and intentional decisions about the care of those on our teams and in our networks aren’t weaknesses. Robyn knows that people are more important than profit because without one, we will never have the other. Through everything she does, she reminds the people around her that the traditional and ruthless mentality of “bottom line first” is an antiquated relic and will not serve us in the world we now live in.
Robyn is a perfect fit as a 40/40 honoree, because she inherently lives by the Focus Empowers mission. She urges our fellow women, not just men, to recognize and acknowledge the power of what we can bring to the table. Robyn believes it is our job as women, in particular, to ensure that we are always lifting up the women around us who need our support, leadership, and friendship.
“Do not measure yourself by your successes; measure yourself by your efforts. The world presents us with countless obstacles, from big ones with faces we know like gender inequality to smaller ones in disguise like misogyny, equal access, imposter syndrome, and social & behavioral expectations. Our struggles in the face of these obstacles should never be confused with failure. Success is in continuing despite the struggle.”
As a leader in the community, Robyn sees first-hand the issues that families and women continue to face. She notes that one of the most widespread problems is an available workforce, and specifically, labor participation. No industry is immune, and the ramifications of an ongoing crisis are extensive. Robyn knows that if there was a simple solution, we’d have found it by now, but one major roadblock to overcome first is affordable child care for working mothers.
Robyn Bridges has a knack for hospitality and welcomes all those around with her open arms. If she could give one piece of advice to her younger self, she’d say, “Don’t take yourself so seriously! And remember that people won’t remember you for your words or your accomplishments or your titles. They will remember you for the way you treat them.”
Robyn Bridges: President & CEO – Auburn-Opelika Tourism