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Five Resort Stocks to Buy Despite Russia’s War Causing Civilians to Die

Five resort stocks to buy appear safe from Russia’s war in the Ukraine that keeps causing civilians to die. The five resort stocks to buy are well diversified…



Five resort stocks to buy appear safe from Russia’s war in the Ukraine that keeps causing civilians to die.

The five resort stocks to buy are well diversified into other regions of the world that are showing signs of economic recovery after the worst ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic seem to have eased. As restrictions on consumers and businesses alike have waned, along with new cases and deaths, travel and leisure have been rebounding, especially among those who financial resources are most robust.

With third-quarter earnings reported, 11 of 16 lodging companies, including resorts, met or beat expectations, with the group’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) coming in about 4% ahead, despite revenues only up 1%, according to BofA Global Research. Resorts are showing margin recovery, despite slowing compared to prior quarters, as demand is strong to stable with no cracks, while overall revenue per available room (RevPAR) trends seem to be flattening entering the fourth quarter, BofA reported.

Five Resort Stocks to Buy Include Host Hotels & Resorts

Penson fund Chairman Bob Carlson called the world’s largest lodging real estate investment trust (REIT), Bethesda, Maryland-based Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. (NASDAQ: HST), a good, speculative investment. The company recently opted to focus on North American travel by selling most of its European and Asian businesses, he said.

HST focuses on luxury and up-scale hotels and resorts, said Carlson, who also heads the Retirement Watch investment newsletter. Some industry analysts believe this strategy makes the company more resistant to recessions, but its marginal upper-income customer could be likely to reduce leisure travel to HST’s resorts during a recession, Carlson continued.

“The shares sell at a good value, though the company beat expectations recently,” Carlson counseled. “HST should be considered a leveraged play on travel. It is likely to do better than the average lodging company if travel continues to increase but will decline more than average in a recession.

Bob Carlson, head of the Retirement Watch investment newsletter, talks to Paul Dykewicz.

Seasoned Trader Turned Profit from One of Five Resort Stocks to Buy

Bryan Perry, a seasoned Wall Street trader and leader of the Premium Income Pro advisory service, recommended both the stock and call options in Host Hotels & Resorts. Perry, who spotted the trading opportunity in the stock and the options, turned more than a 10% profit in roughly 10 months with those trades, despite the major indexes declining at the same time.

The U.S. government’s release of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for November showed a smaller-than-forecast 0.1% increase, compared to consensus estimates of 0.3%. The initial reaction by the market was a 700-point move to the upside for the Dow in the opening half-hour on Dec. 13, followed fading price action in the middle of the day, commented Perry, who also leads the high-yield-focused Cash Machine investment newsletter.

“While the headline was seen as quite bullish, the composition of the report showed that inflation is still pretty elevated in a number of areas,” Perry wrote to his subscribers. “But the key takeaway from the report at first glance is that overall inflation is starting to cool. So, the Fed should be convinced to temper the pace of its interest rate hikes and perhaps place a lower ceiling on its terminal rate.”

Paul Dykewicz interviews Bryan Perry, head of Premium Income Pro.

The company announced on Nov. 2 that it acquired the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole, a 125-room luxury resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for approximately $315 million in cash. The acquisition price represents a 13.6x EBITDA multiple, or a cap rate of approximately 6.6%, on the Resort’s 2022 estimated results.

The resort is expected to be one of Host’s top three assets, based on estimated full year 2022 results, further improving the quality of the company’s portfolio.

Five Resort Stocks to Buy Feature Unique Ski in/Ski out Resort

The resort is one of only a handful of luxury ski in and ski out resorts in the United States. It sits on 6.3 acres in Teton Village, just steps from the gondola at the base of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, which is regarded as one of the top-rated U.S. ski destinations. Near downtown Jackson and in close proximity to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, the resort is a year-round destination where future supply is expected to be severely restricted.

Opened in 2003, the resort underwent a major guestroom renovation in 2022. No disruptive capital expenditures are expected in the near term, the company announced. In addition, the Jackson Hole Airport is undergoing a $65 million renovation and expansion, scheduled for completion by year-end, to better accommodate year-round demand, shrinking shoulder seasons and increasing visitor growth.

For those with the money to spend, the resort has 125 oversized rooms and suites that average approximately 650 square feet with gas fireplaces, balconies and dramatic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It includes a five-bedroom, 4,700 square foot penthouse, and offers nearly 9,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, three upscale food and beverage outlets with a pool café, two retail outlets and a 16-treatment room alpine spa.

The resort further offers an on-site ski concierge, a private ski club, a kids club and a fitness center. It also features an additional 44 private residences, which are not owned by Host, ranging in size from 1,700 to 3,700 square feet. Of the 44 residences, 30 currently participate in a rental program through the resort.

Host’s President and Chief Executive Officer James F. Risoleo said the Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole is an “iconic, irreplaceable asset” in a new market for the company, as well as one of only a handful of luxury ski resorts in the United States. From 2014 through 2019, the resort achieved a revenue per available room compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8%, significantly outperforming a RevPAR CAGR of 4.3% for its “ultra-luxury” peers during the same time.

With year-round demand generators, no new supply on the horizon and a recent comprehensive guestroom renovation, Host management stated the resort is well positioned to continue outperforming its peers for the long term. Such results would drive value for company shareholders, Host’s management added.

Five Resort Stocks to Buy Vie for Best-in-Class EBITDA Growth

Host management has a goal to generate best-in-class EBITDA growth to drive long-term, risk-adjusted returns for its stockholders. The company’s aim is to create long-term stockholder value by acquiring, selling, renovating and developing luxury and upper upscale hotels, primarily in the United States. The company currently has 78 hotels, 42,200 rooms and holds non-controlling interests in one international and seven domestic joint ventures.

Host management expressed the view that the resort’s 2022 performance is muted due to the guest room renovation during the first half of the year, as well as Jackson Hole Airport’s closure for approximately three months during the year. By growing year-round occupancy to historical levels and repositioning the food and beverage outlets and public spaces, the company expects the resort to stabilize at approximately 11-13x EBITDA in the 2026-2028 timeframe.

Five Resort Stocks to Buy Cater to Luxury Consumers

BofA gave Host a $18 price objective, based on approximately 9x the investment firm’s 2023 estimated adjusted EBITDA, consistent with the group’s multiple range and history. BofA opined the multiple is warranted given Host’s asset quality, “best-in-class management team” and significant equity market liquidity, which helps differentiate the company from its peers.

However, Host has “meaningful” Top 25 U.S. market exposure, particularly in urban cores that are underperforming due to the pandemic, BofA added.

Chart courtesy of

Potential outperformance of the BofA price target for HST could come from better-than-expected RevPAR growth and higher-than-forecast earnings gains from a rise in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity. Risks that could cause Host to fall short of the price objective are a weakening in the overall economic environment, leading to lower levels of business travel and depressed leisure spending, higher-than-expected room supply growth and unforeseen circumstances, such as war or acts of terrorism.


Hyatt Hotels Rates Among Five Resort Stocks to Buy

Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H) recently announced strategic brand growth in the Latin America and Caribbean region with a pipeline of more than 20 planned luxury and lifestyle hotels and resort openings through 2024, including expansion of Hyatt brands into new markets. With elevated amenities, from bike rentals to butler service and endless adventures, patrons may well bask in luxury.

The choices for customers include:

  • Beach resorts: Explore the rainforest at Andaz Mau that can be toured by visitors to the Wailea Resort or go from a villa to a private white-sand beach at Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa.
  • Spa resorts: Rejuvenate at a day-long spa visit at Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa or try traditional healing customs to balance body and mind at Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa.
  • Golf resorts: Tee off amid towering pine trees at Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino, or take advantage of guest-preferred tee times at Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa’s 27 holes.
  • All-inclusive resorts: Dine at gourmet à la carte restaurants, and down premium drinks while accessing both day and nighttime activities.

Latin America and the Caribbean are top leisure destinations for global travelers, said Camilo Bolaños, Hyatt’s senior vice president of development, Latin America & the Caribbean. Driven by leisure travel demand, the newly opened and expected hotels and resorts mark significant growth milestones for Hyatt, he added.

Hyatt received a $110 price objective from BofA, based on a valuation below more “asset-light peers” such as Hilton Worldwide (NYSE: HLT), of McLean, Virginia. BofA wrote of Hyatt riding the lodging cycle recovery to reap hefty exposure to fee-based revenue, strong net unit growth (NUG), recovery potential and operating leverage through group and corporate-owned-hotel exposure, incentive management fee recovery and valuation multiple expansion.

BofA’s price target could be surpassed due to possible catalysts that include Hyatt’s asset sales exceeding expectations, acquisition of Apple Leisure Group providing additional upside, group recovery, pent-up demand coming back stronger than expected in second-half 2022 and net unit growth continuing to outperform lodging peers. Key risks to the price goal are maintaining significant exposure to China, which may face headwinds due to COVID policies, cases of COVID delaying a return to office trend and creating a headwind to corporate travel and heavy exposure to the luxury segment that has lagged the rest of the industry, BofA wrote.

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Connell Favors Hyatt as One of Five Resort Stocks to Buy


At the onset of November, Hyatt reported a strong third-quarter performance. The company’s recent acquisition of the Apple Leisure Group, a luxury resort management service company, made the difference, said Michelle Connell, a former portfolio manager who now heads Dallas-based Portia Capital Management. The purchase allowed Hyatt to double its global resort footprint.

Michelle Connell leads Dallas-based Portia Capital Management.

Now, 70% of Hyatt global portfolio is in the luxury and upscale hospitality segment. This bodes well, since the luxury consumer has not pulled back on travel spending, Connell said.

Business travel is starting to recover from the pandemic, with 2022 near Hyatt’s pre-pandemic mark and 2023 looking bright, Connell said. Group booking revenue for the third quarter of 2022 finished just 3% below 2019 levels.

Playa Hotels Takes the Plunge as One of Five Resort Stocks to Buy

Playa Hotels & Resorts (NASDAQ: PLYA) is an Amsterdam, The Netherlands, owner, operator and developer of all-inclusive resorts in prime beachfront locations in popular vacation destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. The company had amassed a total portfolio consisting of 25 resorts, encompassing 9,352 rooms, in Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, as of Sept. 30. BofA is recommending the stock, which is not directly affected by the fallout from Russia’s continuing invasion of Ukraine.

In Mexico, Playa owned and managed Hyatt Zilara Cancún, Hyatt Ziva Cancún, Wyndham Alltra Cancún, Wyndham Alltra Playa del Carmen, Hilton Playa del Carmen All-Inclusive Resort, Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta and Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos. In Jamaica, Playa owns and manages Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall, Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort & Spa and Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort & Spa.

BofA’s $12 price objective for the stock is based on 10x the investment firm’s EBITDA forecast of $230, which remains largely in-line with the company’s average historical 11.4x one-year forward EBITDA. The company should benefit from pent-up leisure demand, recovery in room rates and travel, as well as shift in distribution channel mix which could push rates above pre-pandemic levels.

Risks to attaining BofA’s price objective are new resort supply, particularly in Cancun to challenge current rates, along with an uptick in number of hard-to-underwrite exogenous shocks, such as hurricanes and tropical storms, Zika virus, other tourist safety concerns and increased operational and financial risk. The latter risk includes factors that cause internal control weaknesses, BofA wrote.

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Vail Ranks Among Five Resort Stocks to Buy

Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN), of Broomfield, Colorado, is another BofA recommendation, as well as a holding of New York-based Baron Funds. Vail’s focus includes using data to drive a unique, advanced customer commitment for a recurring business model. MTN is also well positioned to benefit from high-end, pent-up leisure demand in the coming ski season.

Baron Growth Fund (BGRFX) is a prominent shareholder of Vail Resorts. Connell, the chief executive officer of Portia Capital Management, of Dallas, Texas, praised Vail, too. Key reasons Connell calls for investing in MTN include:

  • Strong growing revenues in a softening economy. Despite MTN increasing ticket prices 7.5%, the company’s revenue from ski passes was already up 7% for the year through the end of September 2022.
  • $320 Million Invested for Improved Consumer Experience. Just in time for the 2022-23 ski season, MTN invested $320 million to install 19 new chairlifts across 14 of its resorts.
  • Investment in Data Infrastructure. MTN has also invested heavily so that the online experience of its consumers is smoother and faster.
  • MTN should appeal to the environmentally conscious young investor who also skis. The company is ahead of schedule to meet its target of 2030 to have a zero net (carbon) operating footprint.
  • Estimated 12-month upside for MTN:15-25%.

Chart courtesy of

Chart courtesy of

Wyndham Wraps up List of Five Resort Stocks to Buy

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: WH), of Parsippany, New Jersey, netted a $85 price objective and a buy recommendation from BoA. The valuation is based on approximately 15x of BofA’s 2023 estimated EBITDA, a discount to trading peers such as Hilton, Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott International (NASDAQ: MAR) and Rockville, Maryland-based Choice Hotels International (NYSE: CHH). The value also is in-line with the long-term average of asset-light lodging C-corps, BofA added.

BofA opined the Wyndham multiple is warranted given WH’s competitive advantage in scale and stability in earnings from its pure franchised business. The market is discounting WH to factor in a historically significant number of deletions every year, offset by a business that’s almost all based solely on fees. The price objective is also in-line with a midcycle multiple on recovery earnings discounted back to 2022 estimates.

Outperformance above BofA’s price target for WH could occur due to an accelerating RevPAR environment, aided by better macroeconomic data, greater-than-expected margin expansion and net-unit-growth ahead of expectations. Risks to BofA’s price objective are greater-than-expected economic weakness, bigger-than-forecast dips in travel demand, deepened delays in hotel development that may slow system growth, worse-than-expected business and consumer spending, along with declines in overall travel demand.

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COVID-19 Will Not Endanger Five Resort Stocks to Buy

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged people to wear masks to deter the spread of COVID-19, a circulating strain of the flu and a serious respiratory virus. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said doing so would cut the chance of catching or spreading such virulent viruses.

With flu and respiratory syncytial virus spreading at high levels in the United States as COVID cases recently rose, hospital emergency departments are strained. Walensky said everyone who is eligible to receive a bivalent booster and a flu shot should get them.

China’s economy may gain a short-term boost from relaxing its COVID-19-related lockdowns a bit, but the virus does pose a risk of causing a spike in cases and deaths due to the nation’s less-than-stellar vaccines. Weak global and domestic demand, public protests about the county’s zero-COVID policy and a real estate slump are risks to the world’s second-biggest economy.

COVID-19 cases in the United States totaled 99,562,290 and deaths climbed to 1,085,319, as of Dec. 13, according to Johns Hopkins University. America has the dreaded distinction of incurring the most COVID-19 cases and deaths of any nation. Worldwide COVID-19 deaths hit 6,656,392 people, up 6,000 since Dec. 9, while total cases reached 650,422,621, Johns Hopkins reported on Dec. 13.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 267,654,789 people, or 80.6% the U.S. population, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as of Dec. 7. People who have completed the primary COVID-19 doses totaled 228,604,758 of the U.S. population, or 68.9%, according to the CDC. The United States also has given a bivalent COVID-19 booster to 40,007,377 people who are age 18 and up, accounting for 15.5% of the U.S. population in that age group on Dec. 7, compared to 14.7% a week ago.

The five resort stocks to buy are mostly immune from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began on Feb. 24 and has escalated lately. Despite Russia’s leaders calling their continuing shelling and missile firing a “special military operation,” the five resort stocks to buy cater to well-healed customers who can afford to splurge on travel even though an estimated 100,000 have been killed on each side of the Russia-Ukraine conflict that is not showing any signs of abating.

Paul Dykewicz,, is an accomplished, award-winning journalist who has written for Dow Jones, the Wall Street JournalInvestor’s Business DailyUSA Today, the Journal of Commerce, Seeking Alpha, Guru Focus and other publications and websites. Paul, who can be followed on Twitter @PaulDykewicz, is the editor of and, a writer for both websites and a columnist. He further is editorial director of Eagle Financial Publications in Washington, D.C., where he edits monthly investment newsletters, time-sensitive trading alerts, free e-letters and other investment reports. Paul previously served as business editor of Baltimore’s Daily Record newspaper. Special Holiday Offer: Paul is the author of an inspirational book, “Holy Smokes! Golden Guidance from Notre Dame’s Championship Chaplain,” with a foreword by former national championship-winning football coach Lou Holtz. The book is great holiday gift and is endorsed by Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, Ara Parseghian, “Rocket” Ismail, Reggie Brooks, Dick Vitale and many othersCall 202-677-4457 for special pricing on multiple-book purchases.

The post Five Resort Stocks to Buy Despite Russia’s War Causing Civilians to Die appeared first on Stock Investor.

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COVID-19 lockdowns linked to less accurate recollection of event timing

Participants in a survey study made a relatively high number of errors when asked to recollect the timing of major events that took place in 2021, providing…



Participants in a survey study made a relatively high number of errors when asked to recollect the timing of major events that took place in 2021, providing new insights into how COVID-19 lockdowns impacted perception of time. Daria Pawlak and Arash Sahraie of the University of Aberdeen, UK, present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on May 31, 2023.

Credit: Arianna Sahraie Photography, CC-BY 4.0 (

Participants in a survey study made a relatively high number of errors when asked to recollect the timing of major events that took place in 2021, providing new insights into how COVID-19 lockdowns impacted perception of time. Daria Pawlak and Arash Sahraie of the University of Aberdeen, UK, present these findings in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on May 31, 2023.

Remembering when past events occurred becomes more difficult as more time passes. In addition, people’s activities and emotions can influence their perception of the passage of time. The social isolation resulting from COVID-19 lockdowns significantly impacted people’s activities and emotions, and prior research has shown that the pandemic triggered distortions in people’s perception of time.

Inspired by that earlier research and clinical reports that patients have become less able to report accurate timelines of their medical conditions, Pawlak and Sahraie set out to deepen understanding of the pandemic’s impact on time perception.

In May 2022, the researchers conducted an online survey in which they asked 277 participants to give the year in which several notable recent events occurred, such as when Brexit was finalized or when Meghan Markle joined the British royal family. Participants also completed standard evaluations for factors related to mental health, including levels of boredom, depression, and resilience.

As expected, participants’ recollection of events that occurred further in the past was less accurate. However, their perception of the timing of events that occurred in 2021—one year prior to the survey—was just an inaccurate as for events that occurred three to four years earlier. In other words, many participants had difficulty recalling the timing of events coinciding with COVID-19 lockdowns.

Additionally, participants who made more errors in event timing were also more likely to show greater levels of depression, anxiety, and physical mental demands during the pandemic, but had less resilience. Boredom was not significantly associated with timeline accuracy.

These findings are similar to those previously reported for prison inmates. The authors suggest that accurate recollection of event timing requires “anchoring” life events, such as birthday celebrations and vacations, which were lacking during COVID-19 lockdowns.

The authors add: “Our paper reports on altered timescapes during the pandemic. In a landscape, if features are not clearly discernible, it is harder to place objects/yourself in relation to other features. Restrictions imposed during the pandemic have impoverished our timescape, affecting the perception of event timelines. We can recall that events happened, we just don’t remember when.


In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS ONE:

Citation: Pawlak DA, Sahraie A (2023) Lost time: Perception of events timeline affected by the COVID pandemic. PLoS ONE 18(5): e0278250.

Author Countries: UK

Funding: The authors received no specific funding for this work.

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Hyro secures $20M for its AI-powered, healthcare-focused conversational platform

Israel Krush and Rom Cohen first met in an AI course at Cornell Tech, where they bonded over a shared desire to apply AI voice technologies to the healthcare…



Israel Krush and Rom Cohen first met in an AI course at Cornell Tech, where they bonded over a shared desire to apply AI voice technologies to the healthcare sector. Specifically, they sought to automate the routine messages and calls that often lead to administrative burnout, like calls about scheduling, prescription refills and searching through physician directories.

Several years after graduating, Krush and Cohen productized their ideas with Hyro, which uses AI to facilitate text and voice conversations across the web, call centers and apps between healthcare organizations and their clients. Hyro today announced that it raised $20 million in a Series B round led by Liberty Mutual, Macquarie Capital and Black Opal, bringing the startup’s total raised to $35 million.

Krush says that the new cash will be put toward expanding Hyro’s go-to-market teams and R&D.

“When we searched for a domain that would benefit from transforming these technologies most, we discovered and validated that healthcare, with staffing shortages and antiquated processes, had the greatest need and pain points, and have continued to focus on this particular vertical,” Krush told TechCrunch in an email interview.

To Krush’s point, the healthcare industry faces a major staffing shortfall, exacerbated by the logistical complications that arose during the pandemic. In a recent interview with Keona Health, Halee Fischer-Wright, CEO of Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), said that MGMA’s heard that 88% of medical practices have had difficulties recruiting front-of-office staff over the last year. By another estimates, the healthcare field has lost 20% of its workforce.

Hyro doesn’t attempt to replace staffers. But it does inject automation into the equation. The platform is essentially a drop-in replacement for traditional IVR systems, handling calls and texts automatically using conversational AI.

Hyro can answer common questions and handle tasks like booking or rescheduling an appointment, providing engagement and conversion metrics on the backend as it does so.

Plenty of platforms do — or at least claim to. See RedRoute, a voice-based conversational AI startup that delivers an “Alexa-like” customer service experience over the phone. Elsewhere, there’s Omilia, which provides a conversational solution that works on all platforms (e.g. phone, web chat, social networks, SMS and more) and integrates with existing customer support systems.

But Krush claims that Hyro is differentiated. For one, he says, it offers an AI-powered search feature that scrapes up-to-date information from a customer’s website — ostensibly preventing wrong answers to questions (a notorious problem with text-generating AI). Hyro also boasts “smart routing,” which enables it to “intelligently” decide whether to complete a task automatically, send a link to self-serve via SMS or route a request to the right department.

A bot created using Hyro’s development tools. Image Credits: Hyro

“Our AI assistants have been used by tens of millions of patients, automating conversations on various channels,” Krush said. “Hyro creates a feedback loop by identifying missing knowledge gaps, basically mimicking the operations of a call center agent. It also shows within a conversation exactly how the AI assistant deduced the correct response to a patient or customer query, meaning that if incorrect answers were given, an enterprise can understand exactly which piece of content or dataset is labeled incorrectly and fix accordingly.”

Of course, no technology’s perfect, and Hyro’s likely isn’t an exception to the rule. But the startup’s sales pitch was enough to win over dozens of healthcare networks, providers and hospitals as clients, including Weill Cornell Medicine. Annual recurring revenue has doubled since Hyro went to market in 2019, Krush claims.

Hyro’s future plans entail expanding to industries adjacent to healthcare, including real estate and the public sector, as well as rounding out the platform with more customization options, business optimization recommendations and “variety” in the AI skills that Hyro supports.

“The pandemic expedited digital transformation for healthcare and made the problems we’re solving very clear and obvious (e.g. the spike in calls surrounding information, access to testing, etc.),” Krush said. “We were one of the first to offer a COVID-19 virtual assistant that deployed in under 48 hours based on trusted information from the health system and trusted resources such as the CDC and World Health Organization …. Hyro is well funded, with good growth and momentum, and we’ve always managed a responsible budget, so we’re actually looking to expand and gather more market share while competitors are slowing down.”

Hyro secures $20M for its AI-powered, healthcare-focused conversational platform by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch

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How to hone your leadership skills, and what your company can do to help

In the rapidly changing, ambiguous and unpredictable world of work, future leaders must be able to learn fast.




Leadership potential. GaudiLab/Shutterstock

The UK labour market has finally started to see a fall in vacancies following a post-COVID spike in open positions. But there are still more than a million job vacancies, which are “damaging the economy by preventing firms from fulfilling order books and taking on new work”, according to the British Chambers of Commerce.

A recent survey by this business lobby group found four-fifths of firms can’t recruit the people they need. Companies often look outside for external candidates to fill senior roles, but this overlooks current employees who may have the potential to move up within an organisation – even if they do not know it yet.

Overlooking employees often happens when management plays it safe, rather than risking giving “one of their own” an important new assignment. The resulting untapped employee potential can leave people feeling underused and frustrated. You need to be given opportunities to stretch, learn and develop to fulfil your potential at work.

Quarter life, a series by The Conversation

This article is part of Quarter Life, a series about issues affecting those of us in our twenties and thirties. From the challenges of beginning a career and taking care of our mental health, to the excitement of starting a family, adopting a pet or just making friends as an adult. The articles in this series explore the questions and bring answers as we navigate this turbulent period of life. You may be interested in:

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Human resource managers use potential – and in particular, leadership potential – to identify the employees that could be their organisation’s future leaders. In the business world (and often in academic research too), the term “high potential” typically means you are able to develop further and faster than others in a similar situation.

Someone with leadership potential has the capacity to be an effective leader in the future, but may need support to develop the right skills and experience to succeed. So, how can you work out your own leadership potential? Research highlights three main traits you need:

1. Growth: learning and motivation

Many studies identify the ability to learn as key to predicting future leadership effectiveness. This incorporates keenness to learn, the ability to extract as many lessons as possible from different experiences, and to adapt by applying these to enhance your future performance.

This explains why some people learn more from their experiences (and develop faster) than others. There is also a motivational component that includes drive and perseverance to achieve results, and the ambition to lead.

2. Foundational: cognitive and personality characteristics

Research shows that people who are more emotionally balanced, sociable, ambitious, conscientious and curious are more likely to become leaders.

Also, because it’s important to be able to make decisions effectively in any senior role, cognitive capabilities are key. These typically include strong judgment skills in complex and ambiguous situations, and being able to collect and evaluate information from diverse sources to reach solid decisions.

3. Career: qualities specific to the future role

Some models of potential also include “career dimensions”, which are specific skills relevant to a future role. For leadership potential, these might include qualities such as strategic thinking or collaboration.

New technology and workplace trends are among the factors that are changing how we work. This means the demands of future roles – and the career-specific qualities required to excel in them – may be quite different to those of your current job. In fact, research shows that more than 70% of today’s top performers still lack the key qualities that will help them to be successful in their future roles.

How can you develop these qualities?

As rapid change renders knowledge and skills out of date at an astonishing rate, the ability to learn is increasingly crucial to future leaders. Rather than “having all the answers”, you need to be able to find or figure the answers out. This means that leaders need the humility to know they don’t know it all, and the interpersonal skills to listen openly and learn from a diverse network of people.

At the height of the COVID pandemic, for example, New Zealand’s then prime minister Jacinda Ardern didn’t have all the answers. But she used her platform to quite literally ask for information. Ardern did a series of video interviews with different experts to get some key answers, speaking to a psychologist about coping with the stresses of the pandemic, and an experienced business mentor about supporting small businesses.

Having asked, listened and sought varied insights, leaders must then apply strong judgment and problem-solving skills to decide on the best way forward – even if there is no obvious path. This draws upon cognitive ability, but it also involves skills that can be learnt.

Man in shirt at laptop, looking forward and sitting between two other people, raising hand.
People with leadership potential ask questions and learn from their experiences. Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Problems identifying potential

Unfortunately, organisations often rely upon current (or past) performance as a barometer of potential, which is far from ideal – not just because only a small proportion of current high performers also have high potential, but because people with strong potential may not currently be performing at their best. Perhaps they aren’t in the right role, or aren’t being sufficiently stretched or supported.

Either way, your employer shouldn’t conflate your current performance with your potential. This could also perpetuate the lack of diversity that persists at leadership level in many firms. Past performance is limited by opportunity. Some people, due to biases and stereotypes, may not have been offered the chance to show what they are capable of yet.

To avoid these problems, organisations need to assess their employees objectively to find those with leadership potential. This could include doing psychometric tests of their personality and cognitive and learning abilities. Simulations of typical tasks or problems could also replicate the likely cognitive demands of future leadership roles, helping to identify people who can best cope and learn from the experience.

Supporting future leaders

It’s important to remember that potential does not automatically unfold once it’s identified. Indeed, some studies claim that 40% of high-potential promotions end in failure.

However, if you’re good at learning from experiences and applying this to improve how you do things, and are motivated to progress and grow, you have a good chance of developing the career dimension qualities needed to be a future leader – and to do this faster than your peers.

But organisations must help by finding ways to stretch employees, while also building the scaffolding to support their learning and development. They should balance challenge with support through coaching, to help employees learn as much as they can from their experiences. If you want to be a future leader, you can then use these experiences to enhance your job performance and reach your full potential.

Zara Whysall also works for Kiddy & Partners, part of Gateley Plc.

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