If you’re seeking a role model in the hotel industry, look no further than JoAnn Wrenn, general manager of The Logan. Her success story is inspiring and it’s certainly not lost on her. “I love my story. I talk about it every day with our associates,” she says. “This industry really lets you go after what you want.”
Wrenn, who was born and raised in Philadelphia, got her feet wet at the front desk at a hotel in San Antonio. It was originally a means to an end—a way to pay some bills during school, but that quickly changed. “Once I started, I never looked back. I knew this was what I wanted to do.”
She liked making people happy. “In this business we are paid to create memories. I always wanted to make it special for guests.” She rose through the ranks over a 25-year career, shifting from operations to sales and eventually serving as general manager at two hotels in Denver, but she always knew she’d be back to Philadelphia. “It wasn’t a question of if, it was when,” she says of her return. Wrenn was part of the team that oversaw The Logan’s 2015 opening. “When I walked out of the hotel after the opening, I just had a feeling I’d be back.”
Indeed, she has returned, having joined The Logan in late August 2017 as general manager. “The Logan is so special because it is really in the middle of it all. There’s a sense of arrival here, that it’s truly Philadelphia’s hotel. It’s a place people come to and not through,” says Wrenn. While she sings the praises of the hotel’s great style, Urban Farmer’s inventive farm-to-table menu and the 1,800-piece art collection, it’s the people—and her relationships with them—that make this hotel truly special. You won’t find Wrenn behind closed doors or sitting at her desk very often, as she starts her day by doing a walk-through of the front and back offices, stopping along the way to ask how an associate’s vacation was or how their sick child is feeling. While her job title ensures that she takes great care of The Logan’s guests, she treats the staff with the same attention.
This single mother of four teenage and preteen children is no stranger to chaos. In fact, she thrives on it. “When we’re turning over a ballroom or stripping beds because of a late check-out and an early check-in and it’s all hands on deck—I love that.” Her enthusiasm is infectious and her ability to live out her own story of climbing the ladder has made her a leader who is happiest when her staff is reaching their goals. “I had a GM who took a chance on me. Now I want to do that.” It’s not just a pep talk; Wrenn beams when sharing a story about a recent staff member’s transition from housekeeping to the front desk. Blurring the lines between hotel guests, locals and staff, Wrenn’s and The Logan’s raison d'être is community. “It’s about creating an environment that is the best— a place people want to be.”