A Woman’s Touch
EXPO 2014 Management Training Seminar
While females—specifically, entertainers—are considered the most important facet of the adult nightclub industry, how many clubs utilize women in other positions, including upper management and club security? The three speakers on our “A Woman’s Touch” Management Training Seminar—Sherry Cooper, Jenn Shamy and Maureen Lafferty—helped make the case that having qualified females in upper management positions is something that every club owner should, at the very least, consider.
Jenn Shamy is the co-owner (along with her father, Joe Shamy) of Delilah’s in Philadelphia, and her late mother, Greta Shamy, was well known for her hands-on management style as well as her penchant for utilizing women in management positions. Sherry Cooper is long-time club executive with the Deja Vu Showgirls club chain, having worked as a general manager and marketing executive for the past 20-plus years. And Maureen Lafferty is Delilah’s Operations Manager, who has been with the club for 20 years.
Sherry Cooper began the seminar by showing a video (an impressive, self-produced video, by the way), that depicted famous moments in history—the discovery of fire and the first light bulb, among them—where it was actually a woman responsible for that historic accomplishment.
Cooper’s presentation was both lengthy and impressive, so only her main ideas are covered here; a more comprehensive version of her presentation is featured in this issue on pages (??). She began her comments by noting that it makes sense to have women in management positions, as women are typically more organized than men, they are multi-taskers, they are naturals at delegation, they are detail oriented and men are used to seeking “approval” from women.
“Speaking of approval, I have had more male managers cry in my office that you could imagine—and I’m not mean!” said Cooper. “I don’t raise my voice: all I have to do is give a stern look and tears are flying. I asked once why one of my very macho male managers was crying, and he said that he hated disappointing me, because it was like disappointing his mom.”
As women are better “communicators,” Cooper stated, they are better suited to manage a club’s social media. And as women are typically more “empathetic” than men, they make more effective managers of entertainers than their male counterparts.
When it comes to knowing how to “throw a party,” Cooper added, women are used to being the party planners at home—so why not in your club?
Jenn Shamy, owner and operator of Delilah’s in Philadelphia, noted that many of her club’s upper management are women, though she is quick to note that she does not necessarily favor one sex over another.
“I do think being a good manager is about the person, not about their sex,” said Shamy. “But I am here to talk about the positives that women bring to the table in management positions.”
Shamy did note that she faces “unique challenges” both as a female owner and having females working for her. “I have to earn respect with my brain and not with my body,” Shamy said. “I’m not someone to be pushed around.”
Like Cooper, Shamy noted that working with entertainers and having a positive relationship with them is easier to accomplish as a female manager. “Sometimes they do get too comfortable with me—or at least that’s their perception—but I’d rather it be that way than having no relationship with them at all,” said Shamy. “It’s my choice to be accessible to them. The girls speak to me openly, but the fact is they don’t always get the ‘result’ they’re looking for just because I’m a woman. I set the rules, and all of the managers follow my rules. I don’t make exceptions.”
Shamy offered a perceptive tip when it comes to issues in the club that arise between entertainers and customers. When an entertainer becomes upset or angry at a male customer because of something he said or did to her, having a female manager to handle the situation could be preferable.
“Chances are, in that situation, the last person an entertainer wants to talk to in that (emotional) moment is another man,” said Shamy. “If she gets to talk to a woman about it, it can really help diffuse the situation.”
And speaking of diffusing situations, Shamy noted that Delilah’s participates in many off-site promotions every year that involve entertainers, and a woman is always on hand to manage the entertainers.
“We do several promotions a year, some that are 18 hours long, and a woman is the one who’s best at keeping them from getting intoxicated or doing something they’re not supposed to do,” said Shamy.
Maureen Lafferty, Operations Manager with Delilah’s for the past 20 years, concluded the seminar. Lafferty noted some of the challenges she faces on a regular basis as a female in a power position in a typically male-dominated business.
“I’m always being challenged by vendors; I have to double-check contracts, as they constantly seem to trying to ‘put one over’ on me. But I always catch them. I never see them do this to my male counterparts.”
And echoing both Cooper and Shamy, Lafferty explained that she has formed a bond with many entertainers—becoming a motherly influence in their lives—without sacrificing her ability to have authority over them.
“Entertainers feel close to me—I’m the mom of moms, and they can tell me anything,” said Lafferty. “They tell me everything, and I think there has to be someone in the club where they feel comfortable to talk about anything with.”
When addressing the subject of house moms, Lafferty couldn’t have been more effusive in their value to Delilah’s.
“I cannot encourage everyone enough to have a house mom, 24-7,” she said. “They are the managers the dressing room; they assign lockers, they can put out offer healthy food options, they keep locker room fights from occurring, they monitor drinking and let security know that keys need to be pulled, and they give us all peace of mind.”
Lafferty ended her comments by recalling a story about how she and a male manager dealt with the same entertainer, to very different results.
“This entertainer was a very gorgeous girl, kept hair very short, sometimes bald,” said Lafferty. “She dyed hair crazy colors and had tattoos. Jake, the manager, made her wear a wig and cover her tattoos, which killed her confidence. I’d tell her to take the wig off and show her tattoos, and the customers loved her. Soon she began getting video work out of New York, then dated Kanye West. Her name is Amber Rose. I’m so glad I encouraged her to be the woman she is.”
To listen to the entire seminar ...