The Connected Leadership Podcast

Navigating a Career in Leadership with Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, CEO & President, FIFA World Cup 2026 Miami Host Committee

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Episode notes

In this episode of the Connected Leadership podcast, Andy Lopata welcomes Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, immediate past vice chairman of external affairs for Royal Caribbean Group and former CEO of Celebrity Cruises. Lisa’s vision and strategy not only propelled Celebrity Cruises to achieve transformational financial results as a brand within the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) portfolio but also dramatically increased the number of women in leadership roles throughout the Celebrity brand. Her passion for building extraordinary ships, creating unique experiences, and opening up the world through travel has brought recognition and countless awards to her and Celebrity Cruises. She is now the CEO and President of the FIFA World Cup 2026 Miami Host Committee.

Lisa shares her extraordinary journey from selling cruises door-to-door in New England to leading a multi-billion-dollar global company. She recently released her memoir Making Waves: A Woman's Rise to the Top Using Smarts, Heart, and Courage Lisa Lutoff-Perlo which chronicles her ascent in the travel industry.

Lisa's entry into the hospitality world started in her parents' coffee shops and restaurants. Despite initially studying accounting, her passion for hospitality led her to the hotel industry and eventually the cruise sector. Her story emphasises that not everyone has a clear career plan, and it's often fate and openness to opportunities that guide one's path. She advises young people to stay open to various opportunities and not feel pressured to have a definitive plan. Networking played a crucial role in Lisa's career and she emphasises the importance of networking both internally within a company and externally in the broader industry.

After 39 years at Royal Caribbean Group, Lisa has transitioned to become the CEO of the FIFA 2026 Miami World Cup Host Committee. This move, despite her lack of experience in sports, showcases her ability to leverage her extensive experience in operations, logistics, and hospitality. She underscores the importance of bringing diverse perspectives and skills to new roles.

Andy and Lisa also discuss the challenges and triumphs of being a woman in a male-dominated industry. She describes her journey of building credibility and turning skeptics into supporters. She highlights the necessity of proving oneself repeatedly and the added responsibility she felt as a trailblazer for other women. Lisa's efforts to promote gender balance within her company illustrate her commitment to fostering diversity and supporting the next generation of female leaders.

Andy and Lisa examine the importance of building relationships before you need them. They follow Lisa’s leadership journey, particularly her experience navigating the cruise industry through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lisa shares valuable lessons on embracing vulnerability, adapting leadership styles, and the importance of empathy and optimism during crises. She emphasises the need for leaders to balance control with compassion and highlights the significance of learning from failures. Tune in to hear inspiring insights on resilient leadership and personal growth from Lisa’s remarkable career

Connect with Andy Lopata: Website | Instagram | LinkedIn | X/Twitter | Youtube

Connect with Lisa Lutoff-Perlo: Website | X/Twitter | LinkedIn | Instagram

FIFA World Cup 2026 Miami Host Committee: Website


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