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New diversity panel launched as hospitality firms mark International Women’s Day

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New diversity panel launched as hospitality firms mark International Women’s Day

A new diversity forum has been established to coincide with International Women’s Day with the aim of promote equality and inclusivity in the sector.

UKHospitality’s Diversity Forum will gather members together to share creative ways to ensure the industry provides opportunities to all, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age or sexuality.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The hospitality sector has a great record on issues like gender balance and pay. One of our biggest strengths is that we are a true meritocracy that provides opportunities without discrimination. There is, however, more that we can do to ensure that representation is equal at all levels of business, including senior management and board levels.

“Our diversity forum will provide members with an opportunity to share best practice and solutions to tackle inequality and promote equality in their businesses and the wider sector. This means tackling issues such as pay but also ensuring that team members are supported and free from harassment or discrimination.”

Many firms across the industry have been celebrating International Women’s Day.

Red Carnation Hotel Collection:

Red Carnation Hotel Collection has achieved 50:50 gender parity in its workforce. It offers flexible working to accommodate childcare and has a graduate management programme and degree apprenticeship scheme, both of which currently have more women enrolled than men.

The company also highlighted founder Bea Tollman as a “trailblazing” woman in the industry.

Liz McGivern, vice-president of people and culture, said: “Gender parity has always been the goal for us here at the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, and we’re very proud to have an equal number of women and men in the business. We offer identical opportunities for everyone to develop within Red Carnation, and we’ve seen some amazing career trajectories amongst our female staff. One such example is the general manager of the Egerton House Hotel in Knightsbridge, Michelle Devlin, who joined the business as executive head housekeeper in 2005 and, since 2012, has been very successfully at the helm of one of London’s most luxurious boutique hotels, taking the award-winning property from strength to strength.”

Compass Group UK and Ireland

Compass Group UK and Ireland today announced it had teamed up with Mumsnet to launch a Leadership Accelerator Programme aimed at advancing women returning from maternity leave into leadership positions. The course will take its first intake of women this spring.

HR director Donna Catley said: “Returning to work after maternity leave can sometimes be a daunting prospect for women and as a market leader we believe that we have the opportunity to make a difference and have a positive impact on our returners. This pioneering partnership with Mumsnet and [training provider] Corndel will enable us to better support out female colleagues who have either taken maternity leave or returned in the last two years. We hope that by creating this programme we are developing a blueprint for many others in our industry.”


Healthy takeaway brand Abokado chose to announce the appointment of Kara Alderin as managing director on International Women’s Day.

The company, which has 24 outlets in London, has promoted Alderin from the position of operations director. Alderin was appointed to the company in February 2018 and will now also join the board.


Contract catering giant Sodexo has announced the launched of a SoTogether FM Hub, which will provide employees with an opportunity to come together and learn about ways to advance their careers.

The company has also created a month-long global shadowing programme called SheWorks, which will pair women looking to advance their careers with Sodexo ambassadors.

The catering company hopes such programmes will see it achieve gender parity by 2025.

Sarah Perry, HR director, said: “We are passionate about promoting gender balance and seek to develop talented women to progress within the company.”


London landowner Shaftesbury, whose estate includes many F&B operators, launched a #BalanceforBetter campaign to mark International Women’s Day.

It organised a week of activities including a collaboration with feminist activist and author Scarlett Curtis, a free book exchange with empowering female authors, a film screening of Colette at Covent Garden Hotel, and free daily yoga workshops.

Karen Baines, head of group marketing and communications at Shaftesbury, said: “Seven Dials’ initiatives for International Women’s Day speak directly to the community values of the village, while providing a unique way for operators to interact with visitors and facilitate memorable experiences. Many of the brands throughout Seven Dials are founded and run by woman, or a balanced dual partnership, so it is a natural choice to host celebrations here for the second year running.”



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