Hotel Cateys 2015: Human Resources Manager of the Year

02 December 2015
Hotel Cateys 2015: Human Resources Manager of the Year

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Aideen Whelehan, Lancaster London

Unique, inspiring, focused, encouraging and with a clear vision: these were just some of the ways our judges described this year's winner.

Having arrived at the business tasked with upgrading the HR service and support, this industry trailblazer has nurtured the team to allow it to shine brighter than ever, focusing on employee engagement, training, charity, support and best recruitment practice.

Whelehan is responsible for the wellbeing of almost 500 colleagues, and takes on a considerable amount of pressure on a daily basis, yet not only succeeds, but continues to thrive.

Every individual has their own contract and expectations of their role, and it is Whelehan who co-ordinates each team member to personally ensure they are performing to their best, feeling motivated, and getting the most satisfaction and pride out of their work. This fosters an atmosphere in which staff are encouraged to go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to tasks and pleasing guests.

Whelehan is a member of the government's Apprenticeship Trailblazers for Hospitality scheme, and she uses her free time as a chance to educate herself in government plans for youth recruitment. She is also responsible for sharing the Lancaster London apprenticeship programmes throughout the industry.

Whelehan is also a familiar face on a number of internal strategy teams and committees, including the internal consulting committee, the street team action group, the annual children's Christmas party, and the uniform and grooming taskforce, to name but a few. She also leads the Lancaster annual awards event taskforce. Last but by no means least, she also takes a key role in volunteering, with her team dedicating 30 hours over the last quarter to charity activities such as wrapping presents for sick children in St Mary's Hospital.

With such an impressive array of achievements, it's easy to see why the judges called Whelehan an "HR star".

What the judges said

"Aideen has a very strong vision for HR and the hotel, and has implemented many initiatives to achieve her goals, many of which are unique and inspiring. A very deserving winner."

Sarah Banner, director of human resources, Brown's Hotel

"Aideen has a clear vision for the people strategy, which ties in with the overall vision of the hotel. She and the team clearly care about their people, while also encouraging the next generation into the industry."

Jo Harley, managing director, Purple Cubed

"An HR star that has achieved so much already, she looks after her own team as well as the hotel, while supporting industry initiatives."

Ros Young, group HR director, Rocco Forte Hotels

"If all HR professionals are as driven, our discipline is well positioned to excel in the future."

Eugenio Pirri, vice-president, people and organisational development, Dorchester Collection


  • Dawn Hardy, Human resources manager, London Edition

  • Alison McCallum, Director of HR & development, Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh

  • Laura Morgan, Regional HR manager, Andrew Brownsword Hotels

  • Aideen Whelehan, Human resources manager, Lancaster London

Past winners

  • 2014 Mike Williams, Village Urban Resorts

  • 2013 Julia Murrell, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Great Milton, Oxfordshire

  • 2012 Sarah Banner, The Cavendish London

  • 2011 Ros Young, ABode Hotels

  • 2010 Della Fanning, The Marylebone Hotel, London

  • 2009 Liz McGivern, Red Carnation Hotels

  • 2008 Sean Wheeler, Malmaison and Hotel du Vin

  • 2007 Helen Kalyan, Novotel London West

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