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Viewpoint: Supporting inclusivity for all

05 March 2020
Viewpoint: Supporting inclusivity for all

For International Women's Day 2020, CH&Co's Terry Waldron is celebrating the opportunities that hospitality can offer to everyone

It's International Women's Day (IWD) on Sunday (8 March) – a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

The theme for IWD and throughout 2020 is #EachforEqual. This has got me thinking about equality and inclusivity in general – not just gender related, but across all of society. And in particular, how our industry supports inclusivity for all.

The conclusion I came to, I'm glad to say, is that our industry is very well-equipped to support all its people at every stage of their chosen career journeys, balanced with their life. With a wide choice of sectors – from workplaces, events, restaurants and cafés to education and healthcare – foodservice can give people access to the roles and work patterns that match their personal needs, while creating the memorable food and hospitality experiences we're all committed to delivering.

It's so important that industry role models promote this – I remember the people who gave me my opportunities and breaks, from my parents to many female and male industry leaders, and not forgetting my husband and young son. They say it takes a village to bring up a child; I believe the same is true for our life and careers: success is achieved through the input and influence of many.

At CH&Co, we will be celebrating IWD as part of our calendar of inclusive events, all of which celebrate differences. We'll be celebrating the opportunities and the flexibility we can offer everyone.

As a business leader at CH&Co, alongside my fellow leaders (be they male or female), we have a responsibility to nurture all of our talent – people of all backgrounds, abilities, ethnicity, cultures, genders and sexuality. We're incredibly proud of our diverse employee groups who challenge us as leaders daily and their contribution to our business and industry, and we're committed to developing everyone as they wish.

Through meritocracy, we can drive career progression. I ask you, what other industries can help someone with passion and ambition rise from an entry-level role to board level? If you have the desire and drive, the opportunities really are there for the taking.

Those outside of the industry may think working evening or weekends unsociable, but for many this enables their lifestyles, something I call work/life harmony.

Through flexibility we support the changing routines of everyone in our business as their lives pass through different stages. Whether it's starting a family, caring for a family member, studying or dealing with big life changes, we can adapt to provide roles and hours that support the demands of life at a given time.

If we don't work together with our talent and think differently, we risk losing them. Simply put, flexibility is the right thing to do.

I look forward in hope to the day that we have no need for IWD and other awareness days, as that will mean that society is truly inclusive and equal. But, until that day, we'll continue to celebrate and drive our values of inclusivity.

In summary, for the year of IWD, I will continue to celebrate women and men who support women and men and all the great achievements of both women and men – each for equal. It's only by working together that we'll all succeed and thrive.

Terry Waldron is executive director at CH&Co

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