A special dinner under open skies

Last week EP brought together a community of people from within and outside the Hospitality industry for a special dinner which was all about women in business.

The full room enjoyed inspirational speakers, delicious food and wines, warm hospitality and quality networking.

EP truly believes in the importance of innovating human talent. How people develop their talent and how companies support talent development has never been more important. Talent development is now essential for the future.

Take-away: A business with a good culture, which is diverse and also inclusive is generally the most successful.

With the Prosecco flowing on the balcony overlooking St. Paul’s Cathedral, the evening was a relaxing and informal event but with an important message behind it.
As the evening set in, on one of the warmest days on the year so far, the room listened to the first speaker on the night – former Team GB member Angela Wilson.

Angela, the CEO of Angela’s Swim School, shared her personal journey of missing out on an Olympic place and using this as the fuel for achieving more. With a successful franchise growing, Angela’s emotional story was inspirational.

Simon Tarr, Chief Executive of People 1st explained why we need to be championing more women to progress into hospitality and tourism. 

“An analysis of workforce figures shows that in 2016, there was no noticeable increase in the number of women progressing into management positions in the hospitality and tourism sector. As of 2016, 61% of operational roles were being undertaken by women compared with 44% of managerial roles. Today there are circa 24,000 fewer women in management positions in the hospitality sector than there were in 2010.”

Simon shared that increased costs, difficulty in recruitment and changing employee attitudes have all challenged the industry, for all people.

“It’s time for many to rethink their people strategies and by attracting, retaining and developing more women, businesses can help address these challenges. Whether attracting women on return from maternity leave, remove unnecessary barriers and more.”

The roof was opened as a surprise for the room when the last speaker on the night, Terry Waldron, took to the stage. Terry’s career has spanned from Gleneagles to Barclays to Group Relationship Director at CH&Co.

Terry took part in a Q&A session and spoke in-depth on her own personal experiences. A relatively new term for many is Unconscious Bias – “It’s something we all have, whether we realise or not. Our upbringing and experiences influence us. We are all guilty of it – awareness and training can make a difference here.”

Terry also stated “Embrace difference. Being different is good and a diverse team can achieve great things. Remember to be inclusive with your diversity. Hospitality is quite good at approaching diversity but we need to talk about it more, heighten our awareness and consider reflecting on the diversity of our customers at all levels.”

With the roof open it was apt for the evening’s conversation on a night enjoyed by all.

With the speed with which technology is developing in this age of automation and digitalisation the only thing left to innovate are humans and human talent. There is a need to enable new leaders, develop and foster new and existing talent and think differently looking to the future.

EP would like to thank all the speakers – Angela Wilson, Simon Tarr and Terry Waldron for their emotional, insightful and important insights. Grange St. Paul’s Hotel for their great Sky Bar and fine food and Villa Maria for sponsoring the delicious wines and all those who attended.

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