March 8 marks International Women’s Day.

A day to celebrate the achievements of women, men who advocate for them and a call to accelerate gender parity. For dynamic companies like The Rezidor Hotel Group, balanced leadership is a business priority. 

Rezidor’s President & CEO, Wolfgang M. Neumann says, “We want to empower women in leadership at The Rezidor Hotel Group and achieve a better leadership balance throughout our company. We are committed to doubling the number of female leaders and shifting the paradigms in the male dominated hospitality industry.”     

“Balanced leadership is a business imperative,” adds Jenny Winkler, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Rezidor. “Many companies have proven that gender-balanced teams create more sustainable results and are more likely to outperform companies that don’t embrace balanced leadership. With the increased diversity in our marketplace, it is very important to reflect this diversity also in the company leadership at corporate level, at our area teams and our hotels.”

Nadine El Assaad, Executive Assistant Manager at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Muscat in Oman has ambitions to be the first Omani female General Manager in Oman. Rezidor’s Mentee Program is helping her achieve that dream. Nadine, a native of Lebanon, started her career as a telephone operator, and moved up to the Rooms Division and Assistant Front Office Manager before changing course to Revenue Management. In 2006, she joined Rezidor. Six years later, she was appointed Executive Assistant Manager at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Muscat. Nadine is passionate about the role of women in leadership, which is easily recognized even with a brief conversation.

Throughout the company, attention is placed on developing female talent. A newly launched mentee program places high-potential leaders with senior leadership role models, who assist with their career development. The company also has a STEPS program, which is specifically for development of high potential women leaders. 

“In Saudi Arabia we have come a long way, from six female employees in 2014 to 84 today, with 12 in leadership positions. We recognize the huge potential of the Saudi hospitality market and we want to make sure we have a strong gender mix to capture this opportunity. And we have more exciting news to announce next week,” said Mark Willis, Area Vice President, Middle East & Turkey.

Balanced leadership

“I am a strong advocate of Balanced Leadership,” says Kathrine Ohm, Vice President, Talent Management for Rezidor. “I don’t believe that we should have only men in senior positions, and I equally do not believe that we should have only women in senior leadership. I believe that we should have a gender balance within our teams.”

Both men and women at Rezidor are passionate about Balanced Leadership. Kristoffer Solstad, area director of Human Resources for the Nordics, says, “For me it is such an obvious business opportunity not to be missed. A balance in leadership encourages healthy discussions where solutions are discussed which one would not even consider in management teams that does not challenge each other to achieve more.”

Kristine Tonning, General Manager of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Nydalen, Oslo, believes Balanced Leadership boosts creativity and innovates power of teams and companies. She feels it is needed to reconnect to employees and their changing needs and wants.

“I am passionate about Balanced Leadership in our organization as I personally experience the great benefit of working in a diverse team,” adds Helene Hallre, Hotel Manager of the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Copenhagen. “The benefit, as I see it, lies in the cooperation where both men and women, of different ages, background and culture bring their insights and views on leadership, decision making and business development into our daily operations.” 

Jennie Sundahl, Director of Sales, Eastern Sweden, says Balanced Leadership is a business opportunity leading the company to success. “It has given me the opportunity to be a role model and coach to develop team members to challenge their unconscious biases and strengthen their self-confidence, she says.”

Talent Development

That self-confidence has helped propel women into new roles, and ­­Rezidor has countless examples of women who have done just that like Coline Sicard, Revenue Manager of Park Inn by Radisson Nice. From an internship at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Brussels and her first job as a receptionist at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Paris Boulogne, Coline developed skills in revenue and accepted the challenge of a revenue position in Nice.

“I knew that during this experience I would have to step out of my comfort zone,” Coline said, “but with great help from my GM, and the team spirit among the other heads of department, I achieved the goals that were given to me.”

Others have made the successful journey to leadership roles, like Lyudmila Kiseleva, aRussian national who started as a sales coordinator at Park Inn by Radisson Yekaterinburg, Russia. She worked her way up the career ladder and after working as an Area Director of Sales, Eastern Europe is now Regional Sales Director for the Middle East.

Originally from a small town in southern Sweden, Natalie Edvardsson moved up from a position as a chef at a small manor house to Operational Manager at the flagship Radisson Blu Strand Hotel in Stockholm.

From accounting clerk at Radisson Blu Resort at Rugen, Germany to executive housekeeping manager at Radisson Blu Hotel, Zurich Airport, Stephanie Mock credits her success to luck and drive. She is like many Rezidorians, with a fighting Z-spirit that drives success. 

Work-Life Balance

For many women, negotiating work-life balance is a challenge, but Madeline Riley, General Manager of the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel in Dublin, makes it work, thanks to the flexibility at Rezidor. She successfully juggles motherhood and hotel management. “In my role as General Manager of a busy city center hotel, there is no such thing as a typical day or week. As a working mother, I have honed my multi-tasking and scheduling skills over the years.”

“Women need to challenge the status quo and make sure they are visible and their voice is heard,” explains Stephanie Aboujaoude, Balanced Leadership Champion and Senior Area Director of Marketing, Middle East and Turkey. “Remind yourself that confidence is a feeling, not a personality characteristic. No one can judge you better than yourself, so taking a moment to reflect and recognize your achievements is always a good thing.”

For Rezidor, one of our achievements has been the commitment at the Executive Committee to elevate women into senior leadership roles,” says Renu Hanegreefs-Snehi, Vice President, Corporate Communications, PR & Reputation Management. “We understand how important it is to the functioning of an effective, dynamic company – one that doesn’t see leaders as men and women, but as people.”

Please join us in saluting all women leaders – current and future – on this International Women’s Day, and let’s pledge together to change the leadership landscape in the hospitality industry.

Let's also celebrate International Women's Day in video: 

https://youtu.be/auLSK65ypuM

 

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