Saluting the hospitality industry’s women trailblazers

Saluting the hospitality industry’s women trailblazers

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Women are shaking up hospitality like never before, bringing talent, ideas and a can-do attitude to the sector in unprecedented times. Here, thirty professionals who are today disrupting the industry across the region in a big way, share their success stories and offer words of wisdom to those just starting out.

NADA AAD
Founder and managing partner
MMAM HOLDING (Lebanon)
Years in the role 9
Greatest professional achievement to date Making our 2010 dream in Byblos a reality with a team of seven through hard work, commitment and dedication.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development. We implement: 50% workforce quota women; flexible schedules for mothers; we empower female employees; invest in training and workshops; and encourage higher education.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both genders? The hospitality industry focuses on recruiting diligent individuals who have a great attitude and a customer centric mindset with a sprinkle of love and kindness. Women score high in these characteristics.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Educate yourself as much as possible and never stop learning; aim for higher degrees. Believe in yourself and don’t be scared to stand out. Travel as much as you can. Be passionate about what you do, get it done and always lead from the front.
linkedin.com/in/nada-aad 

NADA ALAMEDDINE
Partner
Hodema Consulting Services (Lebanon)
Years in the role 10
Greatest professional achievement to date Each year, the Marriott Awards of Excellence recognizes the ‘Best of the Best’ at Marriott International, honoring the company’s finest associates who represent the characteristics of the award: achievement, character, dedication, effort and perseverance. I received the President Award for 2004 for being among the best sales and marketing leaders at Marriott International.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development As a board member at Hodema Consulting Services, I’m constantly striving to implement corporate governance, empowering women and working to achieve gender equality within my company.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? To find a balance between their personal life and their career and to be willing to go where the opportunities are. Success also requires flexibility.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? We have indeed a number of inspiring women in the hospitality industry. However, I can’t name a specific woman to be my mentor – each one’s journey had an impact on my career path.
linkedin.com/in/nada-a

DINA ABBOUD
Operations and sales director
Cat & Mouth (Lebanon)
Years in the role 30
Greatest professional achievement to date The ability to build a team that sets the benchmark for exceptionally high-standard catering in the region; maintaining repeat clients; year-on-year growth; and continuous innovation.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both genders? The hospitality industry is very rewarding, but only when it is allocated the proper resources: time; commitment; money; people; and hard work.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Differentiate yourself from the crowd. Never stop learning, innovating, growing, respecting and creating. Be the king of what you do in a humble and dedicated manner. Embrace change, understand market directions and never forget that your client dictates and sets the parameters to your success.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role modelor mentor to you? For me, it’s: the university advisor who realized that I liked the hospitality sector.
linkedin.com/in/dina-abboud

CHRISTINE ASSOUAD
CEO
Dunkin and Semsom (Lebanon)
Years in the role 24
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development It depends on their personality, on their passion for food and for serving others. We hire the personality and we teach the skills, so, if they’re passionate, they will thrive in our company. I also mentor many young passionate entrepreneurs and I absolutely love it!
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? This industry is a life choice, you need to fall in love with it – the food, the people, servicing guests, growing your team and spreading happiness! Don’t let anyone prevent you from achieving your dreams – you can do anything, you can be anyone if you really want to!
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? Anyone passionate about their work and turning their jobs into a mission.
linkedin.com/in/christinesfeir

LIZA ASSEILY
Owner
Liza Paris, Liza Beirut (France-Lebanon)
Years in the role 15
Greatest professional achievement to date Opening one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world (Condenast Traveller) and one of the best (50 Best Discovery): Liza Beirut. Also, the collaborations that we do, such as design, food and music.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development There’s no policy – we recruit people on their skills, never on gender, religion or skin color.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both genders? I think it’s easier today than it was yesterday.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Don’t think that you are less talented than a man and use all your skills to go as far as you can. We mothers are good listeners and sensitive which can be a huge advantage in today’s world.
linkedin.com/in/soughayar-lisa

HILDA HANNA ISSA AL MASRIEH
Executive pastry chef and owner
Chez Hilda Patisserie (Jordan)
Years in the role 40
Greatest professional achievement to date: 2017 Member of Academie Nationale De Cuisine France Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting
women’s career development: Providing culinary and management training.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? To explore world cuisine and develop additional culinary skills
Can you name one or more women in the industry that have been a role model or mentor to you? Martha Stewart as she is a very successful businesswoman.
linkedin.com/in/hilda-hosh

TATYANA ATANASOVA
General manager
Movenpick Resort & Residences Aqaba (Jordan)
Years in the role 9
Greatest professional achievement to date Breaking the record in the history of Jordanian hospitality for highest average monthly occupancy (94%) in April 2019. Other achievements include being listed among the 25 most inspirational women in hospitality in the Middle East for 2019.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development I’ve increased the share of women employed at the hotel by 5% on an annual basis. I also focus on empowering female employees wearing a hijab to have the confidence to pursue career development in their chosen field.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities for professionals of both genders? The cultural and religious patterns of the region make it difficult for women. However, the number successfully stepping up to a higher level is growing year by year and that is leading to a sensible change in mindset.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Never give up. I believe that we either win or learn – we just need to adapt and master the lessons.
linkedin.com/in/tatyanatanasova

DOUHA ABDULLAH AL OTAISHAN
Executive chef
Douha Restaurant (KSA)
Years in the role three professionally, 25 as hobby
Greatest professional achievement to date Becoming the first female executive chef in Saudi Arabia.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development No specific policies, but I’m thrilled when I hear that more women have been encouraged and inspired to take up roles as chefs after seeing my work.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both gender? Men and women are awarded equal pay if they’re in the same role, but it’s also up to management to then play their part.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? Regionally, the Lebanese celebrity chef Leyla Fathalla, best known for her workshops on the cooking channel Fatafeat TV, has been a source of inspiration, while on the international scene, I’d say the US lifestyle guru Martha Stewart.
linkedin.com/in/douha-alotaishan

FATMA AL-OTAIBI
General manager
SHABABIK International Trading (KSA)
Years in the role Successfully launching a start-up company in the hospitality industry which not only employees over 180 members of staff, but is also an ideal fit within the Saudi environment. I’ve also managed to combine multiple sectors under the umbrella of one well structured company.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development I’ve focused heavily on appointing women to various positions, while ensuring they receive comprehensive training and guidance throughout their career paths.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Set your goals. Be original. Be passionate about what you’re doing. Don’t give up when you hit an obstacle. And finally, don’t be intimidated by gender roles.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? Every woman in Saudi Arabia and beyond that has worked hard to achieve her goals and made a worthwhile contribution inspires me; I’ve learned something from all of them and continue to do so.
linkedin.com/in/fatma-alotaibi

NAZIRA BITAR
Founder
Nazira Catering (Lebanon)
Years in the role 40
Greatest professional achievement to date Introducing and revolutionizing sugar as an art in Lebanon and the MENA region. Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development. Dedicating at least one of our kitchen’s departments to a team of women.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? To persevere, to prove yourself like everybody else and show that there’s no difference between men and women.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? La Mère Brazier, the Mother of French cooking.

CYNTHIA BITAR
CEO and executive chef
Nazira Catering (Lebanon)
Number of years in the role 23
Greatest professional achievement to date Promoting Lebanese gastronomy in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Marseilles. Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development Teaching and training women to very high standards in sugar work and kitchen tasks in general.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both genders? I believe that women in general have to
prove themselves more than men in many fields.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? My mom Nazira and every grandmother who shares her love and passion through her cooking.
linkedin.com/in/cynthiabitar

YOUMNA AL ASHKAR CHEDID
General manager
Fulcrum s.a.l. Rafic Hariri International Airport, Beirut – Lebanon
Years in the role 16
Greatest professional achievement to date I get great satisfaction from having established and maintained a successful business for 15 years, but I feel an even
greater sense of achievement from having played a role in the development of numerous members of the team.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development We have no polices specifically geared toward women, but when we promote or recruit, women and men are given the same opportunity and, of course, the same pay.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Be passionate about your job, be willing to take risks and don’t be afraid of new opportunities; you might have to take many turns to get where you want and this will require you to take chances, but it’s at these moments that you’ll learn the most.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? All women working in the industry are an inspiration to others, but I especially admire those who can inspire the next generation of leaders and encourage and support others to achieve their dreams.
linkedin.com/in/youmna-chedid

AMAL CHAHINE
Founder and managing partner
OVO Restaurant (Kuwait)
Years in the role 4
Greatest professional achievement to date OVO successfully becoming a trademark and working on plans to expand out of Kuwait in the near future.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development Hosting events focused on the empowerment of women. OVO was the platform for an exhibition of art by female artists. The restaurant was launched on Mother’s Day, in celebration of womanhood, and has maintained the tradition.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both gender? Women have proven that they are able to deal with the industry’s challenges.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Follow your passion, work with dedication, do your research thoroughly, opt for concept exclusivity and create your own story.

Amal Chahine x488

HALA MATAR CHOUFANY
President
HVS Middle East, Africa and South Asia
Years in the role 3
Greatest professional achievement to date Inspiring women as a thought leader and credible advisor to strategic clients, while being mum to three children.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development Since the inception of HVS in 1980, women associates and partners have been encouraged to rise and lead teams. My appointment as a president for the region, having joined the firm as a junior consultant in 2005, is testament to this culture.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both genders? The hospitality industry is succeeding in attracting and retaining women, and there is a shift in employer and employees’ culture toward the role of women.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you?  My mum has been a great inspiration.
linkedin.com/in/hala-matar-choufany 

CANDICE D’CRUZ
Vice President
Luxury Brand Marketing & Management, EMEA
Years in the role Two and a half (seven with the company)
Greatest professional achievement to date Since my remit was extended recently, I believe my best is yet to come.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development I am a core member of the Female Leadership Initiative, launched in 2019. Women comprise 50% of the company’s executive leadership team and are very much at the heart of the company.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both gender? I think the disparity of women in leadership roles in the industry is due to the needs of the family versus the 24h, non-stop nature of hospitality. However, Marriott Int. is ahead of the curve. A current focus area for us is female general managers of properties, which has vastly improved.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Don’t be afraid to fail. Being brave, taking risks and putting your hand up for a project, even if it is not your strength.
linkedin.com/in/candicedcruz

candice

FAY ECONOMIDES
Executive managing director
M Management Company (UAE)
Years in the role 5
Greatest professional achievement to date Co-creating award-winning brands, Nola Eatery and Social House, and Mythos Kouzina and Grill.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both genders? This region offers the same opportunities; however, there are larger ‘life’ issues, namely how to balance professional and home roles.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Don’t be afraid to communicate your ideas and your thoughts, to ask questions, to contribute and speak up. Have a good support system both in your professional environment and at home.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? Harumi Mikuni, who launched Tsurutokame, a women-only run restaurant in Japan.
linkedin.com/in/fay-economides

ZEINA EL EID
Chair, Board of Directors and CEO
URBAN EAT SAL (Lebanon)
Years in the role 9
Greatest professional achievement to date Urbanista&You.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development Helping women to further their career development mainly by focusing on career progression, promoting based on merit and equal pay. We foster a supportive working environment by implementing policies that facilitate life, such as prioritizing parental leave and being lenient on working from home.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Stay true to yourself, don’t be intimidated by the challenges. We are naturally gifted at multi-tasking and should consider being a woman in this man-dominated world as leverage. We have immense potential and power. Finally, don’t take yourself too seriously, just enjoy the journey!
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? I greatly admire Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo: her work ethic and approach to problem-solving, her work-life balance and especially her transparency about her mishaps and downfalls.
linkedin.com/in/zeina-el-eid

SUZAN HALLAL
Founder
SUZ’ sarl (Lebanon)
Years in the role 8
Greatest professional achievement to date Leading a great team and being able to expand on the specialty coffee by establishing a new roastery. I am very proud of what we have achieved these past years.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development No particular policy, but the company promotes equal opportunities for everyone.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both genders?
Personally, and in my position, I never felt that my gender was a barrier to me advancing with my plans and projects.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? To have a thirst for knowledge and stay focused on your vision.
linkedin.com/in/suzan-hallal

BIBI HAYAT
Creative director and founder
Bibi Hayat Events&Design, November &Co. Bakery and Blooms (Kuwait)
Years in the role 14
Greatest professional achievement to date To be considered an expert in the field and invited to represent myself, my company and, most importantly, my country internationally.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Despite the hard work and long hours, if you have a passion for the industry stick with it! Also, it’s not a race. Don’t compare yourself to others. Focus within and shine on!
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? There are so many women making a huge impact in the events and design industry. I admire so many, including these women: Ghada Blanco; Hiba Al Bikree; Zainab Al Salih; Sarah Al Dabbagh; Nada Debs; Liza Asseily; Maria Ousseimi; Kit Kemp; and many more. Each woman represents her brand and identity in her own unique way, with individuality and strength.
linkedin.com/in/bibi-hayat

YASMINA HAYEK
Executive chef
Sociéte de Gestion de Restaurants (Lebanon)
Years in the role 2
Greatest professional achievement to date The revamp from scratch of our new Parrilla restaurant in Beirut.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development Our company is run by women, which I believe has had a big impact on the behavior of our staff. We’ve created a culture and imposed values that reflect who we are and how we think: generosity, transparency, respect and honesty. A woman at work, especially when a business owner, relays the same image as a mother at home.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both gender? Even though most of the people in this industry are men, we’re seeing increasingly more women leaders. I think it’s a matter of personality and professional behavior rather than which sex they are.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? My Mother. By taking her cooking to a professional level, she was actually able to upscale Lebanese cuisine and export it throughout the world.
linkedin.com/in/yasmina-hayek

KATRIN HERZ
General manager
Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel (UAE)
Years in the role 5
Greatest professional achievement to date Becoming the first female general manager for The Ritz-Carlton in the Middle East and winning the ME Hotelier Middle East Award for GM (2019).
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development One of the initiatives that has had the greatest impact was the Voyage Programme, Marriott Int.’s Leadership Development Programme, which we developed on property. At least half of the participants have been women and we have found some amazing female Omani talents through the program.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? The hospitality industry rewards talent and will support young women in the industry.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? The eight fellow female Ritz-Carlton general managers around the world are prime examples to follow and have shown what can be achieved with determination and by being able to adapt to changes in the industry.
linkedin.com/in/katrin-herz

JOANNA KASSEM
Owner
Joanna’s Table Too sal (Lebanon)
Years in the role 7
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development Supporting them by focusing on developing their organization skills.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both genders? No, unfortunately not.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? To follow their instincts and not be afraid to take risks.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? Lina Lteif (La Mie Dorée) because she has been so successful in the food and catering business.
linkedin.com/in/joanna-kassem

ALINE KAMAKIAN
Owner and CEO
Fig Holding (Lebanon)
Years in the role 17
Greatest professional achievement to date Raising the profile of Armenian culinary heritage.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development We started by employing mothers to cook in the kitchen, empowering them to be the caretakers back home, then we evolved into bigger concepts which gave female restaurateurs and ambitious young women the opportunity to join the team and grow.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Believe in your dream, make it happen and be passionate.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? Asmahan El Zein. She’s not directly based in the industry, but she has been my muse, my inspiration and my confidante throughout my career.
linkedin.com/in/alinekamakian

Aline Kamakian high res

RIMA KARAM
Co-founder and marketing director
BlackSpoon (UAE)
Years in the role 3
Greatest professional achievement to date The continuous success of Masti is my greatest achievement, with the help of an amazing PR team, the best staff and my team at BlackSpoon.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both genders? There are some companies in the industry that genuinely do and others that overlook the balance. I’ve noticed that fewer women in this region work in the industry compared to others, but there are many factors at play here.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Work hard, never give up, don’t allow anyone to intimidate you, trust your gut and be loyal to those who have helped you on your journey.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? There are several women in this industry (and others) that I look up to. I admire women who have the strength and willpower to do what they set out to do, in a professional and elegant way. What I love most is that they support other women and that, to me, is the epitome of grace.
linkedin.com/in/rima-karam

ROUBA KHALIL
Chef and owner
RKK SAL (Lebanon)
Years in the role 5
Greatest professional achievement to date Opening my retail store in Beirut.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development We implement policies that benefit both sexes; we believe in equal opportunities.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both genders? I believe the industry does offer the same opportunities for both sexes. I haven’t personally encountered any barriers as a woman. I do believe, however, that if a woman chooses to have a family and children it will become very challenging to maintain a career in hospitality down the road, and that may be why we see fewer women at the top.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? The late Gina DePalma, the acclaimed pastry chef, cookbook author, cancer warrior, pioneer and innovator, who was my mentor when I was working as a pastry cook at Babbo in New York City. She taught me how to make olive oil cake and olive oil ice cream. Today, at the shop we sell an olive oil ice cream sandwich in a rosemary polenta cookie as a homage to Gina.

HALA C. MASSAAD
General manager
Raouche Arjaan by Rotana (Lebanon)
Years in the role 11
Greatest professional achievement to date The first promoted woman to become a general manager in Rotana Hotels.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development Encouragement of equal opportunities specially married women with a family. Empowerment of women’s initiatives and celebrating important milestones through internal communication and engagement.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Have a balanced life and take care of yourself, your health, your lifestyle and your personal well-being. Delegate at work and at home focus on the most important things. Be efficient and focused. If you see any breach of equal opportunities, be bold and address it.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? Anja Luthje, group director of rooms and quality at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. She is a high-quality, detail-oriented woman, a people’s person and a bold leader.
linkedin.com/in/hala-c-massaad

MAYA BEKHAZI NOUN
Co-founder/managing partner
The Food Studio (Lebanon)
Years in the role 18
Greatest professional achievement to date Developing more than 30 concepts to date, Curli-Q being one of the latest.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development I’ve worked with women across all aspects of business, from being in the kitchen to sales.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both genders? Yes, it does.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? I’ve been inspired by Julia Child (US cooking teacher, author, TV personality), especially her passion for food and how she transmitted this to the public.
linkedin.com/in/maya-noun

SABINE RENNER
Hotel manager
Park Hyatt Dubai (UAE)
Years in the role recent appointment – previously director of sales and marketing
Greatest professional achievement to date My career has taken me to seven different countries, so I consider every step an achievement, given the fact that each move allowed me to adapt to a new environment, a new culture and a new language. All of these tools have led to me delivering successful results.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development I believe in empowering people in general. I believe in gender equality. When I see women with great potential, I encourage them to support each other and from my end, I help bring out the best in them.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both genders? No, just as in many other industries, women still have to fight harder than men to achieve success.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? My previous GM, back when I was in California. She was strong, positive and truly empowered her team.
linkedin.com/in/sabine-renner

CHIRINE SALHA
Hospitality professional&consultant BM of the Syndicate of RCPN Lebanon, Shareholder at SGHL
Years in the role Over 20 within the luxury city hotels and resorts segment
Greatest professional achievement to date Cushioning the impact of a crisis by managing it effectively, from the business drop post 9/11 to the latest October 2019 events. Highlights include being part of the pre-opening team of Mazagan in Morocco.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development Enforcing best practices that are nondiscriminating to women, from recruiting and hiring to fair pay and retaining.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both gender? Organizations may well have the best intentions when recruiting female talent, but they fall short when women quit because they cannot combine family and career.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? My sister Tamara Salha is my role model. I admire her passion for hospitality, her entrepreneurial approach and her penchant for hard work.
linkedin.com/in/chirine-salha

DAGMAR SYMES
General manager
Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort (Oman)
Years in the role one year, six months
Greatest professional achievement to date Being appointed the first female general manager of both Phoenicia and Le Vendome InterContinental Hotels in Beirut (Dec 2016). I lifted Phoenicia from being an established traditional Lebanese property to that of a vibrant and dynamic entity.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development I highlight the importance of female engagement within the workforce and try to inspire our young talents to follow the path for female leadership and female empowerment.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both genders? In theory, the same opportunities are offered to both sexes, yet the reality speaks a different language.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Believe in yourself. Women in the hospitality workforce tend to use different methods & business approach to their male colleagues to achieve their targets, but a focal one, including a ‘can-do’ attitude.
linkedin.com/in/dagmar-symes

LIZ STEVENSON
Chief foodie
The Tasting Class (UAE)
Years in the role less than one
Greatest professional achievement to date Setting up my own creative food consultancy, Lady Battenberg from 2014 to 2018, in D3. I worked on some incredible
projects across the GCC and learned the fundamentals of running my own business.
Policies that you have implemented within the company benefiting women’s career development I’ve set up a platform for women in hospitality and F&B called Her Table. The platform aims to unite women in food and give them a voice.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Find positive role models or a mentor. Surround yourself with supportive people. Have realistic and achievable goals and most importantly self-belief.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? Angela Hartnett (an English chef and protégée of Gordon Ramsay), she demonstrated that it was possible to be successful at a time when the industry was maledominated.
linkedin.com/in/liz-stevenson

TIFFANY PILARD
General manager
Rüya (UAE)
Years in the role One year and a half
Greatest professional achievement to date Being a multitasking working mum and wife can be challenging. I am very proud of my team, especially all the support and hard work they’ve given me and what we’ve achieved throughout the years.
Do you believe that the hospitality industry offers the same opportunities to professionals of both genders?  I’ve never been refused an opportunity because I’m a woman. I believe that with the right attitude, you can make the most of the opportunities available. We are all different and unique.
What advice would you give to young women in the industry? Follow your dreams, believe in yourself and be prepared to work for it. This industry is intense, but also rewarding. However, I’m a firm believer that hard work and passion lead to a bright future. Don’t move if you’re not sure about the company or leadership; sometimes it’s better to be patient, learn and then seize the right opportunity.
Can you name one or more women in the industry that has been a role model or mentor to you? Nicole Ebner, currently director of food and beverage at Mandarin Oriental London. She gave me the energy to fight, grow and teach others.
linkedin.com/in/tiffany-pilard

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