Preferred Hotels & Resorts celebrates International Women’s Day

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To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, Preferred Hotels & Resorts is sharing insights from four of its female executives on the 2022 event theme, #BreaktheBias.

The company noted that just 26% of management positions are currently held by women, despite making up 50% of the workforce.

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By comparison, 47% of Preferred’s leadership team – including CEO, chairman and chief revenue officer positions – are held by women” with 50% of its broader leadership team also being women. “, said the company.

“To build impactful momentum globally, it’s critical that other female executives share success stories of how they’ve navigated the industry as a way to champion other women in pursuit of their career ambitions without potential harm as an obstacle,” said Lindsey Uberroth, CEO of Preferred Hotels & Resorts.

The four women include Michelle Woodley, president; Seema Roy, Regional General Manager, South Asia, Middle East and Africa; Boyana Simeonova, Vice President, Client Relations; and Roberta Possenti, Vice President Europe.

When asked how to level the playing field for women in hospitality and move beyond bias to tackle it, Woodley said: “Recognizing and acknowledging bias is the first step. Actively tackling it takes time and intention.

“Training and education are important and should take place across multiple platforms such as e-learning, in-person discussions and experience sharing.”

Possenti added: “It starts with ourselves. It takes a concerted effort to think differently and challenge the stereotypes that have been established in male-dominated environments.


Roberta Possenti, Vice President Europe
Roberta Possenti, Vice-President Europe. (photo courtesy of Preferred Hotels & Resorts)

“It’s about providing space, opportunity and safety for women, allowing them to express themselves freely without fear of prejudice and judgement.”

Roy said the topic of bias should be “part of everyday conversation rather than only coming up when discussing diversity and inclusion. It must be at the heart of the corporate culture for it to be fully adopted. »

In terms of advice for women experiencing unconscious bias in the workplace, Woodley said, “Don’t be afraid to confront the problem head on. You must bring it to the attention of the person displaying the bias.

“The person in question may not even be aware of it or understand why a certain comment or action demonstrates bias. The most important part is explaining why.


Boyana Simeonova, Vice President, Client Relations
Boyana Simeonova, Vice President, Client Relations. (photo courtesy of Preferred Hotels & Resorts)

Simeonova noted that she was raised by a “strong female role model”, her single mother who worked as a doctor in Bulgaria, which at the time was a communist country. “She instilled the confidence in me as a woman to take on all the challenges I faced in my career,” she said.

“My advice is to be confident and demonstrate your invaluable skills to your colleagues. They will recognize you and respect you for it.

Roy added: “As women, we play a crucial role in bringing about positive change to help level the playing field. This can be done by empowering, raising our voices, encouraging and supporting d other women and embracing diversity. We must recognize our own worth and play to our strengths. »


Seema Roy, Regional General Manager, South Asia, Middle East and Africa
Seema Roy, Regional General Manager, South Asia, Middle East and Africa (photo via Preferred Hotels & Resorts)

On advising women about the gender pay gap, Woodley urged them to be proactive. “No one is going to do this for you. Do your homework and understand the competitive landscape.

“If you’re a manager and have influence over other people’s pay scales, make sure you’re being fair and equitable.”

“Skills, performance and contribution should be rewarded at market value,” Simeonova said. “My advice for anyone who is unhappy with their salary is to know your worth and be prepared to ask for it.”

“Challenge the system and connect with your peers,” Possenti said. “Lean on your connections and seek out support and guidance to foster your well-deserved success.”

For advice for women starting their careers in the hospitality industry, Woodley said her recommendations would apply to everyone, not just women.

“Make every day count — reflect on your successes and failures often, ask for feedback and bring new ideas to every meeting,” she said.

“Never forget when you enter the hospitality industry, whether you follow the path of operations, finance, marketing or management, that hospitality is the act of welcoming guests in an open, friendly manner If you’re not ready to be the ultimate host in everything you do, think again.

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