International Women's Day 2022 - RISE Colleague Stories
In celebration of International Women's Day 2022, we are showcasing inspiring success stories of our RISE Female colleagues across the business and how they are #BreakingTheBias. Our Global Rise mentoring initiative, aims to increase the number of women in General Manager and other senior positions, and inspires confidence in participants, helping to grow their networks and provide a range of opportunities for personal and professional growth.
It’s time to break those barriers and drive inclusivity at the top. We want to create a future where aspiring female General Managers RISE up and succeed in achieving their ambition.
Celeste Clare - Hotel Operations Manager, Voco Melbourne Central
Write a word and/or quote that summarises who you are? An energetic, self driven woman who sees no bounds
Why is International Women’s Day important to you? Its a reminder of how far we have come to ensuring women are given a seat at the table, but also a reminder to never stop pushing the limits
How has IHG supported you in your career? IHG provided me an opportunity to connect with likeminded, hardworking, driven woman through the RISE program and opened my mind to the amazing potential we have if given the opportunity. I'm now on the Journey to GM program with the support of my cheer squad of sponsors and mentors who I have had the pleasure of working with in my 5 years with IHG.
Thinking about your own journey, what advice would you give to other female colleagues? Do not even question if you are good enough or have the strength, you do!
What are you doing to break the bias for female colleagues and what advice would you give to others to do the same? I am living it, daily. Every day I prove to myself that anything is possible if you have a support system like IHG supports its female leaders, and if you whole heartedly believe that your the right person for the job, regardless of your gender. Stop telling yourself you can't because its a "boys club", you only give those 2 words a platform that it doesn't deserve. This club is for everyone, its for you, and its rocking!!
Megumi Hara - General Manager, Hotel Indigo Karuizaw
Write a word and/or quote that summarises who you are? Passionate for the growth
Why is International Women’s Day important to you? I got to here today by receiving so many supports from the people from various countries and cultural back grounds, and it’s my turn to support others by using this opportunity.
How has IHG supported you in your career? I had opportunities to attend good leadership workshops, and ‘Leading with purpose’ has helped a lot, and got my mindset be very clear. I’ve been very nervous about becoming to the GM as there was no one in Japan yet, and worried how I would be received, however, the workshop helped to clarify my purpose and enable to set the vision what I want to do for myself and for other female colleagues.
And IHG has good mentors! – Senior leaders in the support office and GMs – they have been open whenever the time I needed to talk or to receive the guidance.
Thinking about your own journey, what advice would you give to other female colleagues? Be bold and be optimistic. Most of the things we worry or concern about do not actually happen. Rather, you can make great strides forward by directing your energy to what you want to do.
This is the bias set to the self and will be able to break, and opens the door to better place.
In the history, women were often suppressed, that impact to young generation (especially in my country) is still stuck and they tend to think there are many impossible things around them.
However, this is also the bias set by the culture, and I would like to advise there are many possible and available things to everyone!
What are you doing to break the bias for female colleagues and what advice would you give to others to do the same? Share my story with other female colleague who are seeking for the support or advise, especially to the Japanese colleagues as my journey was not typical step up example – left hotel industry, married and became house wife (unemployed), returned to the company as a project manager, then moved to the hotel operation as the senior manager – there are so many options available in the life, and jump on to the opportunity if it is the desire of the self!
Jessica Wang - Executive Assistant Manager, Crowne Plaza Beijing Sun Palace
Write a word and/or quote that summarises who you are? I am a lucky girl being able to work in the hospitality industry
How has IHG supported you in your career? I grew up in IHG from the beginning until now. Once I graduated from university I got my first job offer from one of our IHG hotels. In the last 17 years I have never thought about leaving IHG and have an internal transfers expanding on my experience. Recalling back to dig out the reason, “Room to grow” in IHG is not just a word, it is a system, it means plenty of resources and it is keeping update to make me every single step progress effectively. Online courses allow me arrange my learning based on my own needs and schedule. Offline workshops such as Functional Leader Academy, Career Insight, not only strengthen me leadership competence, bring me more clearly career development path, and also let me have chance to build up network with my peers. The other reason must be people. All of my previous line managers are General Manager in IHG now. In my career development, they became the coach to guide me. They became the mentor to share their experience and encourage me to overcome the challenge. And then they are the role model to always inspire me.
Thinking about your own journey, what advice would you give to other female colleagues? Your career development is related to your ambition, your ability and your performance but never related to your gender. Once you met any challenge or any difficulty, please believe there must be a way to overcome it or solve it, but don’t say to yourself: I can not make it because I am a girl. Do not put limits on yourself in advance, you could always ask help or support from your colleagues or your manager, but do not give up.
Toni Munns - Director of Sales & Marketing, InterContinental Fujairah Resort
Write a word and/or quote that summarises who you are? I lead by example and with compassion
Why is International Women’s Day important to you? The month of March is important - it gives opportunity for women to celebrate each other and themselves around the globe. Whilst I believe uplifting and supporting one another is a mindset and not restricted to just the month of March, I appreciate how the entire globe rallies in March to raise the women's equality agenda and celebrate together. The momentum is pure magic.
How has IHG supported you in your career? During my 5+ years at IHG, I have had the platform to elevate my business skillset and hone in on my authentic leadership style, with access to a network of alumnis, sponsors and mentors. I am a proud Alumna of & Ambassador for IHG's RISE Program in EMEAA as well as - most recently appointed- an IMEA Board member for the Gender Balance Work stream.
Thinking about your own journey, what advice would you give to other female colleagues? Know the value you bring to the table - confidence is Queen! Focus on refining one thing 1% better each day. Invest in YOU from e-learning, podcasts, books and evening classes to surrounding yourself with like-minded kinships with a growth-oriented mindset.
What are you doing to break the bias for female colleagues and what advice would you give to others to do the same? As an Alumni EMEAA ambassador, I am fortunate to be leading the conversation in terms of multiple of the Workstream's deliverables. This year, I will lean in to host a range of engagement opportunities, guest speakers and open dialogue sessions whilst continually optimizing feedback to ensure the current alumna’s and the next gen of cohorts know that they have a network of women in business propelling each other on their journey to tomorrow.
Shirley Zhu - General Manager, Holiday Inn Wuxi Taihu New City
Write a word and/or quote that summarises who you are?I’m a woman who was born in a developing, reform and opening up country, benefited from the new generation. Meanwhile, I am also a lucky lady who is working in the fantastic international hospitality industry group-IHG, which is embracing the diversity, equality and inclusive.
Why is International Women’s Day important to you?International Women's Day is when woman celebrate all of their achievements. The International Women's Day is the milestone of women as makers of history. It encourages all women to inherit and extend the spirit of those who have gone before them to reach even further goals.
How has IHG supported you in your career? IHG is forerunner who is committed to female leaders development. For me, I got series of great supports and resources from my IHG family. My OLT Helena Jiang is my role model, she is a powerful and a professional female leader, always leading me to do the right things and aiming higher. My coach Angelina Zhu who is the Senior Director of Operations of East China let me know how to keep work and life balance. Furthermore, I joined the “RISE” program in 2021, I met amazing female sponsors, Michelle Liu, Ivy Yu and Tina Tang and lots of female sisters. They shared different area experiences and guidance to help us become better and better. Well-balanced arrangement, I have a male mentor Mr. David Guo who always encourage and built up my confident and stronger. I’m also honored to be one of the leaders in Special Education School program of East China, which is a part of IHG DE&I program. With the help of Ms. Stella Lu-Director of HR of East China, I learned more and deeply understood the important of diversity, inclusiveness and equality in current society, this experience helped me to broaden my perspective. Generally speaking, these experiences and supports are all key points and lighting up my way of growth.
Thinking about your own journey, what advice would you give to other female colleagues? First of all, I think we need to eliminate self-prejudice and be confident, only confidence can break the bias. Second, we use women’s empathy and tolerance to get the easy communication and understanding in the daily working and life. Third, we have to help each other, let more women participate in to be a better world.
What are you doing to break the bias for female colleagues and what advice would you give to others to do the same?
Talking about breaking the bias, I will always say confidence is the key. Be brave to face to challenges and difficulties, keep calm and carry on to realize self-value.
Connie Chen - Hotel Manager, Crowne Plaza Macau
Why is International Women’s Day important to you International Women’s Day helps to create awareness regarding the gender equality and all women can be treated equally. I am so glad to advocate for accelerated gender parity in the workplace, and continue to mentor and foster more female colleagues.
How has IHG supported you in your career? I have been working in IHG for 15 years and join RISE program; my mentor and the coach provide growth opportunities that advance in my career. They are always willing to have an open conversation about any challenges I have faced and give the feedback in real-time, always encourage me to participate in professional management programs.
Thinking about your own journey, what advice would you give to other female colleagues? Nowadays, working women have to face difficulties and challenges in the workplace, undertake the same pressure as men; they also need to play the family role well after work. They should break the barriers and always be willing to try new things in work.
What are you doing to break the bias for female colleagues and what advice would you give to others to do the same Many female colleagues limit themselves to what they can do. I will advise them to ignore the negativity and stop second-guessing yourself all the time, just trust your decisions and remember to work the best of your ability. You will achieve your dreams!
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