To celebrate International Women’s Day this coming Sunday, we decided to shine our spotlight on one of our female Fellows, Nicola Forshaw FIH and talk to her about what it’s like to be a woman in the industry.
Tell us more about your current role and workplace
I am currently the Director of Human Resources at the Landmark London; the Landmark is a special place where we focus a great deal of our time and energy on our team members.
My role is to ensure our teams have the opportunities and development to keep them engaged with the direction of the business, to drive a culture of inclusion, openness and honestly, a culture built on our values of Respect, Integrity, Continuous Improvement and Fun.
To ensure that we continuously improve by looking at things differently, to find new and efficient ways to move the business forward, by increasing productivity throughout the hotel.
Did you always want to work in hospitality when you were growing up?
I had a job in a pub when I was very young, and got the hospitality bug straight away, I loved it! … and have never looked back.
What do you love most about working in hospitality?
Hospitality is a world of opportunities, you are able to try a career direction and then as your life develops and your priorities change, you can change your career direct too.
It is definitely an industry that you are able to work hard and achieve great things, sometime more than you had dreamed you would be able to achieve.
The Landmark has recently been named as the 4th Best Company to work for in the UK. How did this make you feel as director of HR?
Being on the Sunday Times Best Companies to work for in the UK list, was one of the proudest moments of my career.
It is amazing recognition for all the focus and cultural development that we have been doing over the years.
It is highly motivating for the whole team, managers and team members, we were celebrating for days!
Tell us about some of the ways you make The Landmark such a great place to work.
Our key to success is to live our values of Respect, Integrity, continuous improvement and fun everyday.
By having fun as a value it means that we enjoy lots of activities in the hotel, something is happening everyday, from learning and development activities, mentoring, task forces, giving something back events, industry awareness events, there is always something to get involved in.
What has been the most memorable day at The Landmark for you?
The first day that we performed as the Landmark Choir, after weeks of learning how to sing together.
It is a great feeling to achieve something so amazing together.
Do you think we are seeing a shift in the number of females taking on senior roles in hospitality?
At the Landmark we are very proud to have nearly a 50:50 gender split with a large amount of female leaders. On our Executive team ‘girl power’ is definitely leading.
So yes, the number of female leaders is increasing.
How do you think we can attract more females to work in senior positions in this industry?
It is important to share our success stories, so anyone that is less confident about what they can achieve can see that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
We need to talk about the diversity of opportunities, there is something for everyone in hospitality.
Describe some of the initiatives you have been involved with to retain women in the workforce.
It is important that we are role models to women developing in their careers through leading by example and mentoring and networking.
By providing opportunities for learning and development, and career progressing women are able to climb the career ladder.
What is the best piece of advice you have given one of your team?
If you think you can, you can!
What is the biggest challenge for the hospitality industry in 2020?
Attraction, Recruitment and retention – As an industry we have not looked after our reputation in the past, and now we have a big job to correct this, we need to show that hospitality is a great industry, that has great opportunities, that employs amazing people.
Sustainability – is becoming a big focus for the hospitality industry, we need to ensure that we can deliver to our guests, at the same time as looking after our planet.
Last year you became a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality, how did this make you feel?
I am very proud to work in hospitality and am very proud to be associated with the Institute of Hospitality.
By becoming a Fellow it is a great opportunity to meet up and network with others within the industry, as well as influencing our future through leaning, working with students, and mentoring.