Ahead of International Women's Day on Friday 8th March, we spoke to Liz McGivern, the Vice President of People and Culture. She kindly shared some valuable insight into how Red Carnation Hotels actively supports women in hospitality through mentoring, coaching, and specific programs dedicated to developing female talent. 

How does Red Carnation Hotels actively contribute to recruiting, retaining, and developing female talent within the hospitality industry? 

At Red Carnation Hotels, we champion diversity and inclusion, fostering a workplace where the power of female leadership thrives. With a notable presence of female recruiters and managers, our graduate program attracts more female applicants, resulting in a higher percentage of female hires. Our commitment extends to mentoring and coaching, with trained female coaches and fifteen senior management mentors ensuring personal compatibility for effective mentorship. Our commitment to developing female talent is seen in the thriving presence of female leaders, creating a warm and welcoming environment for our teams and guests across generations.

What initiatives are in place to foster a supportive and inclusive work environment for women? 

We have several different initiatives which support an inclusive work environment for women here at Red Carnation Hotels. Firstly, our Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action (IDEA) circle, this global platform connects employees with shared backgrounds, fostering support, sharing experiences, and promoting awareness. It also provides insights on diversity and inclusion initiatives globally. The Women’s Circle within the IDEA platform, aims supports women in the travel industry by addressing unique challenges and providing a platform for sharing experiences and insights in male-dominated fields, fostering a supportive environment.

We believe in creating a supportive space for young women who join our business. We want to ensure that they never have to deal with the same petty jealousies or harassment that many of us had to face at the start of our careers. We are committed to creating a kind, fair, and empathetic workplace, and we believe that our efforts have helped change the workplace for the better over the past 20 years.

A Q&A with Liz McGivern

Listen to our in-person interview with Liz McGivern, our Vice President of People & Culture here at Red Carnation Hotels. 

In the pursuit of promoting women and girls into leadership roles, could you share success stories or specific programs implemented by Red Carnation Hotels that empower and encourage women to take on leadership positions? 

It brings me great pride to see my female team moving on to bigger and better things. This is what being a woman in business is all about, supporting and empowering each other to reach new heights. Their success is a testament to the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Notable examples of women excelling within our business include Michelle Devlin, who started out as a housekeeper and is now the General Manager of The Egerton House Hotel and Suzie Thompson, who progressed within Red Carnation to Vice President of Commercial. 

At events, their stories of success reflect a shared sense of pride and accomplishment. This epitomises the essence of being a woman in business—supporting and empowering each other for unprecedented achievements. Their triumphs underscore the significance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Women's health is a crucial aspect of overall wellbeing. How does Red Carnation Hotels prioritise and contribute to helping women and girls make informed decisions about their health, both in the workplace and the broader communities it serves? 

Through initiatives both in the workplace and the broader communities we serve, our company demonstrates a commitment to enhancing women's health. Red Carnation Hotels leverages its Employee Assistance helpline, a valuable resource that employees can turn to for guidance on various health matters. Magda Stabinska, a fully qualified Mental Health First Aider within the organisation, plays a crucial role in training teams to provide mental health support akin to the assistance offered by traditional first aiders.

Additionally, Red Carnation Hotels is involved in fundraising efforts for women's causes, exemplified by initiatives such as the Young Women's Trust fundraising walk. The company allocates dedicated time during its annual IDEA festival to raise awareness about women's health and offer support for women in the workplace. This multifaceted approach underscores Red Carnation Hotels' commitment to fostering a holistic understanding and support system for women's health.

How does Red Carnation Hotels support women and girls in providing access to quality education and training opportunities?

Our commitment to supporting women and girls in accessing quality education and training opportunities is evident through various initiatives. We collaborate with influencer Victoria Azubuki, fostering pathways for young women aspiring to enter the hospitality industry. Our involvement with WIT (Women in Travel) and implementation of our Degree Apprenticeships showcases our dedication to education and skill development. Additionally, our Learning and Development opportunities further empower women throughout our organisation. Actively encouraging apprenticeships across our business and targeting employment in economically challenged London boroughs demonstrate our holistic approach to fostering education and career growth.