As we celebrate Women's Day this March, we recognize the remarkable achievements of women in various industries, including hospitality. In this special interview, we delve into the insights and experiences of the General Manager of Yak and Yeti Hotel

Empowering Women in Hospitality

Through this conversation, we aim to shed light on the challenges and triumphs of women in leadership roles, while also exploring the role of the hospitality industry in promoting gender equality and empowerment.


1. Breaking Barriers:

a. Can you share with us your journey to becoming the General Manager of Yak and Yeti Hotel?

My journey to leading the Yak and Yeti was not always that easy. When I was a child and we went for a family holiday I was always amazed about the people working the hotels, they could make so many guests happy,- and for me it was clear I wanted to be one of them. From my initial years in the F&B department, I was attracted by the excitement and diversity of hospitality. I seized every opportunity to learn, from operational duties to guest relations, always looking for new challenges. My dedication, paired with guidance from innovative leaders, propelled my career forward. Eventually, my passion for hospitality and my leadership skill led to the GM post while I would also like to mention that for this role of GM I was especially chosen as a woman, the hotel specifically mentioned to hire a Women for this position.


b. What were some of the challenges you faced as a woman in a traditionally male-dominated industry?

Being completely honest, Hospitality has been a male-dominated field in my young years, especially in Food and Beverage, when I went for meetings or conferences we were hardly any women. I think I faced unconscious bias, questioning glances, and moments,  professional competence was never doubted, it was more that colleagues doubted how I would manage my job and family. This led to situations where my male counterparts received preferential treatment. On top of that, being a mother while simultaneously climbing the ladder in hospitality, there were some tough years but I learned a lot. I remember coming back from my Maternity Leave, - I was Director Food and Beverage at that time- my boss told me honestly that he had no idea how I would manage my job and being a mother, and he was not very happy that he had to take me back. I proved him wrong, and he became my biggest supporter and believed me till this day.


c. How did you overcome these challenges, and what advice would you give to other women aspiring to leadership positions in hospitality?

You learn as you go, I never let failures or challenges define me. Instead, I used them as my fuel for motivation to do better. I have always believed in proving my worth through results, building strong relationships, and advocating for myself and my team. My advice to aspiring women leaders? Be confident, articulate your value, seek mentors who believe in you, and build a strong network of allies. Remember, success doesn't require conforming to outdated norms; embrace your unique strengths and leadership style.


Fostering Inclusivity


a. How does Yak and Yeti Hotel promote gender diversity and inclusivity within its workforce?

At Yak & Yeti, we increased the number of female employees,- I remember when I came to Yak and Yeti the locker area for the ladies was very small,- but eventually it was big enough as we began hiring more women. I am very happy that we had to increase the space of the ladies locker area, I think we promote diversity and inclusivity beyond our walls. With our CSR activities, or with our stance for women empowerment, we have always honored and celebrated women.


b. Can you share any initiatives or programs aimed at empowering women employees within the organization?

Absolutely! We actively collaborate with NGOs that work for welfare of women and orphans, especially little girls. Likewise, recently, we started an initiative where we brought in a girl-student from a school and made her the GM for a day, where she got to actively interact with our team members, dived into various aspects of hotel operations, and shared great ideas with our team. We will continue coming up with such initiatives in future.


c. What strategies have you implemented to ensure equal opportunities for career advancement and professional development for women in your team?

Hospitality can be a powerful driver of female empowerment. Hotels can prioritize gender-balanced leadership teams, based on competencies. We must challenge stereotypes and showcase the potential of women in diverse leadership roles, inspiring future generations. And the decision will 100% be based on competencies and not gender.


3. Impact on the Community:

a. Beyond the workplace, how does Yak and Yeti Hotel contribute to the empowerment of women in the local community?

Yak & Yeti actively collaborates with women-run businesses, be it for our amenities, or our ingredients. Most of the amenities we have in our hotel are sourced from women-owned handicraft business, which we are actually very proud of, we also buy a lot of items from organizations who are supporting women, like MOWARE, that's a company making beautiful high quality items, the company trained 30 women in the production field.


c. In what ways do you believe the hospitality industry can further support women's economic empowerment and social progress?

By supporting women entrepreneurs and artisans and their business, by being vocal for their products. Offering equal opportunities and fair compensation. We should also implement flexible work arrangements and support systems for working mothers, certainly we cannot forget the nature of business, so if I want to be the GM of a hotel, I must be aware that I have to work on weekends and evenings sometimes. I cannot expect that as I am a woman, I can leave my work at 5, as my child is coming back from school- I believe in same job, same money, - but we as women have to keep this in mind, too