SANDTON, SOUTH AFRICA – Hilton’s Africa & Indian Ocean (AIO) region closed off the final day of their three-day Women in Leadership Conference. This event was designed to celebrate and highlight the achievements of women throughout Hilton and female leadership across the group. The hybrid event was hosted at Hilton Sandton in Johannesburg and streamed online with participants and some speakers joining from three other African hubs, including Tangier (Morocco), Abuja (Nigeria), and the Seychelles.
The conference featured a diverse panel of speakers, with keynote addresses by Refilwe Ledwaba, South Africa’s first black female pilot and founder of Girls Fly Programme in Africa, and Dr. Mosima Mabunda, who is the Head of Vitality Wellness Discovery.
Hellen Lebone, Regional HR Director for Africa & Indian Ocean, Hilton, said: “The Women in Leadership Conference, hosted under the theme of ‘Bloom Where You are Planted’, aimed to address issues faced by women in the hospitality industry in this region and inspire a new generation of female leaders. We used this platform to encourage our female leaders to continue pursuing opportunities, driving impact, and growing their careers in their chosen portfolios.”
Hilton AIO kicked off its journey of building Women in Leadership in hospitality over five years ago, when they developed a Leadership Diversity Framework that focused on growing their complement of both women and Africans into leadership positions in Hilton hotels across the continent.
“Our strategy focused on growing a critical mass of female talent both organically and through attracting external female talent”, continued Hellen. “We started the journey with no female General Managers operating our hotels. Today, nearly a quarter of the General Managers running our hotels are female.”
The overall female leadership across Hilton AIO is now standing at 37%, up from 32% just over five years ago. The group’s biggest stride has been made at the Hotel Director level, where they started at 33% in 2016 and are now standing at nearly half (46%).
Hellen concluded: “While we have made considerable strides in building women in leadership over the past five years, we remain committed to the goal of improving the gender parity in our hotels across Africa and the Indian Ocean.”