Searcys celebrates International Women’s Day

Every International Women’s Day, we celebrate the inspirational women here at The Gherkin that are making a difference in hospitality. This year, we’re shining the spotlight on some of our team whose¬†passion and dedication pave the way for more women to join the industry.

 

HELENA KUNERTOVA, HEAD OF RESERVATIONS

Tell us about your role and how long you have been in hospitality for?

I manage the reservations team here at The Gherkin. It’s my job to ensure that guests have a great experience with us from the moment they first contact us to make a booking, right through until they have left the building after their visit. Speaking to different people every day means that no day is the same. I have been in the hospitality industry for 5 years now, and it is an industry that I would love to stay in!

What do you love most about working in hospitality?

Hospitality is almost everywhere, with a passion for exploring new countries, it means I can transfer my skills to almost anywhere in the world.

How do you think we can attract more females to work in the industry?

To offer more flexible working hours, good salaries and career progression.

Who do you admire?

Anna Wintour – she is a journalist and has been the Editor-In-Chief at Vogue since 1988. She is one of the most powerful women in the world and I will always admire her for what she does and has done in her career.

What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

The only person who can truly stand in your way is you. There will be challenges to overcome, stereotypes and barriers along the way, but don’t let any of this stop you to getting where you want to be. Fuel your own ambition and be yourself – don’t be who other people want you to be, you are unique and will always have this to bring to the table.

VYTAUTE VEGYTE, EVENT MANAGER

Tell us about your role and how long you have been in hospitality for?

I’ve been in hospitality for as long as I can remember, when I turned 18 I moved to London where I started my hospitality journey as a waitress, 7 years later I’m managing the events team at The Gherkin! My current role is super exciting and I am grateful for all the opportunities I have been given during my time in London. Managing a team has its challenges, but seeing your team members grow as individuals on a day to day basis is amazing and keeps me motivated.

What do you love most about working in hospitality?

The thing I love most is the freedom of creativity and also the connections you make with people you meet through your journey. Things are never the same in hospitality, there is always something new happening and the industry moves faster than you can think. There are so many personalities in the industry too, and my work colleagues have certainly become best friends for life.

How do you think we can attract more females to work in the industry?

For many years, I think there has been a strong stereotype of men owning senior positions within the industry. We need to highlight equality and show that actually women are also hired for these senior roles. There should be no such judgement that females can’t do what men can.

Who do you admire?

I absolutely admire strong, independent women and there are so many that I can’t choose just one! The women that fought for equal rights inspire me every day.

What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

Never let anyone tell you that you aren’t good enough. Go big and prove to society that strong women are the best asset a team can have!

JOANNA KHANOVA, SALES AND EVENT EXECUTIVE

Tell us about your role and how long you have been in hospitality for?

I have been in hospitality for 6 years now, working my way up from a waitress to my current position of Sales and Event Executive. My role includes planning events and weddings of all sizes, for both corporate and private clients. Despite not seeing it at the time, I am thankful for the challenges I’ve faced throughout my career, which has made me appreciate how far I’ve come! I can genuinely say that I love my job, and that is a massive accomplishment in itself!

What do you love most about working in hospitality?

The ever-changing nature of the industry! Hospitality is continually changing and moving with the times, meaning there’s always room to learn and develop your skills. I love the people I get to meet, the experiences I have, and the opportunities that present themselves – there truly is never a dull moment when you’re working with clients from all over the world. Hospitality is such a ‘peoples person’ industry, and I guess that’s why I love it!

How do you think we can attract more females to work in the industry?

Seeing successful women motivates other women to get you where they are! With the rise of super successful females, I believe that younger generations especially are moving away from the idea of a world dominated by male leaders. We will have a way to go before we see just as many female leaders than male, but things are moving in a positive direction.

Who do you admire?

I admire all successful women who have worked to where they have got to today. I admire my colleagues who come from similar backgrounds as myself, and have worked their way up to the successful businesswomen they are today. There are always hurdles, but it’s about picking yourself up and coming back stronger – I have great admiration for the women facing these obstacles but are coming back even stronger!

What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

Almost everything you need to succeed comes from within, and the rest can be learnt! Strive to find a job you love and learn what does and doesn’t work for you – don’t settle. Not every field is for everyone, there is a quote I love that put this into perspective “don’t judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree!”