Radisson Blu, Mammy Yoko stands tall in the hotel industry worldwide exuding class and sophistication. On entry in Sierra Leone, it brought with it much needed hope for Sierra Leone’s budding tourist industry with an ambience that went beyond celebrating the beauty of one of the world’s finest destinations, to encouraging the growth and development of the human capital. To my utmost delight and excitement over the course of women’s month I discovered that they have over 77 women in employment with 17 in senior positions.
They are one of the few businesses locally that have adopted and are implementing a global ‘Women in Leadership’ programme. As against all of the challenges faced by women in the workplace across the globe and the quest to press for progress. I could not resist meeting with the team to see how they have managed to consolidate themselves with the issues that discourage women leading in the workplace.
This Hotel in Africa was named after a female leader who was known for her influence and power, an attribute that perfectly describes the women that lead in this institution. One is almost always greeted with beautiful smiles by the Front Office staff, whose youthful poise and effortless responses sometimes mask the challenges they face in managing customer care. We asked them what was the toughest decision that they have had to make in their professional life and its impact.
Janet & Jennifer: said that the hardest thing for them was to accept the promotions when they were awarded. They had doubts and worried that they might fail but with support from their department and management they have succeeded in maintaining their new positions. This has had a tremendous impact on their personal development. They have become more confident in handling situations and in making decisions based on what they think is best.
I was keen on hearing what it felt like to work within the junior level but with a structure that puts you in a position of trust and responsibility and I found great enthusiasm for growth with the Housekeeping Ladies. When asked to share a bit about their journey to leadership within Radisson Blu, they said that their journey has been tough but with interesting experiences. Eventually they have learnt that putting in a lot of hard work and effort can produce desirable results. Josephine & Jeneba said they wanted to learn about what were the influences that impacted their department and that triggered further interest in the job and the desire to grow”.
One of the major issues affecting women in leadership has to do with the fact that they are women, I asked Grace who works in F&D whether gender stereotyping and discrimination has affected her productivity in the workplace. Her reply was conscientious: “Not at all!!! We’re all treated the same whether you’re a man or a woman. All vacancies and trainings opportunities are open to all and we women are strongly encouraged to take up the challenge”.
It is auovious that women for the most part face a lot of heat in the workplace as they try to break down barriers in leadership that deter growth. We asked Mary who works in the Kitchen about what resources she thinks women in the work force need the most, and what she feels women leaders should prepare and support other women in the work place with. She said: “The best resource really is an enabling environment to support one with practicing their skills and of course the availability of information and resources. I am blessed to have both here at the hotel. I think moral and other kinds of support is best to help us women. Also, the understanding of how each staff works and their speed and limits is crucial”.
It is no secret that juggling our professional versus our private life can be tiring, as leaders in the accounting department. What challenges do you experience in balancing work and life, how do you overcome those challenges? how do you stay organized and deal with information overload?
Accounting; Selina, Patricia & Fatmata: said “that it is never easy to calculate the balance required to adequately support work and home. It takes a lot of determination on a daily basis but our minds are set to make it work. We are caught between loving our job and family which makes it a battle of wills as we try to stay passionate and focused on both. But the good thing is that we have bosses who try to understand our positions and give a lot of support (help us build on our careers) that keeps us on track. Thankfully our partners are also supportive”.
We wonder what the future held for a woman in a leading role at Radisson and thought that Ms. Clarice King who worked with the Human Resource department could share her future plans and aspirations for her professional life. It was intriguing to hear her say that she would love to inspire more women to take on the ‘harder’ roles and pledged to support them in reaching higher professional goals. She feels that nothing is more satisfying than to see junior staff grow into leaders”
At the end of a splendid meet and greet with the women who make the 5 stars of Radisson Mammy Yoko twinkle we ended our discussions on a light note when we asked Sia who works with the Sales & Marketing Team one of our favourite questions: If you were an animal, what animal would best describe your role in your team? Sia, gave us a chuckle drawing the curtains down to a beautiful engagement: “Definitely the Otter!! They’re smart, determined, love helping teammates and quiet thinkers, overflowing with positive energy.”
Till date, Radisson Blu, Mammy Yoko is the only 5 star branded hotel in Sierra Leone. Kindly click on this link to know more about their work: https://www.radissonblu.com/en/hotel-freetown