Topic of the Edition


Labour market and +50s - Q4 2014

Evolution - Q2 2014

Learning - Q1 2014

Women With a Dream - Q3 2013

Being fit for success - Q2 2013

Pushing Limits - Q1 2013

Women & Risks - Q4 2012

Women & Ideals - Q3 2012


Change is in the air - Q1 2012

PWI PROGRAM - Building the women pipeline to the board: Talent & Recruitment - Autumn 2011

Mentoring - Summer 2011

Women Under the Spotlight - Spring 2011

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  • 27 Aug 2011 22:59 | Deleted user

    Call for Mentors

    PWI has developed a Mentoring Program specifically for our members. The features of this program are described in the following document 201108_PWI Brussels Mentoring Program.pdf.

    One of the key benefits of being a PWI Brussels Member is the ability and opportunity to network across boundaries and enhance skills and knowledge within a safe and supportive environment.  There are many research papers focusing on female development and progression which have cited mentoring as one of the most significant contributions to individual success and career progression. Similar research also states that both the mentor and the mentee gain a great amount from the relationship, with learning and development experienced by both parties.

    We have the Mentoring program concept, structure, process, milestones … Now we need Mentors… PWI Brussels would like to give to all PWI Members the opportunity of being a Mentor in our program.  

    There is no minimum age, seniority, professional level or educational qualifications to become a PWI Mentor.  In our experience, any one of our members can be a mentor. You don’t have to be operating at board level to add value to someone else through a mentoring relationship. All we ask is that you have a level of personal and career experience that can be shared. You can also at the same time be both a mentor and a mentee.

    How to apply

    To be considered for the first PWI mentoring program starting in October, potential Mentors are now asked to complete the  Mentor Application Form PWI Mentor application.doc and return it to

    The deadline to apply as a Mentor is September 10th. This will allow you to attend the short Mentor training session (end-September) and to introduce yourself during the Mentoring Program Introduction Meetings (as described in the attached document). Of course you can become a candidate later for the following mentoring wave.

    Next Steps

    The Mentoring Program will be announced in the next edition of the PWI Magazine, which will be published in the first week of September.


    Please review the document “PWI Brussels Mentoring Program”  and let us have your feed-back before the 10th September by sending a mail to:


    We are looking forward to collecting your applications as Mentors and we thank you in advance for your generous contribution to the PWI goals in favour of women’s professional progress.


    Thanks and warm regards,


    The Mentoring Program Team:  Armelle, Alessandra and Melanie


    For further information about the PWI Mentoring Program and the Mentor role, please send an email to one of the following addresses or feel free to call:

     Armelle Loghmanian  Alessandra Zocca  Melanie Barker
     PWI president  Mentoring Program Sponsor  Mentoring Program Director
     0473 93 31 16  0474 98 99 90  0479 55 09 11

    P.S. - IMPORTANT - Please do not write or call if you would like to be a Mentee, because we will present the program to Mentees in September during the two Introduction Events.
    Mentees can only become candidates after the program Introduction Events (please see the Calendar in the attached “PWI Brussels Mentoring Program”).

  • 14 Aug 2011 22:29 | Deleted user

    PWI Mentoring Program Launch – Content, eligibility criteria and rules

    Table of Contents

    1.    The PWI Mentoring Program Concept
    1.1      What is PWI Mentoring?
    1.2      Why is Mentoring Important?
    1.3      What does PWI Mentoring offer? Features and values of PWI Mentoring
                    Characteristics of PWI Mentors
    1.4      Program Benefits
    1.5      Subjects covered by the PWI Mentoring Program
    1.6      Meeting frequency and length of relationship
    1.7      Conditions for Success
    2.    PWI Mentoring Program Process and Calendar
    2.1      What we offer
    2.2      The Calendar
    3.    Appendix
    3.1      Mentoring vs. Coaching – PWI’s view
    3.2      EPWN Mentoring Expertise

    1.    The PWI Mentoring Program Concept

    1.1     What is PWI Mentoring?

    Mentoring is a relationship that is created to share knowledge and experience for learning in a purposeful way.
    Mentoring is a voluntary, ‘not for profit’ relationship, a developmental partnership between two individuals who each take a defined role: The Mentor is a person with relevant knowledge, skills and experience, while the Mentee is a person who wants to learn from the mentor for her personal and professional development.

    To share knowledge and experience refers to the fact that age and seniority are no longer the decisive factors for choosing a mentor with the experience required to face today’s challenges. The traditional form of mentoring, characterized by a “wise elder mentoring the protégé(e)”, has given way to new, more egalitarian forms of mentoring.
    Mentoring is a powerful tool for learning and growth for both parties. For learning in a purposeful way is where the key strength of the mentoring process lies. The relationship is based on learning – and effective learning needs a clear purpose to prevent mentoring from becoming just another opportunity to talk, therefore each mentee must clearly specify her objectives upfront. The mentoring goals, and the processes to achieve these, are jointly defined by both mentor and mentee.

    1.2     Why is Mentoring Important?

    Mentoring is a powerful tool in today’s business world. It helps mentees with daily business life issues as well as with career orientations and decisions. A mentoring relationship can provide structure for the development of individual skills and leadership abilities. It provides mentors with unique opportunities to share experience, transmit lessons learned and learn from the younger generation.
    Mentoring plays a critical role in the progression of women professionals in all sectors. Research strongly suggests that working with a mentor in the world of business can make a significant difference to the professional advancement of a mentee. Having a role model and a trusted advisor  is not only inspiring, but can build confidence and lead to seeing new ways of achieving goals. Mentoring offers women the professional role models they need to ignite their professional success.
    Lack of mentoring, exclusion from networks, and the absence of women role models are continually cited as the key barriers to career advancement for women.

    1.3     What does PWI Mentoring offer? Features and values of PWI Mentoring

    It is widely recommended that women develop a panel of mentors – both women and men – with diverse backgrounds, skills and connections, in order to receive the different types of guidance and support they may need.

    In the PWI Mentoring Program mentors will play some of the roles described below. The mentor:
    •    Is supportive and acts as a sounding board to help her mentee successfully move forward professionally.
    •    Offers suggestions based on her own professional experience.
    •    Candidly shares issues related to gender in the workplace.
    •    Helps the mentee strategize to achieve career goals and weigh the pros and cons of career choices.
    •    Assists with strategies for time management essential to balancing work and personal life.
    •    Helps the mentee clarify her performance objectives and areas she would like to develop.
    •    Offers the mentee candid feedback and provides specific recommendations on areas in which the mentee would like to improve.
    •    Leads by example.
    •    Demonstrates knowledge and insight into applicable informal political processes.
    •    Exhibits components of an effective leadership style.
    •    Informs her mentee about any appropriate professional or educational opportunities she may be aware of.
    •    Has professional integrity will respect the confidentiality of the mentoring relationship.

    Characteristics of PWI Mentors
    The PWI Mentoring Team is made up of volunteers who design and run the mentoring program to provide guidance and training, share best practices and match mentees to mentors.

    Mentors will be drawn from PWI Brussels Members and from EPWN city networks, but can additionally be drawn from outside of this network. As this program is to benefit the PWI membership we will also look wider to identify mentors with specific competences, skills and levels of experience who share the values of PWI and who are interested in passing on their skills and encouragement to our members. 
    This may open up the PWI mentoring program to male mentors, allowing issues such as difficulties with male colleagues or some technical areas of work which are still predominantly male to be addressed.

    The PWI Mentoring Team will endeavor that Mentors involved in the program excel in:

    •    Relevant experience and/or knowledge - General, technical, and/or skill-related experience and/or knowledge likely to be useful to aspiring mentees.
    •    Communication skills – Skilled in key communication areas, such as active listening, providing constructive feedback, and demonstrating empathy.
    •    Willingness and availability to contribute to the success of others - PWI mentors want to help women in their professional advancement, and commit to the availability requirements of the program, knowing that they in turn will surely derive worthwhile benefits in the process.

    1.4     Program Benefits

     For mentors •    Contribute to the success of another professional by sharing their own resources and wisdom.
    •    Gain access to new perspectives.
    •    Enhance management and leadership skills.
    •    Gain respect and recognition as a professional who has the ability to encourage and develop others.
     For mentees •    Improve your professional skills and knowledge.
    •    Receive guidance on making career choices and on making the best strategies to achieve your objectives.
    •    Benefit from advice on unwritten rules and insight into the informal politics of organizations.
    •    Increased self-confidence and ability to reach goals.
    •    Receive candid feedback and recommendations on specific behaviors to improve.
     For PWI •    Distinguish PWI from other professional women’s networks.
    •    Attract press and corporate & strategic partners.
    For corporate and strategic Partners
    •    Increased employee engagement by providing continuous personal and professional development opportunities in and beyond their own organisation with one of the scientifically proven, most effective tools: mentoring.
    •    Improved performance, decision making capabilities and knowledge management by sharing experiences from their own and different industries & understanding cultural diversity.
    •    Creation of professional networks.


    1.5     Subjects covered by the PWI Mentoring Program

    Mentoring may address several areas:
    •    Specific career development plans,
    •    Business projects or
    •    General conditions in the mentee’s profession which can include: career change, setting up a company, marketing your business/yourself, project management, going back to work after absence, public speaking, leadership, networking skills, cross-cultural communication and work-life balance.

    1.6     Meeting frequency and length of relationship
    a)    PWI mentoring relationships are sustained over a period of time set by the mentoring pair, which is typically 6 months.
    b)    Depending on the preferences of mentor and mentee, they meet at regular intervals (e.g. once a month) in person, over the phone, through Skype, ooVoo, Messenger or e-mail.
    c)    The program ends when the goals are achieved or after the six months.  Exceptionally, the relationship may break down in some way and then mentoring will cease.

    1.7     Conditions for Success

    The success of mentoring depends directly on the engagement of both parties and the responsibility of both for their own progress, and should be translated into concrete actions. An effective mentoring relationship is measured by the achievement of the initial goals and the satisfaction of the mentee and mentor with the mentoring relationship.

    The following qualities however have been cited by mentoring pairs as crucial to a successful relationship:
    •    Mutual trust and confidentiality.
    •    A supportive attitude.
    •    Acceptance and appreciation of difference.
    •    Open-mindedness and a willingness to learn in new ways.
    •    Respect for one another’s contributions and learning styles.
    •    The courage to be open, honest and challenging

    2.    PWI Mentoring Program Process and Calendar

    PWI Brussels offers a mentoring program to promote the professional progress of women through each one of their career phases.
    The PWI Mentoring Program is open for all PWI members to participate in as mentees. 

    2.1     What we offer
    •    Opportunity for PWI members to serve as a Mentor and/ or Mentee.
    •    Experienced mentors from prominent organizations drawn from both within the PWI network and outside.
    •    Mentoring Program launch event.
    •    Matching of Mentors and Mentees on an individual basis.
    •    Training workshop for Mentors about the mentoring program rules established by the PWI Mentoring Team.
    •    Program monitoring, including individual support, guidance for mentoring pairs, and surveys. 

    2.2     The Calendar

    The PWI Mentoring Program includes the following process milestones:
    Information Sessions - These sessions give basic information about mentoring in the PWI Mentoring Program to those who are considering joining the program as a mentor, mentee or volunteer in the Mentoring Team. They can also be an opportunity for potential mentors and mentees to meet.  MENTORS will introduce themselves during these two meetings.  PWI will organize an ongoing program with minimum two main start dates each year.  This may be increased to three sessions per year if the waiting list is too long.
    a)    For the commencement of the program in the autumn of 2011 there will be two introductory sessions to explain the program and for potential mentors and mentees to meet.

    2011 - 2012 program (1st Wave *)

     Call for Mentors  1st week September
     Introductory session (1)  September 24
     Introductory session (2)  October 6
     Matching  October

     Program start  November 1
     Program Evaluation  April 1

    *A 2nd wave of the mentoring program is planned in spring 2012

    b)    Mentor and Mentee Matching - Mentors and mentees are matched by the PWI Mentoring Team on the basis of short Mentor and Mentee Profiles describing their motivation, expectations, expertise, and practical constraints (e.g. location or preferred language). The Mentor Application form is attached.
    c)    Program Supervision - The mentoring process is supervised by the PWI Mentoring Team in order to ensure adherence to the rules, transparency and support.
    d)    A Follow-Up Program - The PWI Mentoring Team gathers feedback and lessons from members’ experiences of mentoring. The second wave of the PWI Mentoring Program will be reviewed and improved in response to analysis of feedback from the first wave of mentoring.

    3.    Appendix

    3.1    Mentoring vs. Coaching – PWI’s view

    Mentoring is about bringing out the very best in people by listening, asking questions and providing feedback. It is a developmental relationship. Mentoring and coaching differ in that a coach needs to be an expert in the areas and skills required to foster her client’s development, while a mentor has specific knowledge or a particular experience the mentee is looking for.
    The mentor and coach have different roles in the learning process. A coach is responsible for the challenge of stimulating and guiding the coachee to reach a higher level of her potential.
    A mentor, as role model, shares relevant experiences, and leaves it to the mentee to apply the knowledge in a way that best suits her purpose.

     3.2     EPWN Mentoring Expertise

    The Mentoring programs across EPWN are very successful. Here are some details:
    •    More than a quarter of EPWN members (>850) are actively involved in mentoring programs across Europe.
    •    9 city networks had a local Mentoring Program in 2010 (Paris, Madrid, Milan, Nice, Vienna, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London)
    •    2 new Mentoring Programs in Milan and EuropeanPWN London
    •    Planned launches of local Mentoring Programs in 2011 in Oslo, Barcelona, Marseille, Lisbon, Frankfurt & Brussels

  • 14 Aug 2011 17:59 | Deleted user

    The art of Mentoring: the EPWN program
    Interview of Ines O'Donovan by Alessandra Zocca, PWI

    Mrs. Ines O'Donovan- PhD Researcher, Editor-in-Chief for the International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching, MBA Lecturer and Public Speaker, Founder and leader of the European Mentoring Program for the European Professional Women Network (EPWN) and of the Mentoring Program for the Nice – Côte d’Azur local affiliate.- was interviewed by Alessandra Zocca (PWI).

    Over the last six years the Mentoring Program has become one of the main advantages of EPWN for its members. You - as founder and leader of the program - have achieved outstanding results, congratulations on this success! And a big thank you for your commitment and hard work!

    Thanks a lot, Alessandra! It is good to hear that my contribution is appreciated … I have put a lot of my passion, energy and time into the Mentoring program.

    When I initiated the European Mentoring Program over 2 years ago, there were only 6 local Mentoring programs, all working on their own, now members of the EPWN can choose to participate in the European Mentoring program and/or in one of the 13 local mentoring programs that exist or are being created in 2011.

    Actually, 26% of the EPWN members state that they joined the EPWN because of our Mentoring programs.

    What inspired you to initiate working on Mentoring?

    Alessandra, believe it or not, I recently found a note on my iPod, where in 2003 I wrote that I wanted to work on mentoring, isn’t that incredible?  I do not remember I wrote this but it obviously led my way.
    Women tend to be shyer and often don’t dare to ask for help. Some might struggle to find the right person to help: I strongly believe that Mentoring is one of the most effective ways to learn and to advance personally and professionally. Actually, research suggests that working with a mentor in the world of business can make a big difference to the professional advancement of a mentee, for example:
    •    In a study of nearly 500 Executive Women, 37% of them stated that having an influential mentor or sponsor is a  critical ingredient for success; four out of five considered this strategy as at least partly responsible for their own career advancement (Catalyst, 1995).
    •    96% of Executives in Fortune 500 companies believe that Mentoring is an important developmental tool (van Collie, 1998)

    How have you developed the European Mentoring Program for EPWN?

    When I started running Mentoring Programs, I began with a local Mentoring Program to support the needs expressed by our members in Nice. Then, in order to provide the most appropriate mentors to our mentees, we started to put the existing programs together and provided international mentors. It worked well and we continued to add other local PWNs. Indeed the breadth of our European network – over 3.000 members - ensures the possibility to have the right match between mentors and mentees.

    Finally, at the beginning of 2010 at the EPWN’s annual meeting, we took the decision to institutionalize and structure the existing Mentoring Program into the current European Mentoring Program.

    Ines, what is “Mentoring at EPWN”, exactly? How does it work? Which subjects can it cover? What are the key benefits?

    Mentoring is a tool. It is a voluntary, developmental partnership through which a more experienced person (the mentor) shares her knowledge and skills to support someone else (the mentee) in achieving her career objectives. The Mentoring goals, and the processes to achieve these, are jointly defined by both mentor and mentee. Mentoring is a powerful tool for learning and growth for both parties.
    At the EPWN we offer the matching of mentors and mentees, 1-to-1 relationships and group Mentoring. We provide online and offline training and support Mentoring pairs during their Mentoring relationship.
    The subjects covered in Mentoring could include: career change, setting up a company, marketing your business/yourself, project management, going back to work after absence, public speaking, leadership, networking skills, cross-cultural communication and work-life balance, etc. It is up to the mentors and mentees to decide on which topic they want to work.
    There are certainly benefits for both the mentees and the mentors, meaning it is a win-win process. Mentees can develop personally and professionally in a friendly and safe environment, enhance their international mindset and increase their confidence and ability to achieve goals. Mentors raise their professional market value and visibility and enlarge their professional networks. They learn a lot about how to help others to succeed. A wonderful feeling!
    Obviously, it is important to respect some key conditions for the Mentoring process success, like mutual trust and confidentiality between mentor and mentee, courage to be open, honest and challenging, acceptance and appreciation of difference, open-mindedness and a willingness to learn in new ways and respect one another’s contributions and learning styles.

    What have you learned from this experience?

    I learned that I can create something on a bigger level. I experienced not only how to work with a wide variety of cultures beyond what I had done before but also how to bring them all together for the benefit of the EPWN members and the EPWN itself.

    What is then, Ines, your vision for Mentoring?

    My vision is that every person in the world has at least one mentor at any time of their life.

    I am just in the process of creating a global Mentoring network on topics related to the personal and professional life... I have just trained my muscles with the EPWN Mentoring Program.

    I am also teaching mentoring Mentoring and Coaching skills to current and future leaders in a worldwide MBA program in order to spread the power of Mentoring across the globe.

      Short Biography
    Ines O’Donovan is PhD Researcher, Editor-in-Chief, MBA Lecturer and Public Speaker specialized in leadership, mentoring, employee engagement and well-being/stress management.
    Her current research with Lancaster University takes her beyond Europe to countries across the world looking at the relationship between leader behavior and employee engagement. In addition to her research, Ines teaches online courses on 'Coaching and Mentoring for Leadership and Management' and 'International Human Resource Management' for MBAs.
    Beyond that, Ines heads up the International Journal of Mentoring and Coaching as Editor-in-Chief. She has authored articles on mentoring and the influence of leadership on well-being for a range of publications.
    Between 2006 and 2011 Ines had been leading the Mentoring Program for the EuropeanPWN Nice – Côte d’Azur and the European Mentoring Program. She is also involved in other Mentoring activities, advising for instance W.I.N. on their Mentoring program as the Mentoring Expert.

  • 06 Apr 2011 02:06 | Deleted user

    Back to PWI Magazine - Spring 2011

    Tapping into Talent: 1st Pan European Event In Madrid

    EuropeanPWN connected more than 200 of its leaders and stakeholders across cultures, generations, genders, functions and sectors….and on Feb. 10, TOGETHER, we pushed the progress of women in business! The 1st Pan European event held in Madrid and titled, Tapping Into Talent, linked more than 15 partners/sponsors, 20 speakers from Women on Boards to the women and men across the leadership pipeline, entrepreneurs, authors, futurists and EuropeanPWN members and guests from 18 countries...

    For full coverage of the event: click here

    Back to PWI Magazine - Spring 2011

  • 02 Apr 2011 02:10 | Deleted user

    Back to PWI Magazine - Spring 2011

    Women bring a needed talent in Human Resource Management!
    An interview by Alessandra Zocca

    Roberto Carlini

    Mr. Roberto Carlini - head of the "Recruitment and End of Service" Unit of the Directorate General for Human Resources and Security of the European Commission - was interviewed by Alessandra Zocca (PWI).

    PWI – Mr Carlini,you are heading the HR Unit "Recruitment and End of Service", which employs many women. Could you please tell us more about the percentage of women in your unit and more generally across the European Commission?

    Mr. Carlini – According to the HR Report 2010, around 50% of employees are women of which more than 25% hold senior management positions. At “Board” level,  the European Commission has 9 women out of 27 Commissioners.

    Within the whole Commission, the percentage of female staff for HR management reaches 80%while in my unit it is 90%; Indeed HR management is the third most women-intensive function in the EC, following Medical & Social Care and Secretariat & support functions.

    The "Recruitment and End of Service unit" runs an annual operational budget of about 20 Million Euros and deals with about 3000 recruitment files per year. It counts about 6O employees in Belgium and Luxemburg and has recently been organised into 5 sectors (*) and 1 taskforce - three of them headed by women and three by men.

    PWI – Impressive figures!  Are these percentages consistent across all the EU countries?

    Mr. Carlini – Actually, the latest enlargement processes for the European Union (**) has brought about some changes to the traditional picture. Indeed, many more women with a strong scientific background have joined the EC. In some ways, it seems that the majority of female applicants for a HR management career originates from  the "Western" members countries, where the individual's genuine "passion" for people, is probably  also supported by a common tradition in this business community.


    Roberto Carlini and his team

     Mr. Roberto Carlini and his Team

    PWI - In your opinion, why are women so attracted by a career in HR management?

    Mr. Carlini – For a number of reasons; basically managing human resources allows first of all regular contact with people, which is never monotonous. It also includes a balanced mix of rules and exceptions where a high level of judgment is required. Women, I have work with, in general, enjoy the possibility to demonstrate their high standards of professionalism and ethics, but they also appreciate the opportunity offered by HR management to be creative.

    PWI – Roberto, could you please provide an overview of the tasks which the Recruitment Unit employees are involved with? What are the main challenges for the Recruitment Unit?

    Mr. Carlini – Sure. The mission of this Unit is to guarantee an optimal recruitment for the whole EC (i.e. hiring the best resources at the right time for the right job), optimising the recruiting processes and setting the appropriate recruitment policies.
    Our main challenge is the effective implementation of the "zero growth" policy for resources in a difficult social and economic environment for the whole EU.

    PWI – How do you value gender diversity?

    Mr. Carlini – Mixed teams are the best option, because they bring strengths from both genders, and increase people’s areas of improvement. Gender balance is one of the main pluses for the European Commission and a key factor in reaching its business objectives.

    PWI – During your career and in your current position, have you noticed any significant differences between women’s and men’s behaviour and performance at work?

    Mr. Carlini – I have to confess that on average the individual quality of women’s work is outstanding. I mean that ladies demonstrate high standards of competency, integrity, professionalism/reliability, ethics, quality orientation, and are willing to improve. Women‘s contribution has an essential and irreplaceable value.
    On the other hand, I notice that at first women sometimes struggle or they are not comfortable at working in teams prefering their role as individuals, rather than as a team member. Of course there are several exceptions, but it tends to be more based on friendship or alliances. In other words, women seems to approach problem solving as an individual exercise, rather than a collective effort.
    Additionally, women, despite good relationships with their female colleagues, tend to become more competitive and need to get their contributions noticed and recognised by their boss more than men.

    PWI – What are the challenges for a male boss in leading women?

    Mr. Carlini – I believe that four fundamental actions have to be put in place:

    • Inspire them with ambitious objectives to demonstrate that their boss believes in their potential

    • Provide growth opportunities through training, team work and project management

    • Lead by example: show them the ability to manage diversity and effective competencies management

    • Reward and celebrate results by promoting a woman’s visibility and career based on merit

    PWI – What are your key recommendations for women aiming at "Board" positions?

    Mr. Carlini – In a nutshell, this is my advice:

    • Demonstrate your vision and your ability to implement it

    • Dare to accept challenges

    • Invest in competencies and team work

    • Manage human resources effectively

    • Be flexible and positive in the change process and quickly recognise the opportunities it might bring.

    In just a word I would say: Show "leadership".


    Mr. Roberto CARLINI has been head of the "Recruitment and End of Service" Unit of the Directorate General for Human Resources and Security of the European Commission since July 2010. During his professional career, he has also been head of the internal audit, head of a large operational unit in the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Ispra, Italy, and manager of a multinational consulting firm in Italy and in the UK.  His current projects focus on Business Process Re-engineering and policy making in the HR domain.

    (*)     1. Recruitment of officials and temporary agents in Brussels, 2. Recruitment of Contract Agents in Brussels, 3. Recruitment of Seconded National Experts and Interim staff, 4. All recruitment operations and end of service in Luxembourg, 5. Relations with EPSO, Competitions and Selections, Task Force for internal competitions
    (**) Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania

    Disclaimer - Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of DG HR/European Commission, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.

    Back to PWI Magazine - Spring 2011

  • 22 Mar 2011 19:15 | Deleted user

    Back to PWI Magazine - Spring 2011

    Hospitality: a new trend sector for women?
    An interview by Alessandra Zocca

    Pr. George Ubbelohde - Director of Education and International Development in Brussels Business Institute, College of Hospitality and Tourism Management - was interviewed by Alessandra Zocca (PWI).

    PWI – The hospitality industry is characterised by a significant number of women in a range of different positions. Could you please tell me more about whether women are in leading positions? Are there many women board members?

    Mr.Ubbelohde –The last several decades has been a period of remarkable change and growth for women in the field. In restaurants, hotels, catering firms, resorts, meetings … and many other venues throughout the events industry, women are becoming much more visible in management roles and other key positions.
    Although women have come a long way in the workplace, men continue to hold the most prestigious positions and the majority of board places.
    The following facts are very significant for the International Hospitality Industry: “Although 58% of the two million-strong workforce in the UK is female, the numbers plummet at senior levels. The proportion of middle managers is 40%, senior managers 20%.
    At board level, the figure is only 6%, compared with about 12% in other industries in the UK. In a customer-focused industry in which 83 per cent of purchasing decisions are made by women, the lack of representation at the top surely does not make good business sense.” (The Times, 19 Oct 2009)
    Concerns about how to achieve a sustainable work-life balance, time management, negotiations and conflict resolution skills remain the most important issues women face in their careers. The hospitality sector is particularly demanding because of irregular hours of work and women are disadvantaged in this aspect.

    PWI – In your opinion why does the hospitality sector attract women?

    Mr. Ubbelohde –The hospitality industry is a “people” business and women have an influence in many day-to-day decisions. Women have a better understanding of certain segments of the industry and this could lend creativity and innovation to the work place.
    Different approaches to traditional problems, team dynamics and flexibility are some of the most important elements which attract women to the hospitality sector.

    PWI – And from the point of view of succession in companies of the hospitality and tourism industry and looking towards the new generation, does training in the hospitality industry appeal to an increasing and significant number of female students? Can you please provide some statistics?

    Mr. Ubbelohde –Indeed, the number of female students pursuing an education in hospitality has increased tremendously in the last few years. Based on my observation in several hotel management schools around Europe, the ratio of female students to male students can be  65% to 35%, in some classes you may have 20 female students versus 2 male students.

    PWI – What is a typical career path in this sector?

    Mr. Ubbelohde –In the hospitality sector, the career path starts by working in the day to day operations of the company. This is usually a difficult start and also a discouraging element especially for women due to the irregular hours and days. The departments include: Front Office, Food and Beverage, Housekeeping.
    Later, when the opportunity arises, mid-management levels such as reservation manager, sales manager …etc. can be achieved.
    Reaching mid-management positions may take 5 years and more. The highest turnover in the industry is observed between 3 to 5 years and particularly amongst the women in the workforce.
    On average, an upper managerial position can be reached in 7 to 10 years based on the company development scheme, the country, personal development plan and many other factors.
    Most females can be found in HR Management, Sales Management and Housekeeping Management.

    PWI – Is it true that hospitality is an industry in which it is difficult to get a job, if applicants do not have a strict hotel background? Why is that? Is that likely to change?

    Mr. Ubbelohde – The hospitality industry is becoming more and more sophisticated in terms of standards, requirements and objectives, also, it is changing from a service approach to a more profitable business approach.
    Hospitality studies, experience and/or a hotelier background is usually required for the first application for mid-managerial positions. However, for the entry level service positions hotelier experience and/or studies may be an asset but not essential.
    Being a service industry, open-minded, customer-oriented, flexible employees from different educational and cultural backgrounds with language capabilities have been always valued at all levels.

    PWI – How does hospitality education evolve to support students and particularly female students to be ready for jobs in hospitality and tourism?

    Mr. Ubbelohde – Hospitality education, on the one hand, should develop the operational expertise that students need to be successful and, on the other hand, enable students to develop the necessary strategic and management skills which will enable them to become talented, effective and successful managers.
    Hospitality education programs could make a great contribution by highlighting the existence of barriers and gender issues in the industry. This could be accomplished by developing courses on required skills, and providing more mentors and role models (especially female professionals) for students. There are many implications on curriculum design and industry training for hospitality educators and industry recruiters. Hospitality education plays an important role in preparing future leaders and creating a more equitable environment for women.


    Pr. George Ubbelohde has considerable experience with over 15 years work within the international hospitality industry and has assumed diverse managerial positions before joining the education sector. He has mainly worked for the Sheraton Hotel group, but also for Millennium and Dorint hotel groups has worked in several different countries.
    In 1998 he joined the education sector and since then he has become the “Director of Education and International Development” in BBI- Brussels Business Institute, College of Hospitality and Tourism Management (*).
    He is a CHE- Certified Hospitality Educator and a Faculty Member of Educational Institute of American Hotel & Lodging Association, USA.

    In October 2010, George received the Best European Paper Award by UNWTO.TedQual on the theme of: “Encouraging creativity and entrepreneurship among students, while keeping teachers up to date”.

     Contact details:   

    Disclaimer - Any views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Brussels Business Institute of Higher Education/College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, nor do they constitute a legally binding agreement.


    BBI – Brussels Business Institute, College of Hospitality and Tourism Management provides a 3 year Bachelor Degree program and a 2 year Master Degree program applying an accredited curriculum of the Educational Institute of the American Hotel & Lodging Association in USA.
    Combining European hospitality traditions and innovative management techniques from the English-speaking world, BBI offers a new study concept to students who wish to begin their careers in international hospitality.
    BBI is currently the only institute in Belgium offering hospitality management education in the English language.

    Back to PWI Magazine - Spring 2011

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