Gender equality alive and well at Sudima

New Zealand hotel group Sudima Hotels employs almost 350 people across its three hotels in Auckland, Rotorua and Christchurch. After winning the ‘Walk the Talk’ prize at the 2018 Diversity Works Awards, Sudima Hotels has done the math on gender diversity at its properties.

Sudima found women represent 61 percent of the company's employees, 50 percent of the management level, and 33 percent of the governance staff.

According to Grant Thornton International's 2018 Women in Business report, women made up just 18 percent of company leadership teams. Overall, New Zealand was ranked 33 out of the 35 countries in the report for the number of women in senior roles.

Recently, the hotel group has appointed two new female hotel managers. Maree Welgus has been appointed to lead the new Sudima Christchurch City set to open in 2019, and Ana Vivas has joined the company as hotel manager of Sudima Christchurch Airport.

“We have always found that if we recruit externally, most applicants for the hotel manager positions are men. To help address the gender imbalance at this level and create more opportunities in the sector for qualified women, we trained and mentored our best female executive assistant manager, Maree, and asked her to be patient while the right opportunity to come up,” said Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala, CEO, Sudima Hotels.

“In our experience, a lack of gender representation in any given position is not about a shortage of talent but comes back to the responsibility of leaders to create avenues for all people to develop professionally and advance in their careers.”

Jhunjhnuwala founded the company with the belief that you have to leave the world in a better way than you found it, and that he should work to protect the natural environment, and as an employer embrace all people regardless of culture, colour, caste, creed, gender, sexual orientation, age, mental or physical ability.

Director of talent and culture at Sudima Hotels, Phillipa Gimmillaro, explained the company’s mentality.

“We have countless examples of people within the business who fell ill, or were having difficulty finding work, or had family issues or faced extreme hardship, and the company has adapted to accommodate their strengths and talents rather than them having to bend to the world, as is usually the case in business,” said Gimmillaro.

Going forward, Sudima is investing in more diversity initiatives such as establishing a Diversity Team to create more opportunities for women to lead multiple portfolios.