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Redefining Stereotypes; One Story at a Time

This International Women’s Day, we are redefining female clichés through the eyes of our female associates. Join us as we shine the spotlight on several inspiring individuals, and discover their unique stories that were instrumenting in moudling them to where they stand today.

Their skills span diverse disciplines, but a thread that runs common is their fierce commitment towards gender equality and female empowerment. Join Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts as we do our small part to fight labels and stand in solidarity towards gender issues and more. Read on to learn more about our inspiring women.

“Ros is such a demanding woman.”

If setting high standards for yourself and those around you earns you the label of being “demanding”, avid wine connoisseur, Ros, will happily cheers to that. Without a role model to look up to, she graduated from the school of hard-knocks by constantly toughening and fortifying herself. It is through holding her peers and team members to the same level of excellence did she learn that being demanding helped fuel one’s journey of self-discovery.

With almost 30 years of experience under her belt and leadership positions across various industries, Ros is surprisingly modest in narrating her previous accomplishments. Instead, she finds joy in what she has yet to achieve. “To find purpose, you need to push yourself very hard.” In an age where people often rely on interpretive signs from the universe or sudden bursts of inspiration for enlightenment, Ros’ philosophy is perhaps a timely reminder that there are no shortcuts in the school of life. Only by sitting through the lectures of failure and lessons of dismay can each individual realise their worth and potential.

Alongside other admirable women in Banyan Tree’s management team, who Ros fondly refers to as “comrades”, she is confident that more will toast to dreaming big, aiming high, and being unapologetic for having standards.

“Ren Pokes Her Nose Into Everyone’s Business.”

Armed with passion and a curious mind, Ren embraces every opportunity to step out of the ordinary. Be it travelling the world in pursuit of learning about other cultures or running different businesses, all these moments of growth have made Ren the person she is today – an influential leader, a compassionate mentor and a discerning businesswoman. While some might argue her position enables her to poke her nose into everyone’s business, her tenacity and disposition of “caring too much” is what pushes people around her to be more than just critical thinkers – but to also think with heart and purpose.

Recounting a conversation she had with a colleague who has worked with Banyan Tree for over 15 years, and who after working with Ren commented that she was “falling in love with Banyan Tree again”, she let out a smile of pride and contentment. Growing up with two brothers, Ren counts herself lucky to be raised in a gender-blind family. However, she is not naïve that subconscious patterns of biases exists in society and consequently in the company. Tackling the problem head-on, on her plate are ongoing projects to review gender pay-gaps and roll out group-wide operational standards with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

A nod to the quote “women hold up half the sky”, she invites women to step out into the light and let passion take centre stage in making a positive impact.

““Kai overthinks everything.”

A champion of progression, Kai has inspired many team members to be game-changers within their departments. Her passion for learning and congeniality shaped the leader she is today – passionate about maximising her team’s potential and recognising the need for workplace happiness.

As the Group’s first female General Manager, Kai earned this label from constantly pushing boundaries to make improvements around Banyan Tree Bangkok. Not one to shy away from feedback, Kai welcomes this comment with open arms.

A strong advocate for learning, she encourages her teams to dive deep with her, challenging their thinking and coming up with solutions together. In her professional capacity, Kai has never allowed gender to define her capabilities, especially when her current role is one more commonly assigned to men.

Finding herself surrounded by the growing number of female leaders within the Group, Kai is more empowered than ever to run the extra mile to make a larger impact, including raising more females in senior positions. A firm believer that women should not let gender stereotypes quieten their voices, Kai is a testament of how grit and tenacity with a zealous attitude can move mountains.

“Kung can’t keep her mouth shut.”

Powered by her love for hospitality, Kung spent six months in Banyan Tree Bangkok learning hotel operations while under UNICEF’s guardianship programme. Her determination at an early stage propelled her onto the management path the moment she completed the programme. Today, Kung is an Assistant Manager at Banyan Tree Club, overseeing the team’s performance and grooming, building strong relationships with guests and ensuring all gaps are filled on the ground.

Connecting with people is Kung’s superpower. She enjoys the process of learning about guests’ lives, paying attention to their needs and making them feel welcomed. Kung’s most memorable guest experience to date is having the privilege of hosting a family that stayed at the hotel every year. She maintained such a close bond with the family that one day, they surprised her with an all-expenses paid holiday to their hometown across the globe.

Thankful to be in an organisation where female leaders are supported and celebrated, Kung pledges to offer the same support and love to other female leaders in the making. She encourages every woman to embrace their gifts and be fearless in the betterment of their competencies – similar to how her flair in connecting with people has taken her to places.

“Maew is calculative.”

Working with Maew, one will quickly realise she is hyper sensitive when it comes to the delicate equilibrium between cost and quality. In actuality, Maew is just being meticulous – a perfect fit for her role as Senior Manager of Purchasing at Banyan Tree Bangkok. Years of crunching numbers, negotiating with multiple suppliers simultaneously, managing logistics and ascertaining product quality has shaped Maew into the “3R” leader she is today - Responsible, Reliable and Resilient. In response to her cliché, Maew quipped that being calculative has helped to develop her keen eye for detail and business acumen. In her role, there is little room for error as she represents the hotel to negotiate purchase decisions that balance cost and quality.

Apart from honing her negotiation skills, Maew has also learnt the importance of constant upgrading and be ready to bring her A-game at any time. She seizes every opportunity to improve herself and today enjoys the fruit of her labour where she leads her team with rigour and enthusiasm. Maew hopes to pay it forward by supporting other women as they work towards accomplishing their dreams. In her own words, "The key is to always keep learning!”

“Renu belongs in the kitchen.”

A true artist in the kitchen, Renu’s creativity inspires and tantalises the palate of travellers around the world. Working with her peers in an industry that tends to be male-dominated, Renu’s dedication to her craft pushed her to overcome the prejudices she faced as a female chef and today creates magic in the kitchen. She is currently Corporate Chef of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts, leading the Group’s signature restaurant, Saffron.

The kitchen played an instrumental role in her success today. It is a space where Renu feels completely in her element; where she can experiment and let her imagination run wild. Calling it her safe haven, Renu embarks on a sensorial journey every time she closes the door and puts ingredients to the test, finding ways to bring out the best of their taste, smell and texture.

Renu draws from her journey of strength to guide other women in adopting a positive attitude, explaining how perseverance can change their life’s trajectory. When Renu first started her professional career, sharing a stage with Michelin starred chefs seemed to be a distant dream. Today, that dream is her reality.

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