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To celebrate International Women’s Day and 2021’s theme ‘Choose to Challenge’, Hollicom worked alongside Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel to host leading figures from across Scotland’s hospitality and tourism sector in a special ‘virtual social hour’.

Social Hour is a long-standing tradition in Kimpton Hotels. It began in San Francisco in 1981 when founder Bill Kimpton wanted a gathering place for guests to feel a sense of community and inclusion and to relax at the end of the day.

40 years later, while we could not physically come together in the hotel for a glass of wine and to celebrate International Women’s Day as we may have hoped, we helped Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel continue the tradition online with an alternative social hour, connecting women’s voices from across Scotland’s tourism and hospitality sectors in an important conversation around gender equality in a post-pandemic world.

The past 12 months in the hospitality industry have been all about change and challenging the way in which we work and live. But for decades before this, women faced challenges within the sector.

Curated by Hollicom and Kimpton Blythswood Square, Hotel Manager Gillian Mylles was joined by IHG Director of Commercial, Shauna Campbell and a selection of brilliant women who stand-out in their industry for having embraced differences, grasped opportunities and challenged obstacles and inequalities all the way and who are stand as brilliant role models to young women in the industry.

This included Aarti Joshi, Head of Marketing, Communications & Sponsorship at DF Concerts, Scotland’s biggest concert promoter; Barbara Smith, one of Scotland’s most experienced leaders in the tourism and visitor attraction sector and MD of Diageo Scotland Brand Homes, including the new Johnnie Walker Princes Street development; Cat Leaver, Head of Brand at VisitScotland; Giovanna Eusebi, Cook and Co- Owner of Eusebi Deli & Restaurant in Glasgow’s West End; Jules Brown, founder of Staycation Scotland Campervans and Director at The Social Peach UK and Rosemary McLennan MD of Scottish PA Network & Founder of Staycation Scotland online booking site.

What occurred was an open and honest conversation, which shared experience, knowledge and encouragement. To allow more people to take part in the conversation and hear their brilliant stories we made the call available as a podcast.

Be energised and empowered. Listen here >

Mary Portas says in her book Work Like A Woman that “Women today are working in a man’s culture-and it’s holding us back” Here, Cat Leaver, Head of Brand for Visit Scotland told us what she thinks.

Barbara Smith, MD of Diageo gb Scotland Brand Homes, including the new @johnniewalkerprincesstreet tells us what advice she would give to her younger self.

Jules Brown, founder of @StaycationScotland was challenged in her business at the start of Covid but saw a brilliant opportunity and made her dream a reality! We’d encourage you to look at her brilliant campervans and plan your next Scottish adventure (including a stay at Kimpton Blythswood Square of course 😉)

Giovanna Eusebi, owner and chef of a Glasgow favourite eusebi deli talks about how you and your business can #ChooseToChallenge 

Katie Palmer is a Senior Account Manager at Hollicom.