Race & Ethnicity

In 2019 the WiHTL Advisory Board and HR Leaders Steering Group decided to extend our remit beyond gender diversity and focus on race and ethnicity. Since then many companies have come together sharing a desire to understand the challenges faced by people from ethnic minorities across hospitality, travel and leisure and to co-create solutions that give Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic employees a voice and a clear path to get to managerial and leadership level. Most companies across HTL are at the beginning of their journey in this area, some have taken steps like introducing blind CVs, others have run surveys among their employees, and over 20 HTL companies have signed the BITC Race at Work Charter. Many leaders are looking for guidance on how to start the conversation about race, how to create genuinely inclusive cultures, how to attract, recruit and retain talent from ethnic minorities and create innovative and practical solutions.

As part of our collective efforts, we have launched the EFL (Ethnic Future Leaders) Programme, one of its kind, ground breaking programme that has received some phenomenal background. The second cohort will start in November 2021.

We have also opened nominations for the ESL (Ethnic Senior Leaders) Get Board Ready Programme and we will soon be launching the ECS (Ethnic Career Support) Programme.

To join the conversation and find out more, please email info@wihtl.com

The Ethnic Future Leaders 'EFL' Programme

Borne out of collaboration amongst HTL leaders in the WiHTL Race & Ethnicity in HTL Committee, the EFL is the first and only cross-industry leadership development programme that

  • supports future leaders from an ethnic minority background

  • features role models from within the HTL industry

  • provides access to HTL C-suite executives

  • creates a community of ethnic minorities future leaders

The EFL programme is aimed at people from ethnic minorities in organizations across HTL who are highly motivated, show great potential and demonstrate leadership behaviors while not necessarily occupying positions of authority or management (their next level will be middle manager)

The programme includes:

  • virtual roundtables with HTL CEOs/Role Models

  • sessions on navigating career progression in HTL

  • a range of action learning and development tools

  • reverse mentoring and sponsorship

"It's only through this programme that I realised how naive and ignorant about race I was. This programme gave me that pivotal lightbulb moment: I can make a big difference to somebody’s career and help change the culture of my organisation."

To receive more information, email gina@wihtl.com.

What delegates say about the 'EFL' Programme

"Inspirational, aspirational and simply spine-tingling at times. When something or someone creates an opportunity for you to explore and understand what drives you deep down both personally and professionally, you know it will be an amazing experience."

"The EFL programme has exceeded my expectations by a long way. Having done many leadership courses I was expecting very similar content with more focus on D&I but these 6 months have been a game changer. I have managed to evolve and find a different side of myself where I feel like I am not scared to express my views and play a much more influential role in my personal and professional life."

"I have truly enjoyed this whole experience. I have made some valuable connections. My favourite aspect is that I realised that I am not alone in how I feel sometimes and the issues which I feel are important are also important to other people."

"The EFL Programme has taught me many things about myself in terms of my voice, brand and not being afraid to put myself out there. I can honestly say that this programme has had a massive positive impact on my career."

EFL Programme Feedback

"Thank you so much for including me, I feel less alone than I did before I walked in."

"Thank you WiHTL for empowering organisations to have these conversations and giving us the opportunity to share our stories."

"It was one of the best training events I have attended in a two decade career. The content was well curated and presenters were excellent. The topic was sensitively handled, but also pushed hard enough to say we have to do something. It was a privilege to be in room."

"It was fantastic to be present in a forum where honest and open conversations are taking place and someone is trying to lead change. Until we are open enough to talk about the issue change isn’t going to happen. I had the opportunity to hear strong, intelligent and inspirational women and men (who are similar to me) share their stories, it was inspirational to see that they are successful. Despite the obstacles they have encountered they have made it and are now paving the way and driving change positively for others.

I know that there is a lot more to do and this was recognised by all the companies in the room, but it was great to hear that there is real positive change happening out there. I left the masterclass feeling inspired."

Race at Work Charter - HTL Signatories

To sign the Race at Work Charter, please contact info@wihtl.com

Race & Ethnicity Committee


Established in June 2020, the Race & Ethnicity Committee includes individuals who are passionate about progressing the conversation on racial equality across the hospitality, travel and leisure industry.

The Committee supports the creation of best practices, tools, webinar content as well as advise on how best to raise awareness and improve educational programmes.

For more information or to be involved, email info@wihtl.com

R & E Committee Members

Patsy Christian

Accounts Payable Manager

Bourne Leisure

Melanie Aston

Diversity & Inclusion Manager

Compass Group (UK&I)

Karen Ferris

Engagement and D&I Lead


Rak Kalidas

Head of D&I UK & Ireland

Compass Group

Sabiha Chohan

Digital Propositions Manager

Costa Coffee

Mark Salvador

Head of Talent Acquisition

Delaware North

Jon Terry

Diversity & Inclusion Advisor

Tania Holcroft

People & Culture Director Director

Greene King

Jyoti Tailor

VP Finance, EMEA


Dupsy Abiola

Head of Global Innovation


Paula Gaillard

Learning & Development Manager


Vanessa Lefranc

HR Development Director

Elior Group

Monica Chadha

NED and Advisor to the International Union of Cinemas

Caryn Savazzi

People Director


Jo Bradford

Group Talent & Inclusion Partner


Meeta Zakharia

Head of HR & Inclusion


Claire Smith

Head of Learning & Development


Zoey Rimmer

Culture & Inclusion Consultant


Karen Sidhu

Regional Operations Manager

ODEON Cinemas Group

Mandy Kaur

Head of Legal

Pizza Express

Raj Jones

Diversity & Inclusion Manager

Sodexo Group

Roxy Shakerifar

(Former Head of People & Development Scott Dunn)

Head of People

Sweaty Betty

Denise Mackenzie

Head of Inclusion & Talent

The Big Table Group

Lynne Hookway

Head of People Services


Ed Godwin

People & Culture Director

Rare Restaurants

Patrice Gordon

Head of Joint Ventures & Commercial

Virgin Atlantic

Matt Hudson

People Director


Nicola Marshall

People Director

Welcome Break

Rachel Williams

People Business Partner

Welcome Break

Janet Tidmarsh

Head of Diversity & Inclusion


Claira Singh

Inclusion & Diversity Manager


Reverse Mentoring for Ethnic Minority Staff in HTL

Reverse Mentoring is a core component of WiHTL's Ethnic Minority Future Leaders (EMFL) Programme. Nominations are now open for the 2nd cohort of the EMFL programme and will close 15th September. To find out more gina@wihtl.com

To join WiHTL as a member, please enquire here