Race & Ethnicity

In 2019 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.

We seek to help companies on this journey.

To join the conversation, please email info@wihtl.com

The Ethnic Minorities Future Leaders 'EMFL' Programme

Borne out of collaboration amongst HTL leaders in the WiHTL Race & Ethnicity in HTL Committee, the EMFL 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 EMFL 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

Contact us for more information

WiHTL Programmes Feedback

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

"The first time in a 20 year career in HTL where BAME has been discussed."

"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 in HTL Committee


Established in June 2020, the Race & Ethnicity in HTL 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

Committee Members

Beth Clarke
Organisational Development Director

Avis Budget Group

Patsy Christian

Accounts Payable Manager

Bourne Leisure Ltd.

Rak Kalidas

Head of D&I UK & Ireland

Compass Group Plc

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


Siobhan Thomas

Global Talent Acquisition Director

InterContinental Hotel Group

Monica Chadha

NED and Advisor to the International Union of Cinemas

Caryn Savazzi

People Director


Jo Bradford

Group Talent & Inclusion Partner


Christina McGrath

Culture & Inclusion Consultant


Meeta Zakharia

HR Manager


Claire Smith

Head of Learning & Development


Karen Sidhu

Regional Operations Manager

ODEON Cinemas Group

Yusra Ali


Oxford Brookes University

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

Lynne Hookway

Head of People Services


Patrice Gordon

Head of Joint Ventures & Commercial

Virgin Atlantic

Matt Hudson

People Director


Janet Tidmarsh

Head of Diversity & Inclusion


Race & Ethnicity at Work -How Leaders Can Ensure Racial Equality

Reverse Mentoring Programme

Historically, people are more likely to mentor someone who they feel an affinity with, rather than someone who is very different to them. Our programme seeks to turn traditional mentoring on its head, pairing ethnic minority employees with senior managers and executive board members across the industry who might otherwise not come together due to different cultural backgrounds, and work and life experiences.

The initiative is designed to enlighten leaders about issues on race and ethnicity by exposing them to insightful conversations and experiences that they may otherwise never encounter. It also provides ethnic minority staff with the transparency and recognition they are seeking from management to help enhance their career opportunities and promotion. Our overarching aim is to promote a culture of inclusion and belonging across our sector, where everyone feels understood and valued.

Objectives of the Reverse Mentoring Programme

  • Improve commitment among senior managers to recruit, promote and retain ethnic minority talent within our HTL companies;

  • Educate leaders within the industry about the lived experience and challenges ethnic minority employees face within and outside the workplace;

  • Provide ethnic minority employees with a greater understanding of the HTL industry and the skills required for managerial and senior positions, as well as access to professional networks;

  • Develop strategies to advance race equality and promote good relations between different groups across the HTL community.



  • Identified as being from an ethnic minority background

  • Interested in sharing their lived experience - professional and personal

  • Interested in learning from others in the HTL industries and further afield

  • Committed to developing and taking responsibility for their careers


  • Identified as Senior Executive Leaders

  • Committed to meeting mentees every 6-8 weeks for 12 months and agree to hold 4-6 meetings within this period

  • Committed to listen, learn and take on board a fresh perspective

  • Interested in the challenges ethnic minority employees face in the sector

  • Passionate about role modelling and inclusive leadership

Getting started

Once the matching has been completed, the one-on-one relationship with your Mentee/Mentor will commence. The WiHTL team will support the Mentors and Mentees to get the most out of their relationships. Mentors and Mentees will have access to a wealth of support and useful online resources and pointers. We will monitor to see how the mentoring relationship is progressing and will ask Mentors and Mentees to complete short feedback forms to reflect on achievements and development and to see how we can best support the mentoring programme.

To apply to be a Mentor, click here

To apply to be a Mentee, click here

Reverse Mentoring for Ethnic Minority Staff in HTL

If you have any questions, please contact info@wihtl.com