Women’s empowerment is an effective way to drive progress: Princess Lamia

A session of the AccorHotels – Empowerment & Integration Forum 2018. — Courtesy photo

JEDDAH — AccorHotels organized the 2nd Edition of Women’s Empowerment and Integration Forum Initiative held in collaboration with Ministry of Labor and Social Development and Saudi Commission for Tourism & National Heritage & sponsored by Al Waleed Philanthropies. AccorHotels, the world’s leading travel & lifestyle group, hosted the event at the Sofitel. The event, which was sponsored by Princess Lamia Bint Majid, secretary general of Alwaleed Philanthropies, focused on inspiring a new generation of young Saudi women to reach the highest level of professional development.

The forum was endorsed by Local Authorities represented by the Ministry of Labor and the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) & Human Resources Development Fund. The forum, which was open to the public, attracted over 300 attendees including local businesses, NGOs as well as students from the University of Business & Technology (UBT) Jeddah and Dar Al Hekma University and massive attendance from government representatives.

Princess Lamia said: “We believe that women’s empowerment and integration in the workforce is one of the most effective ways of driving social and economic progress, and this goal influences a large part of our work. This supports our country’s target of getting 30 percent of women active in the workforce by 2030.” She also discussed the role of women in the Kingdom and their capacity to shape the future.

Mohamed Al Amry, general manager of SCTH for Makkah Region, added: “We are proud to be associated with this forum which fits within our goals to develop the skills and capabilities of young Saudi nationals in the Kingdom. Through this initiative we hope to raise further awareness amongst women within KSA on ways through which they can realize their full potential and integrate into the local hospitality market workforce.”

Salah Oumoudden, senior vice president of operations at Accor Hotels KSA, Egypt, Tunisia & Algeria, commented: “As the leading hotel operator in Saudi Arabia we are committed to empowering young female talent, enhancing their skills and helping them reaching their full potential within the workplace. We are dedicated to hiring more than 5,000 Saudi nationals over the next five years out of which 30 percent will be made up of women employees.”

Amar Belgat, director of human resources at Accor Hotels Middle East, said: “Initiatives such as the Women Empowerment and Integration Forum reflect AccorHotels’ core philosophy and our commitment to collaborate with the local communities which we operate in thereby encouraging women to join the workplace and the hospitality industry.”

The forum follows AccorHotels’ commitment towards diversity and providing equal opportunity across the organization. Through the Women at AccorHotels Generation (WAAG) program, the group is dedicated towards increasing the percentage of women across the organization.

In the region, AccorHotels was the first hotel group to appoint a Saudi women general manager of an operational hotel in addition to development of the Saudi Management Training Program (SMTP), a special management training program tailor-made to encourage Saudi nationals to enter the hospitality industry. The second edition of the program was the first to graduate 11 Saudi women manager past December 2017, and the SMTP is the first international hospitality training module to be recognized and accredited by the SCTH.

The Women Empowerment and Integration Forum featured workshops by Ms. Debbie Simister, director, talent & learning, AccorHotels Middle East; Ms. Hessa Al Mazroa, general manager of Suite Novotel Riyadh and the first Saudi women general manager; Badr El Ebeid director of hospitality profession nationalization department – Takamol, and Ms. Eman Rajhan director of women affairs department at Ministry of Labor Jeddah Branch. The speakers covered a number of relevant topics including achieving a work-life balance and creating greater employment awareness within hospitality private sector in Saudi Arabia. — SG