The gender diversity debate has been a powerful jolt to the way business, politics and society sees itself. Change is definitely coming, and long overdue, but there are pioneers that have been setting the standards.
Among them is Michelle Michael, co-owner of the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare who believes the amusements industry, and the hospitality sector in general, is ahead of the curve.
Grand Pier co-owner Michelle Michael has told press she “could not imagine” an environment where women were not welcomed in the hospitality sector.
Michael has been a fixture of the seaside amusements industry since 2008, when she purchased the pier with brother Kerry.
She said that its “friendly” support had been invaluable, especially after the blaze of July 2008 that destroyed the pier’s pavilion building.
Michael told the Weston Mercury: “We were shown behind the scenes, introduced to suppliers; we discussed prices, IT systems, rides, ticketing and almost everything else down to décor and durability of products.
“We could not have re-opened without this extremely relevant sharing of knowledge and experience.
“Throughout that journey, I did not once feel threatened as a woman or feel anyone had placed barriers up because of my gender.”
“Sometimes in a debate with others, you may experience the feeling some may not know your experience or value your opinion, but usually this happens in an environment of change, where those in the mix have a reluctance to change.”
As the industry adapts to change, she said it was crucial for a business’s management to surround itself with “good people”.
Michael added: “Treat them as you would wish to be treated yourself and take responsibility for the future of your business.
“We need to adapt to changes and it is your responsibility as the head of the business to ensure you are ahead of the curve.”