Women who inspire Team JH

Inspiration comes to us when people do extraordinary things that touch our lives & motivate us to do better. Creativity, innovation and courage of another person can inspire us and contribute to our success. When you think about it, these qualities are just as essential to any business, as they are to individuals.

For International Women’s Day, I asked the team at JH to share with me stories of women who inspire them. I saw a common theme here. Resilience. It is this resilience that inspires our team members in different ways to keep going. Snow or rain. To deliver, what we set out to, as a team. I share them with you here:

Dean Kennett, Managing Director:

The Queen. I’m not a true royalist. But I do respect what they represent in this country.

When I think about the Queen and her reign for over 60 years, I see an icon, possibly the most famous person on the planet. Yet, in interviews, I can’t help but admire her humor, life story and her thoughts on the world.

She’s lived through a World War, has seen 5 Popes & a dozen Prime Ministers (who in their own right always remark how their hour-long chats with Her Majesty were comforting, informative and inspiring); how, in a short sentence, she can suggest or offer guidance to those people without taking any of the glory herself. For holding down a tough job and never wavering, she gets my seal of approval. Quite remarkable.

Secondly – My beloved nan who passed away over 3 years ago.

There is not a single day, that I don’t reflect on how much she influenced and inspired me. She was brought up in a family of six children, with a father who died in the war and a mother who had to work 7 days a week. They were very poor and lived in tough conditions. Through all of this, my nan kept her faith in the Catholic church and guided us as a family to strive for better things. Not to be rich in life with cars, money or big houses – but to be rich in love & happiness.  She would always listen intently to us grandchildren as we grew up, she would just listen and then look out of the window and mention one or two words of advice when we were in trouble or just needed guidance. You would leave thinking about that, and later on that day or in the week you’d remember her wise words and her thoughts on what you should do or say. She was always right, of course.

Her mind was sharp, clear and concise. Even in her last days, battling a collapsed spine with osteoarthritis, she never gave up, never wanted pity. Through her iPad, she was looking for a solution to help her problem in the hope of getting better. Today, I miss that wry smile of arrogance in the face of adversity, but I know she would be proud of what I have achieved. Nothing I will ever face, will ever be as inspiring as her.

Matt Byne, Director of Food

Susi Hester (JH’s Development Chef) - She is passionate about everything she does and always applies 100% effort and commitment to every task. She is a truly inspirational figure within the company and a person that everyone respects and has time for.

Felicity Barnes, HR Manager

Beyoncé – because she’s Beyoncé. Jokes aside, she runs an empire, is hugely talented, I respect that family is important to her, she uses her platform for the betterment of others, runs a brilliant charity (Bey good) and does it all while looking amazing - she is an all-round inspiration for me 😊

Also, my mum, she’s had a hard life, had cancer very young and survived, worked two jobs to provide for me and my sister growing up and is the warmest, kindest woman I know. She’s strong and a survivor and is definitely my inspiration for how you should be and how you should treat people!

Andre Bienkowski, Business Development Manager

Michelle Obama – An inspiration to all people but most of all, women and people of color. A symbol of hope and equality. So humble, intelligent, articulate and charismatic. Future POTUS?

Swati Deshpande - Marketing Executive

Serena Williams - what an absolutely amazing athlete, who has risen as one of tennis’ best players of all time. Her achievements on court and activism off - with involvement in prominent campaigns like ‘Black Lives Matter’ and other philanthropic projects (education & healthcare) that use her celebrity status – are all so inspiring. She’s awesome because she ends up being feminist without actually claiming to be one!

Giusy Litrico, Catering Manager

I’m inspired by any woman who has been through a lot in life and regardless has found her happiness and balance. Life puts us through very difficult moments and any woman who has overcome any tough situation by herself really inspires me. Equally my Mum is the number one ;)

Cristina Covello, Marketing & Strategic Projects Manager

My Nana! She was a war bride. She moved to a strange country (Canada) on her own with a 2-year-old in tow (Grandad was still in the war). She became a single mum to 4 girls at the age of 42. She always worked. She was an activist. She had 7 granddaughters (boys just couldn’t survive in our family!) and taught us all to be smart, strong and independent!

Bruno Belchior, Events Manager

Ursula Rucker - an American spoken-word singer. I know her since early 2000s. She’d give voice (political often) to tunes from guys like Jazzanova (Germany), The Roots (US), 4hero (UK) - bands at the forefront of the cool and independent international scenes of hip-hop jazz and electronic music.

Lara Gilmore - Chef Massimo Bottura’s wife. She's been his driving force and main instigator for his creativity since they both met in the 90s in New York, when they worked together at the same restaurant. So much, that on Netflix ‘Chef’s Table’ the head sommelier of (their restaurant) Osteria Francescana said at some point, that without her there would be no restaurant. Today, it’s one of the best restaurants in the world.


May these and many other women continue to inspire us!

Do you want to share your inspiration with us? Tweet to us on @JustHospitality