Women’s History Month – celebrating the female hoteliers leading the way at Pride of Britain Hotels
To celebrate Women’s History Month (1-31 March, 2022), we shine a spotlight on eight inspiring female hoteliers working at some of the UK’s finest hotels in the Pride of Britain Hotels collection.
Kalindi Juneja, CEO, Pride of Britain Hotels
The appointment of Kalindi Juneja to CEO last year was an important milestone for Pride of Britain Hotels. Juneja is the first ever woman to head up the collection and has exciting plans for the brand. Juneja has always had a passion for hospitality and knew she wanted to work in hotel management.
She started her career working on property in hotels and after gaining several years’ sales and marketing experience and qualifications along the way, she spent almost five years at Relais & Châteaux, initially managing the brand in the UK and Ireland before being promoted to a global role as international director of member services.
Juneja took over the role of CEO of Pride of Britain Hotels at a particularly challenging time as the industry was emerging from the turbulence of the Covid pandemic, however she is positive about the future. Juneja’s varied role includes staying on top of affairs for hospitality in UK, understanding the latest trends, exchanging with the hoteliers to understand their varying needs, and juggling projects to drive beneficial services for member hotels.
Pride of Britain Hotels is planning a series of educational forums for member hotels in 2022, with relevant topics such as sustainability at the fore. She believes every day is a learning curve and there is always scope for growth given the right attitude, hard work and dedication.
Shirley Mowat, Owner and Director, The Dunstane Houses
Shirley Mowat was aiming for the bright lights of London when she left her home in Orkney at the age of 18. Fate intervened and she found herself settling in Edinburgh, falling head over heels for the art and architecture of a very different city.
Mowat gained hospitality experience with a hotel management diploma, a stint as a chef and working in the Caledonian Hotel. In her mid-twenties, she bought a guesthouse, 39 Steps, followed by a pair of holiday cottages, but her dream was to own and run a small luxury hotel.
The start of her dream was realised in 1998 when she bought the Dunstane hotel, followed by the Thistle Court Hotel in 2007, and embarked on refurbishing the grand Victorian gems into The Dunstane Houses to represent the best of modern Edinburgh. The Dunstane Houses joined Pride of Britain Hotels in 2018.
Sue Williams, General Manager, Whatley Manor
Sue Williams has been General Manager at Pride of Britain Hotels’ member hotel Whatley Manor in The Cotswolds since 2016, where her many accomplishments include overseeing a £500,000 refurbishment of the hotel, and assisting the restaurant to achieve its first Michelin star.
Prior to this, Williams held senior management positions at some of the UK’s most prestigious hotels, including Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Gidleigh Park and Cliveden House.
A passionate advocate for sustainability, Williams is at the forefront of the green movement for hotels – pioneering sustainable business initiatives, talking on the subject at industry conferences and events and even completing a Business and Climate Change degree during the Covid lockdowns.
Williams is also Chairman of Pride of Britain Hotels, where she supports the collection’s CEO Kalindi Juneja.
Joanne Taylor-Stagg, General Manager, The Athenaeum
Joanne Taylor-Stagg is a seasoned hospitality professional with over 25 years’ experience in hotels around the world and several degrees in hospitality. Over the years Taylor-Stagg has overseen multi-million-pound refurbishments, due diligence on acquisitions and supported her teams to deliver exceptional results.
She has worked at some of London’s most well-known hotels including The Trafalgar St James and has been at the helm of Pride of Britain member hotel The Athenaeum in Mayfair since 2019, where she has created a new purpose for the hotel ‘recreating a magical haven in a frenetic world’.
Taylor-Stagg is passionate about mentoring young talent and played a pivotal role in setting up the inaugural IHG Academy programme which helps young and long-term unemployed individuals return to the workplace.
Jill Chalmers, Managing Director, Glenapp Castle
With a career spanning over 30 years in the hospitality industry, Jill Chalmers progressed quickly through the ranks after starting out as a receptionist at The Royal Scot Hotel in Edinburgh.
Her meteoric rise has included stints as General Manager at Scotland’s exclusive Skibo Castle and Managing Director at All-Hotels.com, one of the first online hotel reservation sites. Chalmers joined Glenapp Castle, a Pride of Britain member hotel on Scotland’s Ayrshire coast, in 2017 and has been instrumental in the successful growth of the hotel whilst ensuring high standards are always maintained.
When the Covid pandemic struck in 2020, Chalmers was a vital voice for hospitality. She coordinated letters to Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urging the government to reassess restrictions that were so damaging to the sector. The campaign gained national coverage and led to the Scottish government amending restrictions, a move that helped to save many jobs in the hospitality sector.
Claire Randall, General Manager at Bovey Castle
Claire Randall has worked in management roles at some of the UK’s most well-known hotels and spent six years as a hotel and restaurant inspector for the Michelin Guide.
Her hotel roles include the Hyde Park Hotel (now the Mandarin Oriental London) in Knightsbridge, Gleneagles in Perthshire, the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong and Pride of Britain member hotels’ Lucknam Park in Wiltshire and Hambleton Hall in Rutland.
Randall has been General Manager at Pride of Britain member hotel Bovey Castle in Devon’s Dartmoor National Park since January 2020 and is bolstering its reputation as one of the UK’s most iconic luxury country house hotels.
Angelina Chua, General Manager, Sopwell House
Angelina Chua was appointed to the role of General Manager of Pride of Britain member hotel Sopwell House in Hertfordshire in 2018, following six years overseeing Stapleford Park, another member hotel with a spa and country club.
Chua has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality sector and has worked in Asia, the Middle East and the United States. Senior positions at JW Marriott hotel in Kuala Lumpur, the Ritz-Carlton in Doha and at Marriott’s Kaua’i Beach Club in Hawaii enable Chua to bring a global perspective to her roles.
At Sopwell House, Chua’s management appointment coincided with a momentous time for the hotel as it prepared to raise the bar on its offering and launch a new multi-million pound spa.
Elizabeth Payne, General Manager, Kilworth House
Elizabeth Payne has been in charge of Pride of Britain member hotel Kilworth House in Leicestershire for an astonishing 20 years.
The unique property is home to an enchanting open-air theatre, which opens each summer season and specialises in musical theatre.
Payne is well known for her impeccable attention to detail and superb skills in hospitality management, both of which have enabled Kilworth House to maintain a four-star AA rating.
Contact Pride of Britain Hotels on 0800 089 3929.