A year ago, the AccorHotels teams in Singapore and Solidarity AccorHotels set up a partnership with a local charity, Image Mission Ltd, whose goal is to promote the empowerment of women in difficulty in Singapore.
The association’s mission? To offer complete support (coaching, image, practice interviews, definition of careers, etc.) and help these very vulnerable women return to work.
Although Singapore is considered to be a prosperous city, with a developed economy and a very low poverty threshold, a proportion of the population - mainly consisting of women - has to cope with a range of difficulties, often several in conjunction: unemployment, low income, families to care for, marital violence, etc. These are the women that the association and AccorHotels staff wanted to support by developing solutions and joint initiatives to help them return to work.
Concrete solution for professional inclusion
Every year, on average, Image Mission Ltd supports about one hundred women by accompanying them in their journey towards employment and empowerment, essential factors in helping these vulnerable women find personal and professional stability. The specific programme designed for their inclusion, Dress for Success, consists in proposing, depending on their profile, different types of support: choice of professional outfits, interview simulations, proofreading of CVs, customised coaching and mentoring, etc.
The discovery of the ins and outs of the professional world is therefore a major issue of the project and the AccorHotel teams particularly wanted to focus their expertise and share their experience on that topic. In early September, they organised a session to discover the hospitality world, in partnership with the organisation.
Discovering the world of hospitality from the inside
Thirteen women from the Dress for Success programme visited two iconic addresses of the group in Singapore: Novotel and Mercure Singapore on Stevens. They were welcomed by the teams who were able to share their own experience and pathways during this meeting. The testimonial of Ms Irene Suen particularly hit home: passionate about hospitality, she has dedicated 50 years of her career to this sector as a Maître d’hôtel, notably working for Minister Goh Chok Tong and Singaporean celebrities (Anita Mui and Aeron Kwok). A real moment of inspiration and discussion!
Li Kin, Founder and Director of Image Mission Ltd talked about the impact of such testimonials on participants: “The AccorHotels teams talked about what hospitality was all about and it exceeded our expectations. I could see the transformation in our beneficiaries which went from apprehension to inspiration! This initiative has shown the true face of people who love what they do and we were instantly made to feel welcome”.
“We are delighted to support the Dress for Success programme and give these women a glimpse of what the hospitality industry can offer in terms of professional opportunities and evolutions”, declared Gaynor Reid, Vice-President of Communication and CSR for AccorHotels Asia Pacific. “AccorHotels is currently looking for means to empower women in the workplace and the objective of Image Mission Ltd ties in perfectly with the commitment of AccorHotels in terms of inclusion”.
Such event have strong impact on AccorHotels teams as well as on the participants, who found the experience “very exciting” as “the operations of the hospitality are new [to them]”. It’s also a great opportunity to change their perception of the labor market: "I felt reassured that age is not, and should not be a barrier to reenter the workforce. As long as one is determined and willing to persevere.”
The women ended the day with many new ideas and a strong motivation for the future: ”it helped me to know how to apply my strengths and limitations on the right job fit and company culture." Watch this space...