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08 MARCH 2024

Ennismore’s General Managers talk positive change to mark International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we sat down with some of the inspiring hotel General Managers to discuss who inspires them, what advice they have for women interested in pursuing a career in hospitality, and what they hope for young girls in the future.


For over a century, International Women’s Day (IWD) has been celebrated around the world. Recognising the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, the day has its roots in the labour movements of the early 20th century, where women fought for equal rights.

Here at Ennismore, we’re proud to say we’re committed to increasing the representation of women in leadership roles, including General Managers. Our talent development programmes, which are open to all, aim to give our future leaders the tools they need to succeed in hospitality.

Across our hotels, our General Managers lead, motivate, and inspire our teams every day and are responsible for guiding our hotels to success. To celebrate IWD, we find out what makes some of our female GMs tick.

Claudia DiGino | General Manager at Mondrian Mexico City

Claudia is a hospitality veteran with over 25 years of experience. Beginning her career in Miami, her expertise has led her to manage various properties around the world. Claudia joined Mondrian Mexico City Condesa at the end of 2023 as General Manager. Despite more than two decades in the industry, Claudia’s passion for new challenges remains, making her an inspiring figure as she continues her journey as a leader.

What does the idea of power mean to you?

CD: Power, especially in the context of International Women’s Day, signifies the ability to influence positive change, create opportunities, and foster an inclusive environment where everyone, regardless of gender, feels empowered to succeed. It’s about leveraging my position to advocate for gender equality, support the advancement of women in the workplace, and champion diversity and inclusion initiatives. True power lies in using my platform to uplift others, cultivate a culture of respect and collaboration, and drive meaningful progress toward gender equity and empowerment.

Which woman do you admire the most?

CD: As a tennis player myself, I have always admired Steffi Graf. Her near-flawless game, steely determination, and remarkable achievements, including 21 Grand Slam singles titles, have been incredibly inspiring to me. What I admire most about Graf is not just her incredible skill on the court but also her strength and unwavering determination to succeed. She has been a true role model for me, demonstrating that with hard work, dedication, and perseverance, anything is possible.

What advice would you give your 12-year-old self?

CD: I would tell her to embrace her uniqueness and individuality wholeheartedly. I would encourage her to be confident in who she is and never to let anyone else’s opinions or judgments define her worth. I would remind her that it’s okay to make mistakes and to learn from them and that failure is just a stepping stone to success. I would urge her to pursue her passions with determination and perseverance, knowing that she can achieve anything she sets her mind to. And most importantly, I would tell her always to be kind to herself and others and to never lose sight of the value of empathy, compassion, and authenticity in both her personal and professional endeavours.

Julie Bruley | Regional General Manager for Southern Europe

Julie joined The Hoxton Paris in pre-opening and has steered it to a slew of successes. She has continually pushed the boundaries commercially and from a guest and team satisfaction standpoint and has a fierce and loyal following amongst her team. In 2022, she was promoted to Regional General Manager of Southern Europe, overseeing multiple Hoxtons.

Which woman do you admire the most?

JB: I could give the usual and expected answer, such as Marie Curie, Coco Chanel, Simone Veil, or Christine Lagarde, but I would say in a more humble mode, my sister Anne-Sophie, who is an amazing psychologist, a great wife, and a fantastic mother!

What are you most proud of doing?

JB: Being able to share my passion and knowledge with the next generation, I aim to lift people up. … they would say I always want more!

Have you faced any barriers in your career because you are a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?

JB: When I meet a guest, a supplier or an institutional representative, and if I am with my right hand (who tends to be male), the representative will talk to them. It’s only when I give them my business card that they start looking at me.

In light of this, what influence do you strive to have on your female colleagues around you and the wider business?

JB: Be self-confident!

Arzu Topcu Civak | General Manager at Hyde Bodrum

A graduate with honors from the Business Department of Eskişehir Anadolu University, Arzu pursued her master’s degree in Tourism Management at Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University. With extensive experience in luxury hotel management, Arzu has demonstrated success in product positioning, brand management, and implementing operational standards throughout her career. Arzu joined Ennismore in 2023 to oversee the soon-to-open Hyde Bodrum, the brand’s first all-inclusive experience resort.

Which woman do you admire the most?

ATC: My mom. I owe all that I am or ever hope to be to her. I am deeply grateful to have her, who has encouraged me throughout my entire life.

What advice did you receive early in your career that has stayed with you?

ATC: Don’t ever attach yourself to a person, place, or organization. Attach yourself to a mission, a calling, a purpose. That’s how you keep your power and peace.

What advice would you give your 12-year-old self?

ATC: There is a great quote from Oscar Wilde that I’ve always been inspired by: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken”. This is the key to creating new doors for the unimaginable.

Claire Thompson | General Manager at 21c Bentonville

After graduating with her master’s in communication in 2010, Claire started her hospitality journey in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Eight and a half years ago, she joined the 21c Bentonville team as Event Sales Manager and was soon promoted to Director of Sales & Marketing and then Area Director of Sales & Marketing. In 2023, she had the opportunity to step into the position of General Manager.

Have you faced any barriers in your career because you are a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?

CT: I have a tendency to doubt myself, but this is a self-imposed barrier. I have been lucky to be surrounded by peers, bosses, and family who support my career growth. Because of those I am surrounded by, I’ve been able to take risks and grow despite my tendency toward self-doubt. 

I want to be kind and understanding. I feel like the rhetoric toward women is “stand up for yourself and be assertive.”  This is absolutely imperative, but not at the cost of kindness. Everyone, regardless of gender, should prioritize kindness and humility as a leader.

In light of this, what influence do you strive to have on your female colleagues around you and the wider business?

CT: I want to be a leader who supports others, understands life circumstances, and encourages everyone to take risks. I want to be part of a team that helps each other when we’re overwhelmed, showing we have each other’s backs. I hope to be an example that kindness and success can exist simultaneously.

What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?

CT: I would like female leaders to be so common and expected, that they’re simply called “leaders.”

Grit Rister | General Manager at 25hours Copenhagen Indre By

Born in Berlin, Grit began her hospitality journey as an apprenticeship. Following stints as Front Office Manager for various hotels and then as manager of a top restaurant in Munich, she returned to her hotel roots in 2015, joining the 25hours team in 2019 as General Manager of 25hours Hotel The Circle in Cologne. Grit moved to Copenhagen in 2023 to manage 25hours Indre By and now the soon-to-open 25hours Paper Island.

What does the idea of power mean to you?

GR: Power is when you have the possibility to pass it on to the next generation to help them grow and inspire them to find their own path.

What message do you think is the most important to young women thinking about their careers in hospitality?

GR: Follow your heart and use your advantages as a woman—empathy, sensitivity, and understanding.

Sarah Parker | General Manager at Working From_ Southwark

Stemmed from a love of food and drink, Sarah started her career in hospitality as a bartender whilst travelling. In 2018, Sarah jumped at the opportunity to bring Ennismore’s coworking vision to life with the launch of Working From_. Since she has been heading up our Working From_Southwark – with the addition of welcoming twins in between. Sarah and the team look after 1000 members day-to-day, making sure companies have an inspiring space to be successful, collaborate and grow their businesses.

What does the idea of power mean to you?

SP: To me, it is misinterpreted and often imagined as being physically strong, having a strong personality, acting aggressively or forcefully. True power is silent… the power of kindness, the power of knowledge, has so much more strength and longevity. It took me some time to realise this, though.

What message do you think is the most important to young women thinking about their careers in hospitality?

SP: Don’t give up on it. Join us and make positive changes with us. It’s a beautiful industry that brings together the most amazing people, shares and encourages creativity, and always offers development. It’s also very character-building!

What advice did you receive early in your career that has stayed with you?

SP: Work with your values at the forefront.

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