Accor, an augmented hospitality group, has brought together regional and global gender-equality leaders for a high-level conference in Dubai to mark the one-year anniversary of its gender parity and diversity in the workplace initiative, RiiSE in collaboration with BNC Publishing and Entrepreneur Middle East.
The international RiiSE network, launched in October 2018 by co-chairs Accor Chief Digital Officer Maud Bailly and AccorInvest CEO John Ozinga, comprises of men and women, as denoted by the double “ii”, who are all committed to the values of knowledge sharing through mentoring programmes, solidarity, and combatting stereotypes and discrimination, as well as promoting female talent to positions of leadership.
The RiiSE conference, which took place October 21 at Sofitel The Palm and was moderated by CNN’s Julia Chatterley, involved a stellar line-up of speakers, including former Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, pioneering blind American athlete and activist, Erik Weihenmayer; and representatives of the United Nations, global charities and major corporations.
They shared their experiences of challenges and triumphs in the workplace and discussed positive steps women can take to overcome perceptions and advance their careers.
Accor CEO Sebastien Bazin and Maud Bailly were also event headliners, and both recognised the importance of the Middle East and Africa in the empowerment and diversity discussion. The region today accounts for almost 30% of the Group’s global RiiSE network of close to 30,000 employees from 4,900-plus hotels in 111 countries. Male and female talent from Accor’s hotels in Saudi Arabia and Egypt dominate RiiSE membership in the region.
“It has been a privilege to host leading authorities on gender equality at our first RiiSE conference, which not only marks the programme’s one-year anniversary, but a major milestone for Accor, which aims to set new benchmarks for gender parity and diversity in the hospitality sector,” says Mark Willis, CEO, Accor Middle East & Africa.
“We have made strong progress with this goal in the Middle East and Africa over the past year and I believe the words of advice and encouragement from these experienced gender-equality champions will provide the inspiration and impetus for us to build on this momentum over the next few years, cementing our reputation as an employer of choice in the region.”