“Here’s to strong women: May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” – Unknown
Our CEO and founder Alex is often interviewed or, sitting on a panel, being asked what it is like being a women within the hospitality industry. Well this week, the tables turned and Alex spent time with some of the brilliant women who work within Social Pantry asking them about what IWD means to them.
Bianca | Crane’s Kitchen Manager:
You’ll find Bianca running Crane’s Kitchen in Peckham, she is a constant source of motivation to her dedicated team and her experience in running cafés is clear to see with Crane’s recently being featured in TATLER as one of the best restaurants in South London.
“International women’s day to me is a day of reflection. A day to celebrate women past and present. To embrace how far we have come but recognise how far we have to go.
My female inspirations would be first my grandmother. She contracted polio at 18 months and lived in an iron lung for three years. She was told at a young age she would have to rely on her brains to get ahead as it wouldn’t be her looks because of her disability. She had many jobs after that but retired in the NHS managing home care. She worked for the NHS for over 15 years.
A piece of advice to women of the future, don’t settle for less!”
Sarah, Development Chef | Events Kitchen
Being the only female chef in the current unit team, Sarah is doing it for the girls! She recently headed over to Silo to learn more about how to minimise kitchen waste and learn from the best. Our kitchen would not be the same without Sarah, she is, along with Rich our Executive Chef, the innovator behind all of our new menus and recipes.
“International Women’s Day to me means helping to create a gender equal world. As the only female chef in the events team at Social Pantry I feel very lucky as I work with men who respect and encourage my development in this industry, but elsewhere women don’t always get the same support. The hospitality Industry is definitely on the right path in making sure women get the same opportunity to rise to the highest positions but anything we do to encourage equality is so important.
One of the first inspirational women I worked for was Selin Kiazim, She owns Oklava in Shoreditch and, Oklava Bakery and Wine in Fitzrovia. She encouraged and taught me patiently when I was first working as a chef but she was also tough and demanded perfection, I loved it!
My advice to women of the future is do what makes you passionate, have grit and be persistent and embrace your flaws and your weaknesses. I try and remind myself of this everyday too!”
Silvia, Head of Human Resource | Head Office
Silvia heads up all things HR at Social Pantry. Silvia handles everything, from recruitment, career mapping, organising supplier trips or a chef’s stage Silvia and, since joining in December Silvia has already held a jobs fair in HMP Pentonville prison! She is a key member of the senior Social Pantry team and is focusing on developing Social Pantry employee benefits this year.
“Today, we are celebrating Women’s achievements that have led to further equality in the world. International Women’s Day to me, shines a light on the social, economic and political achievements by women throughout history, as well as highlighting the discrimination and violence that women continue to suffer across the globe.
Plenty of battles have been fought, some have been won, other continue, and others need to be contended. Regrettably, Women’s movements for sex equality are still ongoing, therefore we are all trying to make this international day an ongoing voice in the battle for equality and not only a one off celebration.
A source of my personal motivation, who has proven with her powerful voice that nothing is impossible is Malala Yousafzai. A young Pakistani woman who risked her life to promote peace and equal education for all, while fighting against various forms of discrimination.
Malala became a leading voice for the freedom, independence and equal opportunities of women in the modern day. She established the Malala Foundation with the mission statement that: “one child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world”.
Following Malala’s vision, my advice to everyone is to remain unified, never give up, be respectful, tolerant and open minded to the tapestry of cultures within the world.”
Alexandra, Barista | Social Pantry Café, Battersea
Alex is one of your brilliant Baristas who works at Social Pantry Café in Battersea, serving endless coffee and brunches to locals Alex is a valued member of the team. Alex worked with us before the café refurb and is now an essential part of what makes the new café experience so brilliant.
“For me International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate women all over the world and the achievements they have made. I also think it is an important day to bring attention to female activists and women-led movements who are continuing the fight for gender equality.
I’m constantly inspired by my female friends and family members as well as Anthea Bell, Phoebe Waller Bridge, Malorie Blackman, Greta Thunberg, Rihanna, and more recently Sharon Choi for keeping such a cool head working under pressure!
Piece of advice to women of the future? Stay focused on your dreams and don’t worry if it takes you longer to get there than your peers! Be kind to yourself.”
Tinene, Head of Finance | Head Office
Tinene heads up the finance team over in SP HQ, she is right in the heart of the business, located at the head office amongst the planners, marketing, kitchen and HR teams. Tinene heads up all things finance, she is passionate, dedicated and very driven which sets the perfect example for those around her.
“International Women’s Day to me is a celebration of the achievements of women in sport, business and politics
I take inspiration from Billie Jean King and Angela Merkel, but more so from the women in my everyday life. I feel blessed to be surrounded by driven women, who aspire to succeed on a daily basis.
My advice to women; Support and encourage each other, together we achieve more.”