Meet Our Members: Devi Virdi

Devi Virdi Head of Diversity & Inclusion

Head of Diversity & Inclusion WHTT (Voluntary Role)

Your strengths/skills/superpowers

I am a people person so I wear my heart on my sleeve as they say. I love meeting people from all walks of life, and having the prilevege to work in travel for over 20 years this has allowed me to extensively experience different cultures and viewpoints. I’m from Hong Kong, both Indian and Chinese in my DNA, I studied in Australia and I’ve been in the UK for over 22 years, so I’m British too -I’m a Global Citizen. This has supported me to be cultural sensitive.

I will always find ways to get the task done even when there is a mountain to climb -this is down to my personality of being persistent, bold and tenacious. I was brought with a mantra by my fierce Asian mother; ‘Where there’s a Will, there’s a Way’. Oh and my children would say I have eyes at the back of my head.

How do your strengths play into the work you do.

In my previous role at HRS, whilst I came on board as Enterprise Director, I was promoted  to Interim Managing Director for Northern Europe not long after. I was the only female MD in the region of Europe. So I had to Step Up and up my game and that meant learning and listening and being bold. My strengths allow me to be flexible, resilient and agile which means I can innovate as I have done to date across all my roles. Being in people management roles, listening is a key skill and this has made me more empathic and I also believe its important to fail and fail fast and learn from it. With my background in HR, I have used and valued this HR foundation across all the people management roles and combining with my commercial ability, I align them to successfully deliver diverse teams and business growth and my ethos is about building diverse entrepreneurial teams.

Imagine your best hospitality / hotel experience – what does it look like?

Post Covid -Honestly getting on a long haul flight to Hong Kong would be a dream right now, however I don’t fancy wearing a face mask for 12 hours! So with that not happening anytime soon, a hotel experience is where ‘customer centricity’ rings true. Reducing friction of administration for the customer; such as a beautiful surroundings of the environment and culture that is aligned to the location you are in -this is simply stunning and a customized/personalised experience for you. I recall in KL the Four Seasons upgraded us to a suite complimentary as they found out we were celebrating our wedding anniversary, but it was everything else that they did, the attention to detail -this was incredibly special and one that we will never forget. Hotels are definitely getting better at personlisation.

What brings you the greatest joy at work?

We spend so much of our time at work, for me it’s important that the employees enjoy what they do and get on well with the people they work with. Creating a great company culture, where professionals are encouraged to help one another, are recognised for their hard work and are constantly striving to be the best is important and that brings me joy.

My advice for women in hospitality and travel-tech:

The advice I would give to anyone starting out is to take risks and not be afraid of new challenges or opportunities. My career path was not obvious, I had to make many twists and turns along the way to get where I am today…and I’m only half way there!

It requires taking some chances, risks and being bold. But those were the moments where I learned the most. Without challenging yourself, growth opportunities are limited. So take those risks. You will be better for it in the long run, regardless of the short-term outcome -and go for it!

Connect with Devi on Linkedin. Complete the WHTT Survey and get a 50% discount as a reward for Phocuwright Conference Online Europe 2020

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