With a recent win at the Women in Travel awards under their belt, TFE Hotels’ success is one to be celebrated.
We had a chat with the company’s CEO Rachel Argaman, a powerhouse in the hospitality industry, about her approach to pay parity, gender quotas and empowering staff.
Argaman began her career in marketing and sales, and she was strongly influenced by two female leaders at the top of the companies she worked for.
“My first two jobs were at companies with female managing directors, both of whom were inspirational – funny, committed, passionate about the businesses they ran and very clear about their vision,” Argaman said.
“My interest was always in people and I have always been goal-oriented.”
“I asked what were the goals, how should we achieve them, and I always developed strong relationships with all stakeholders,” Argaman told us.
As for other secrets to her success, Argaman was always interested in a business-wide approach.
“If another department was key to my goal delivery, I made sure my team and I
included relevant goals that they needed to meet, and I got them onside with the bigger picture vision,” Argaman said.
TFE Hotels develop hotels as well as manage them and it has close to 100 properties in its portfolio.
While mainly found in Australia and New Zealand, there are also properties in Europe.
Formed in 2013, it emerged as a joint venture between the Australian Toga Group and Far East Holdings, based in Singapore.
Indeed, it’s been a busy time for TFE Hotels, with the company recently receiving the Employer of the Year title at the Women in Travel awards.
“It acknowledges the conscious work we have done for a long time in setting culture by design and not by default, caring for and recognising our team and the crucial role they play in the success of our company, achieving gender parity and developing so many truly great leaders of both genders,” Argaman says.
Which raises the issue of gender equality in the travel industry.
Argaman used to not believe in gender quotas for roles, but she has changed her opinion.
“Increasingly I have come to the conclusion that if we are to attain gender parity we need quotas.”
“More to change the status quo, and then it could be dropped.”
When ratios are balanced, the culture changes and the organization is charged by merit she argues.
“There is no question at all that teams with a mix of gender and race avoid group think and have better output,” Argaman says.
As for the oft-trotted out line that there is a shortage of quality female candidates, Argaman isn’t buying it.
“I believe there is no shortage of qualified women as candidates for roles, so a shortage, used as an excuse, doesn’t cut it in my book,” she concludes.