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This International Women’s Day we’re celebrating the women of Virgin Limited Edition. This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge which highlights our responsibility and efforts to challenge gender bias and inequality and, importantly, to celebrate women’s achievements. On this day of huge historical, social and economic importance we spoke to Hannah Mbugua who works at Mahali Mzuri in Kenya as the Guest Relations Manager and Spa Manager to highlight her extraordinary achievements and what being a modern working woman means to her.
Read our accompanying International Women's Day interview with four women from the Eve Branson Foundation in Morocco here.
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Hannah and I’m a diploma graduate in cosmetology. Through working in the beauty industry and meeting different clients, I developed a passion to join the hospitality industry and my eyes were set on the prize! I soon joined Mahali Mzuri as the Head of the Spa department. My eagerness to give the best guest experience pushed me to engage more with guests which got me a chance for the general assistant position. A year later a guest relations position popped up and I was really hungry for the opportunity! I applied and got the position which rekindled my passion and I hit the ground running. Positive guest comments are the fuel that keeps me going and excellence is my signature.
What are your responsibilities at Mahali Mzuri?
I’m the guest relations manager and also still manage the spa. Being a spa therapist was my childhood dream and I am happy juggling both and challenging myself.
What are you most proud of at work?
When guests’ expectations are met, exceeded and the guest feels everything they could wish for was thought of, this makes me feel over the moon!
What does being a woman in your workplace mean to you?
Oh! It has brought me back to the real world. I have received overwhelming support from both genders, as a believer in equal opportunities I have achieved the change I hoped for. The chance to assist the local community has also been food for my soul and feel I am all round professionally nourished.
What would you say to a young woman just starting out in her career?
There are steps on the moon’s surface, so the sky is not the limit! Always work to improve your knowledge and wait for the chance since you will never get a second chance to create a first impression! I’d be happy to offer them opportunities to train and remember: the fruits have always been sweet despite the bitter roots… the transformation… fulfilling.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you personally?
It's a day I hold dear. I reminisce on what we have achieved as women and together we are achieving the most. I appreciate and dedicate it to all regardless of their professional status.
How can men get involved in International Women’s Day?
They should share stories of woman who have made an impact in their life or been their role model in their success journey.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Never give up on your dreams and be focused. The end justifies the means and always use positive criticism as the corner stones to strengthen your foundation. Negativity belongs to the bottomless pit and good attitude makes everything glossy and beautiful.
How do you balance your work and home life?
It’s a delicate balance and when I’m at work I’m 100% an employee, when I’m with family I’m 100% committed to each at their respective moments.
What women support and inspire you on your career path?
I’m lucky that at Mahali Mzuri the camp manager is a woman called Mariana, who has been in the industry for a long time. Through her sharing her journey with me it has inspired me greatly. She has immensely supported me; I feel strategically placed and positively surrounded.
Find out more about Mahali Mzuri here
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