International Women's Day - Meet Chloe Fearn
This International Women's Day we're celebrating some of the amazing women who make up True North.
Firstly we met Chloe Fearn, Duty Manager at The Waggon & Horses.
How long have you worked for True North?
Almost four years, but I've been in the hospitality industry for ten years.
What is your favourite thing about working at True North?
It's a forward-thinking company. Our staff and customers are so diverse - everyone is welcome, plus there are just as many strong women running the show here as the dudes!
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
It's another reason to celebrate equality and diversity as a whole, by looking at some of the great things that women have done/are doing.
What challenges do women face in the hospitality industry?
We have hundreds of people coming through our doors every week. It means that by sheer probability we're going to meet some customers whose attitude is perhaps less desirable.
There's a lot that women take on the chin… the sexist comments or being told to "smile!" but the upside is that I have noticed the times a-changing, the way we deal with situations like this these days is so different than how it would (or wouldn't!) have been dealt with in my bar job 10 years ago.
There are also some areas in hospitality that are just still male-dominated, and this is where I have to give a shout-out to the female chefs of True North! Chefs do a lot of long, hot, sweaty hours.
Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?
The world we live in is diverse, and so that shouldn't be any different in the workplace. Workforces in hospitality work on a different level - we bond through times of intensity and hard work, and that's what matters to us, regardless of our differences.
How could you contribute your wisdom and expertise to empower other women, both in the hospitality industry and out?
Starting in hospitality all those years ago, I never realised I didn't have to take all that crap! There are so many more avenues to get support these days, and attitudes are so different, and that's on-shift as well as off. Like I emphasise to the girls at the Waggon - if anything has made you feel uncomfortable, or down or whatever...please come to your managers! There's nothing sadder than hearing a member of staff has been bottling up a problem all shift that could've been eased earlier. And I guess that applies everywhere. Many more industries are starting to become more staff-focused and to look after their own, so use the avenues available to you...and vent at your colleagues when needed!
Is there anyone who inspires you in your career?
I think generally the whole Waggon team! We're all pretty close, as you often find in hospitality. Everyone looks out for each other, we have such a laugh together, and that genuinely helps the job get done better.
If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Marion Pritchard - the Dutch social worker who risked her life to rescue around 150 Jews during the Nazi's occupation of the Netherlands during WWII. She's the epitome of bravery and courage to me. She wasn't Jewish herself but just did what was right, despite there being potential horrific consequences.
Brittney Slayes, of power metal band Unleash The Archers. Because I love her band to death and she's the best female vocalist on the planet right now.
I'll be *that* cheesy person and select my mum as my third choice. Mum's lived her entire life with a disability, but she never signed on, she's always worked, travelled, and managed to raise 3 kids. Hospitality hours mean I don't have dinner with her nearly enough.