3/6/2024 | Hotels

International Women's Day 2024 Q&A with...Carine Bonnejean

In the lead-up to International Women’s Day 2024, we’ve spoken to members of our senior leadership team about their career motivation, inspiration and advice for the next generation. Today we're hearing from Carine Bonnejean, Managing Director - Hotels.

Carine Bonnejean

What’s your biggest career achievement?

It is challenging to just pick one. On a personal basis, I would probably say to be invited to speak at the largest hotel conference in Europe – IHIF - on the main stage. My younger self would have never thought she would be able to manage this. From a team perspective, it would be to see some of the people who have worked with me over the years becoming successful and being happy in their career. Hopefully I have managed to help them along the way with some advice and support and enable them to find their ‘why’ and their key values.

What was your first job?

A very glamorous job as a barmaid in a hotel outside of Oxford. Very long hours standing up and cleaning hundreds and hundreds of glasses and at that point I realised that whilst it was a great learning curve, I needed to take a different path

What is one piece of advice you’d give to younger women in business?

It is critical to get to know yourself, what you are good at, what you need others to help you with and what are your non negotiables. Be determined but always be honest with others and with yourself. And always take a chance when one is given to you. People often see in you what you cannot see yourself.

What drives / motivates you in your career?

Obviously my motivation has taken many turns alongside my career but one key one is to be a role model for my children, particularly my daughter, to show them that you can be whatever you want to be. I am always very honest with them so they understand that we all have our struggles but we try to overcome them. They are very supportive and will give me the pep talk I need sometimes. Another key driver for me is to lead a team where people feel valued, happy and are motivated to be on the journey together and celebrating successes together. We are on this rollercoaster together and it is important to stick together at all times.

Is there a female leader that you particularly admire? Why?

I cannot really name one in particular but I admire the strength and determination of many female leaders of all backgrounds, specifically if they are being true to themselves and their values. I particularly admire people who have had to overcome many challenges and turned those in their strength to make a better life for themselves. And my daughter is someone I admire by her confidence and maturity. She has taught me more about believing in myself than anyone. It is the most inspiring thing to have someone thinking you are a superwoman. It gives you wings.

 For more of our International Women's Day Q&A's, click here.