“Hospitality is a dynamic and fast-paced industry, and it is essential for women to be adaptable, resilient and open to new challenges.”
So says Jenny Ang, Managing Director of EHL Campus (Singapore), as she speaks to us on how the Swiss hospitality education institution is facilitating spaces for female hospitality professionals to excel and make a mark of their own in the fast-paced industry.
For over the past decade, the hospitality landscape in Singapore has evolved tremendously. Seen as a gateway to the rest of Asia, the nation is well known for its high standards in tourism and hospitality, boasting some of the world’s best restaurants, beautiful hotels and exemplary leaders within the industry.
Poised to herald in a new generation of leaders in Asia, EHL Campus (Singapore) holds its own in a unique position that sees it spearheading the effort to meet the growing demand for hospitality professionals in Asia.
In her role, Jenny spearheads all the strategic initiatives, development and growth of EHL in Singapore and Asia. Coming from a musical background, she graduated with a music degree from London before returning to Singapore just as the first conservatory of music opened its doors and joined as one of its founding members.
She was formerly the Deputy Director at YST Conservatory, where she was tasked with a range of responsibilities, from presenting concerts featuring world-class artists and cultivating audience and community partnerships to building a global network of higher music education institutions.
It was around this time that the Singapore conservatory entered an international partnership with the Haute Ecole de Musique Lausanne. “That was how I got to know Lausanne and western Switzerland as well as EHL.”
“I’ve always admired the way EHL operated, so when the opportunity to be Managing Director of the Singapore campus came up, I took the plunge, and am humbled to be able to contribute to fostering the next generation of leaders.”
Jenny shares that being a leader means doing more than what’s conventional expected of oneself when it comes to fostering a reliable team, putting emphasis on the importance of embodying traits such as active listening and being open to collaboration.
“These have been immensely valuable in my former role and continue to serve me in my current position as I work closely with my team to operate a world-class campus and ensure that each student receives the best quality of experience.”
Being an esteemed institution, EHL in Singapore provides locals with an opportunity to elevate hospitality and service throughout the region, exposing students to the diversity and nuances of the Asian culture, as well as the variety of businesses in the region.
This initiative also stretches to its efforts to give way to the nation’s next female hospitality leaders, something Jenny has taken into her own hands to ensure since her appointment.
According to Jenny, a common dilemma facing women in power lies in trusting one’s own strengths, experiences and perspectives to lead authentically. Despite their capabilities, there is still pressure placed to adopt stereotypically masculine behaviours.
“Having more women in leadership positions is essential in promoting empathetic workplaces that value transparency and openness, which improves employee attraction and retention in the long run,” explains Jenny, adding that such a culture promotes greater diversity of viewpoints and perspectives, fueling innovation and creativity.
“However, this requires a whole-of-business approach that involves everyone in the company, from the most senior management to the newest hire. We must be deliberate in our actions to enable inclusivity.”
Coming into this industry, Jenny hopes that these women be passionate about what they do and strive to make a positive impact on the industry and the world. “Hospitality is a service-oriented industry that has the power to bring people together and create memorable experiences.”
“Overcoming these challenges requires resilience and persistence. By staying true to their values and principles, women in hospitality can make a real difference in the lives of others and contribute to building a more sustainable and inclusive future for the industry.”
Penny For Your Thoughts
If you could be anyone in the world (fictional / non-fictional) - whom would it be and why? Birgitte Nyborg is a highly intelligent, principled, and compassionate woman who becomes Denmark's first female prime minister in the TV series called Borgen. Her natural leadership abilities, ambition and role as a mother make her a well-rounded character who embodies the challenges and opportunities faced by women in politics.
Advice you would give your younger self.
It is important to learn to let things go and not worry about what other people think. Prioritise your beliefs, values and happiness to focus on the change you want to make.