Hilton drives female leadership in Saudi Arabia’s hospitality sector

Hilton has always been committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Image used for illustrative purpose. The logo of Hilton hotel is seen in the image.

Image used for illustrative purpose. The logo of Hilton hotel is seen in the image.

REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili

Saudi Arabia has seen many changes in several industries locally, including more women in leadership roles. Talented and committed female professionals are now given the opportunity to shine and lead, and have already proven capability and success. The tourism and hospitality industry is also witnessing many changes, including the increase of females in the industry.

Aligned with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, Hilton has always been committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This includes equipping female team members with the tools, resources and opportunities they need to achieve their professional aspirations. One shining example of this is Bushra Al-Qahtani, the operations manager at Hilton Riyadh Hotel and Residences, who aimed high and is realizing her ambitions through the support of Hilton and her team.

Hilton Riyadh General Manager Hans Schiller said: “At Hilton Riyadh, we continue to see great success in helping our female team members take on leadership roles as a result of their incredible determination and our training and mentoring programs.”

Schiller added: “I have known Bushra for several years now and have been lucky to mentor her prior to her joining Hilton Riyadh. Bushra has rotated in several departments and hotels, which is highly recommended in Hilton to gain hospitality exposure and skills. She demonstrates many great leadership qualities, and I personally see a potential future general manager in her.”

Al-Qahtani, 37, began her journey in tourism when she changed her career path and went to the US to pursue a masters in tourism and hospitality. She then returned to Saudi Arabia and joined a local hotel as a customer service executive in 2016. Following that, she joined Hilton in 2018 as front office manager and today she is the first Saudi female at Hilton to take on the role of an operations manager.

“I owe Hilton a great deal, as the career growth I have experienced is exceptional, and I credit this accomplishment to the many hours of online training and in-person mentoring I received. In addition, rotating across different departments has taught me many skills that I couldn’t have gained through training,” Al-Qahtani said. “At Hilton, I was provided with many resources to support my career growth such as [email protected], Women in Leadership and Shine, which is one of the most powerful operations programs in the industry. Also, through LinkedIn Learning, I completed several Harvard Management courses.”

She added: “The current changes happening in Saudi Arabia make me optimistic that we will have many women in leadership roles in the coming years. Make sure to always speak out when you think it matters, it will make a difference.”

Tariq Al-Harbi, deputy general manager at Hilton Riyadh, said: “I have worked with Bushra for over three years now, and I think she is a great role model for young Saudi women. In the past five years, I have seen incredible changes in our industry including the increase of knowledgeable and hardworking Saudi women, and this makes me feel very optimistic about the future of hospitality in the Kingdom.”

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