At a time when the industry is suffering through one is its most challenging periods, it’s gratifying to see a new crop of young leaders emerge and come to the fore, poised to deliver their own brand of hospitality. Never has there been as much hope and expectations placed on a new generation of leaders and never has the need for change been as great.
This year’s edition of the Top 30 Under 30 (see story on page 14) speaks to a new energy and an entirely new way of approaching challenges. While they are not intimidated by hard work — aware that hospitality has its own rhythm and pace — they also demand balance in their lives and are not willing to sacrifice their leisure pursuits – family, friends and fun — to work painstakingly hard. They’re also smart enough to know that a life based solely on work is simply not sustainable nor is it healthy.
Today’s young leaders are equally passionate about hospitality — recognizing that it’s a special calling to call the hospitality industry home. But rather than working harder and 24-7, they are equally stoked by working smarter, willing to look at new ways of completing tasks and new approaches previously not explored. As a generation that grew up on technology, they are not intimidated by it. Instead, they welcome tech as an enabler, a way to help them work more efficiently so they have more time to spend elsewhere – whether it’s providing better customer service or allowing them additional time to take advantage of leisure pursuits.
The next generation of leaders is looking for a caring and hospitable work environment. These special young leaders are passionate about eliminating race barriers, working creatively to make the workplace less toxic, less misogynstic and more diverse and inclusive. They’re genuinely concerned about saving the environment and the planet, committed to greening as part of their everyday reality to ensure a healthy planet.
As we move into a new world fuelled by a lingering pandemic that has lasted almost three years, it’s clear the new landscape will look infinitely different from the previous one. Many of the changes brought on by the pandemic spoke to a foundational flaw in how the industry operated — clearly impacting the labour shortages we are now seeing take place across industry segments and around the world. If we are to solve these labour challenges, today’s leaders will need to work closer than ever with this new generation of leaders to be more aligned to their needs and their desire for change. That means efforts need to be expended on creating healthier work environments, where everyone can grow and succeed — where expectations are clear and where the mental wellbeing of employees is appreciated and support is provided wholeheartedly.
These young leaders give us hope that the future of the industry is in good hands — now if the industry could only find more of them.