March 08, 2023
Lorraine is the founder of Be Inclusive Hospitality, as well as being a coach, a consultant and a speaker.
What are you most proud of in your career?
As for what I’m most proud of within my career to date, I’d have to say it is founding Be Inclusive Hospitality. We are a social enterprise and a not for profit with a mission to accelerate race equity within the hospitality, food and drink sectors. I founded this business back in 2020, having spent two decades as a procurement and supply chain director within the hospitality industry for a number of really leading and global brands.
Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman?
Yes, I have faced barriers throughout my career. I believe that the barriers faced have been as a consequence of me being both a woman and a black woman. Those barriers have been really far and wide, actually. But the kind of recurring common themes have been being ignored, being overlooked and being excluded.
How do you think we can reach equity in the hospitality industry?
I believe that we can reach equity within the hospitality industry. By firstly recognising that we individually all have a role to play in advancing change. I believe that there’s a huge gap in education on the disparities that exist for women in the industry in wider society. I think the change has to start there with the education, so to better understand the real size of the issue. Once that knowledge is attained, it’s really about what we then do with that knowledge to drive change, how we use our voices, how we use our actions, how we use our privilege, to advance change.
How would you like to see the hospitality industry improve?
I would personally like to see the industry improve by seeing more women from diverse backgrounds in CEO positions and roles of influence, so occupying those big jobs that notoriously have been solely occupied by men.
What is the most important message/piece of advice you want to give to someone?
A piece of advice I would offer to someone in the industry is that whilst we still have some way to go in really realising gender equity, there are many phenomenal female role models within the industry who are accessible. So I would say to find your tribe, create your network, access supportive women, and male allies, to continue to champion, to empower, to inspire and to uplift you, as you embark upon on your journey or your path forward within your business.
If you could have dinner with 3 inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be?
The three inspirational women I would love to have dinner with include Oprah Winfrey, she is an absolute idol, role model, everything. Rustie Lee, who was the first black woman, I recall, seeing on television, talking about food and cooking food; she’s also from Birmingham and Jamaican. And then my mom, who’s an absolute inspiration role model, she was my first role model, and I love her dearly and she would always be welcome at that dinner table.