The world is celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) today. This is a day to recognise and celebrate the achievements, strength and hard-work of women from all walks of life. The first National Women’s Day was held in 1909 and it began as a campaign for better pay and voting rights. 107 years later it’s a United Nations recognised event, celebrated all over the world and is even an official holiday (mostly just for women!) in 15 countries, including China, Vietnam and Ukraine.
The power of women is seen daily here at The Dunstane, with 4 out of 6 (that’s two thirds!) of our senior management team being women!
Front of House Manager, Caroline Lowe, packed up her life and moved 7,870 miles from the heat and sunshine of Zimbabwe to the cold and rain of Edinburgh! She landed on her feet though, starting at The Dunstane as a receptionist and began using her African charm and smile to welcome our guests to the hotel. Hard-work and dedication paid off and over the last year, she has worked her way up the ranks from entry level employee up to our senior management team, a role she has excelled at so far whilst also working hard a receptionist. Caroline recently won an HIT Scholarship and is nominated this year for receptionist of the year.
No Stopping Her
If you’re looking for an example of someone who works incredibly hard, look no further than Head of Housekeeping, Laura Taylor. For almost 11 years, Laura has worked tirelessly to ensure our hotel rooms are spotless. This women has never had a day off sick or missed a day off work in the last 11 years! Not even the worst of the Scottish weather has ever stopped this West Lothian girl making her way into work. She was a finalist for Housekeeper of the Year at the 2015 Scottish Hotel Awards and has been nominated for their 2016 award too.
Working in hospitality since she was 13, Samantha got her first Duty Manager position whilst studying for her degree in Medieval History at St Andrews University. Originally from Yorkshire, she’s a Scot at heart and has worked relentlessly over almost 9 years to help Shirley bring The Dunstane from a relatively unknown 2* commended guest house to one of Edinburgh’s most popular 4* Boutique hotels. The awards haven’t stopped coming for Samantha, in the past 12 months alone she was a 2015 Scottish Hotel Awards Deputy Manager of the Year finalist and won their Rising Star Award. She was also the winner of the HIT Scotland Regional Young Ambassador award and their Scholarship award.
Taking a Risk
It’s a common thing these days to leave home, travel the world and begin a life far away – with the security of Facebook, texting and Skype to keep you in touch with your family. This wasn’t the case in 1988, when a young couple left their Island lifestyle on Orkney, intending to travel to London. They stopped with friends in Edinburgh and never left! Shirley and Derek took a huge risk, buying their first guest house in 1991, The 39 Steps. Shirley was just 21 when she and Derek began taking this 2*commended guest house all the way to a 3* highly commended property. In 1998 they bought Dunstane House, another 2* commended property that with the help of her team, Shirley has turned into a stunning 4* Boutique hotel and won many awards, including Hotelier of the Year at the 2015 Scottish Hotel Awards and the Dunstane was a finalist for Independent Hotel of the Year at the CIS Excellence Awards 2015. Her entrepreneurial spirit will never fade which makes this a very exciting hotel to watch – who knows what new additions and changes are coming our way.