#IWD2023: Embracing equity and equality as cultural cornerstones

Patsy Ng, Vice President for Human Resources – Asia-Pacific at Hilton, discusses her strategies on cultivating a culture of equity.
By: | March 8, 2023

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day 2023 today, HRM Asia shines the spotlight on the inspirational women who have broken barriers and achieved incredible success in the workplace. In our special IWD 2023 coverage, we spoke to women leaders who shared their thoughts and advice on how women can succeed in the workplace, and the role they can play towards creating a more equitable and inclusive world for everyone.

In this exclusive IWD feature, HRM Asia speaks with Patsy Ng, Vice President for Human Resources, Asia-Pacific at Hilton, as she discusses the challenges and opportunities for women in the workplace, and her advice for aspiring female leaders.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your responsibilities at Hilton

As Vice President of Human Resources for Hilton in Asia-Pacific, I shape Hilton’s culture and talent strategy for over 50,000 team members in over 600 hotels and offices. With 27 years of HR experience, including eight at Hilton leading the Rewards function for Asia-Pacific and launching the Thrive at Hilton employee value proposition, I now drive strategic HR initiatives like leadership training and enterprise programmes for team members’ growth and purpose.

How has Hilton embraced gender equality and address challenges faced by female employees?

Hilton is committed to achieving gender equity in senior corporate leadership roles and increasing the number of female Hotel General Managers by 2027. As a global signatory of the Women in Hospitality Charter, we collaborate with industry organisations to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) best practices. In Asia-Pacific, we have an active Women’s Team Member Resource Group (WTMRG) that motivates and supports our female team members’ career development. They organise panel dialogues, workshops, and activities to inspire growth and career possibilities. With 700 team members subscribed and serving as allies, the group has facilitated over 200 allyship dialogues and launched the WTMRG Blueprint to guide corporate offices and hotels in fostering connections and providing support to female team members.

How can technology play a role in creating equal opportunities for women in the workplace?

We aim to create five million career advancement and learning opportunities globally by 2030. Information technology plays a significant role in achieving this goal by raising awareness and sharing inspiring stories. Through our social media and careers website, we showcase women taking up leadership roles and other opportunities at Hilton, empowering others to dream bigger. We also leverage technology to tap into the gig economy, providing part-time and flexible work for women with responsibilities at home. In Japan, we partner with Timee, an external gig workforce platform, to meet hotels’ resourcing requirements and the work preferences of external gig or contract workers, including women.

What inspires you to support and empower women to take up leadership roles?

I am grateful for the education opportunities that have provided me with a strong foundation to achieve my career aspirations. I experienced first-hand how leaders and the ecosystem around us can impact a female team member’s ability to reach her fullest potential, which strengthened my conviction to support and empower women around me. Hilton’s commitment to creating more leadership opportunities for women resonates with me. We have made progress in promoting female leaders and increasing the percentage of our female General Managers across Asia-Pacific. It is also worth pointing out that women now make up 50% of Hilton’s Asia-Pacific Executive Committee, which is leading the growth and performance of Hilton across the region.

With #EmbraceEquity being the theme of IWD this year, what is your message to organisations when it comes to creating inclusive work cultures?

To create an inclusive work culture, we need a multi-dimensional approach, managing unconscious bias, cultivating leaders, and ensuring gender diverse talent processes. Amplifying success stories and leveraging allyship inspires ambitious goals, while listening and providing support helps foster mutual trust and respect for differences. Equity and equality must be embraced as cornerstones of an organisation’s culture, celebrating unique viewpoints, backgrounds, and experiences. 

International Women’s Day Features:

Empower all individuals to embrace equity – Gillian Tan, COO, Jebsen & Jessen Packaging

Creating a gender-inclusive workplace – Lee Minjoo, Head of Marketing, Deliveroo Singapore

Inclusion should be a mindset for everyone – Evelyn Tay, VP of Comms, Sustainability and Public Affairs, foodpanda

Uncovering bias the first step for inclusive workplaces – Alyssa Wang, Human Resources Director, Asia-Pacific, ADM

Technology holds the key to achieving gender equity – Aisha Islam, Senior Vice President and Head of Customer Solutions Centre, Mastercard

Ensuring equity and respect for all employees – Shylaja Bhat, Director HR Business Partner – Platform Foundation, HERE Technologies

Achieve gender equity by acknowledging the roles women play – Koh Yan Ping, CEO, Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO)