TGT Meets... Becky Wilkes - IWD Special
In the latest of our International Women's Day interview series we talked to the amazing Becky Wilkes, Sales & Marketing Manager for 20 Stories (D&D London) and Social & PR Director for the Manchester Hospitality Network.
Name: Becky Wilkes
Location: Spinningfields, Manchester
Occupation: Sales and Marketing Manager, 20 Stories, D&D London / Social and PR Director, Manchester Hospitality Network.
Which woman would you compare yourself to or aspire to be like?
I’ve always said ‘be who you needed when you were younger’. I lost my mum at young age of 17 and she was the most amazing lady to step foot on this planet. She played a massive part in making me my own person and she inspired me to not only work extremely hard for my career but do it with a personalised and approachable manner. At 17, I became extremely independent and driven to succeed. I do take inspiration from other women in both my personal life and career, however, I try not to compare myself to anyone specific as I believe that each woman should aspire to have their own individuality.
What’s great about being a woman in business?
I have now been in hospitality for over 15 years, starting as a waitress in a local Restaurant at the age of 13. When I moved to Manchester, I spent several years learning about the city and gaining new contacts to grow my career. At this time, the ‘Business Development Manager role’ within hospitality was very different to what it is now. If you didn’t have blonde hair and blue eyes or look ‘a certain way’, you simply weren’t considered for this role. During an interview process once, I actually got questioned ‘who is Becky Wilkes? No one knows who she is!’ to then later find out I didn’t look the part so I wasn’t offered the job. This has now changed and with the help of Manchester Hospitality Network, this role has evolved greatly.
Now a days, if you bloody work hard, it is recognised and I am so proud to be where I am now. Manchester Hospitality Network has not only developed individuals in their own careers through business introductions but it teaches the next generation of what is needed within the business side of hospitality. No matter what your gender is, if your work ethic and goals are in place, it will always be great being in business.
Do you think it's important to have an International Women's Day?
I think it is important to celebrate the achievements of women whether that be political or social. Women in our past have paved the way and fought so that the women of today can be accepted, so there is an importance in recognising this. There are so many CEOs and Directors of companies these days that are women and it is amazing to see.
Do you have family (and/or children)? How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I have always been extremely career driven and I want to establish this further before having children and starting my own family. Being in hospitality for over 15 years, it has become part of my life. There is no denying that hospitality has long and hard hours but I adore my job which makes my day-to-day life enjoyable. You become friends with people you work with, clients and guests you look after so I get to have fun with role and daily duties in business.
Have you ever had to give up or miss out on anything in order to pursue your career?
There are times due to the high demand of working hours that you miss out on certain things, however my career is a priority for me and I am lucky to have people around me that understand this.
Do you ever experience any discrimination in the work place because of your gender?
Not at all.
What advice / tip would you pass on to the next generation of women in Business?
Be yourself, take ownership, make sure you love what you do and don’t do it with an ego. I can’t stress these enough, especially in my role. I am in charge of making money and hitting revenue targets for the highest Restaurant in Manchester and I am in love with the venue which makes me good at my job. I could never ‘sell’ something if I didn’t love it and demonstrate a passion whilst doing so.
Do men ever feel intimidated by your success?
I have worked extremely hard to get to where I am now and people have seen that. Therefore, my success isn’t intimating, it is rewarding and motivating to others.
If you could have dinner with 5 inspirational women dead or alive, who would they be?
My mum – just because.
Princess Diana – a lady who was so humble yet so inspiring to others. I am fascinated by her.
Aretha Franklin – the Queen of Soul!
Emily Eavis – Co-Organiser of Glastonbury.
Alison Cronin – The Owner of Monkey World who lost her husband yet carried on their dream.
As a successful female, where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
D&D London is a fantastic company and I am very eager to progress with them. The company is a very fast paced growing company and I would love to oversee several sites under their umbrella. I will also continue to support Manchester Hospitality Network and act as a mentor to the next generation.