Sudima Hotel's path to becoming an accessible employer

Tessa Pitney Sudima Hotel & Resorts has recently shown great leadership in the employment space. After looking for work for six months, Be. Employed intern Tessa Pitney kick started her career in the hospitality industry in July as Sudima’s receptionist and office administrator after completing her Bachelor of International Hospitality Management.

Director of Hotels for HIND Management and Sudima Hotels & Resorts Les Morgan says Tessa proved herself as the perfect fit for the role right from the get go. "In the hotel industry, the focus is always on the customer, and Tessa has a combination of a great education and a natural instinct for what drives Sudima. Her personality, intelligence and work ethic make her a wonderful addition to our team, and we are fortunate to be able to draw on her expertise and advice as we continue to advance our accessibility programme."

Be. Accessible has a long-standing relationship with Sudima, with CEO Sudesh Jhunjnuwala as one of our Fab50 members. As well as taking on a graduate, the various hotels also regularly host Be. Leadership sessions in Auckland and Christchurch.

Prior to taking on this role, Tessa interned at Multiple Sclerosis and was mentored by Sudima Lake Rotorua's Maree Welgus, who has continued to support her through her career. "What really stood out to me about Tessa, was her ability to not take no for an answer, she is very determined. Throughout my mentorship, we would catch up every couple of weeks to check-in on Tessa's progress … I was so delighted to hear she had landed a job with Sudima – I didn’t even know she'd applied, which to me speaks volumes to her confidence and capability."

Tessa's colleagues have worked alongside her to create an accessible and inclusive workspace together. "As far as getting used to the workplace, people have been very understanding. My colleagues have learned to come and stand up close when they're talking to me, because if they're across the room I can't read their gestures. The great thing is that I can tell them what I need and we can work out the solution together – they don't have to solve it all for me, and I don't have to figure it out alone."

Sudima was so interested in Tessa's personal and professional journey, they even asked her to blog about her 5-week journey through Europe!

Be. Accessible's founder and CEO Minnie Baragwanath says Tessa's story is a beautiful example of employment accessibility in action. "We know that the cost of workforce exclusion of people with access needs is around $11.7 billion, which is to say that if more companies could do what Sudima is doing, talented people and thriving companies would enrich each other and enhance the economy. Congratulations to Sudima, Tessa and the Be Employed team on their efforts to move New Zealand closer to being the most accessible country in the world."