Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala – CEO, Sudima Group

Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala "I have seen first-hand, with those close to me that have access needs, the difficulties they can face when trying to undertake everyday tasks, and the effect this can have on their confidence. A 100% accessible society can only be achieved through a commitment from us all, and I am proud to be a part of this change. I hope that my participation as a member of Be’s Fab 50 will encourage others to get involved in making our society more inclusive and accessible for everyone."


This month, we are delighted to feature our Fab 50er Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala! Sudesh, CEO of the Sudima Group of hotels and resorts, is modelling the role for-profit businesses can have in creating positive access-focused social change.

Under Sudesh's leadership, the Sudima Group was the first nationwide hotel chain in New Zealand to prioritise accessibility by working through our Be. Welcome programme. Now, with all four current hotels assessed, (and the new Christchurch hotel's design plans reviewed), Sudima is working on upgrading to even higher accessibility ratings! This year, Sudima have also developed their team's access skills and confidence, and infused access into their internal culture by hosting our Be. Confident workshops at all hotel sites.

In October, we were delighted to see Sudima's Auckland Airport hotel shift up to our Gold accessibility rating. The team made a number of innovative changes to reach this new status – including establishing a K9 working dog package, visual and audio doorbells, vibrating alarms, and braille restaurant menus. They are eager to continue the journey and establish the Auckland Airport site as the Pacific region's first ever Platinum accessibility-rated hotel!

Sudima are also working with us to offer employment pathways for Access Citizens. In July, they appointed one of our talented Be. Employed university graduates as an administrative assistant at their head office. And they continue to support us in developing leadership skills amongst the access community by offering free conference facilities, and discounted catering and accommodation for our Be. Leadership programme. In 2016, they sponsored one of their own team members, Maree Welgus, through the programme. Marie, who has now been appointed as Sudima’s national Accessibility Ambassador, ensures all sites are focusing on continuous access improvement.

Sudesh's leadership has provided Aotearoa with a case study in how businesses can begin to contribute to social change. We will proudly continue to work alongside the Sudima Group as they create wonderfully accessible accommodation for travellers, employment pathways for Access Citizens, and support New Zealand's access leadership.

“Sudesh understands what it means to lead a truly values driven organisation. His leadership at Sudima Hotels and Resorts elegantly balances the economic requirements of successful business alongside powerful opportunities to model diversity and contribute to a more inclusive world.”

Minnie Baragwanath - CEO, Be. Accessible