As a woman, you’re asked to prove yourself: Amruda Nair

Feminism and hospitality are not foreign to Amruda Nair, who comes from the Leela legacy named after her grandmother. That being said, she talks of her challenges and highlights this International Women’s Day 2022.

For third-generation entrepreneur Amruda Nair, Leela will always be part of her legacy. However, she is also one of several established female entrepreneurs who have managed to carve out their niche. In this case, through founding Araiya Hotels and Resorts among several other accolades. 

So far, her stellar 15-year-long career has taken her across Europe, the US, Asia and the Middle East. Closer home, she has served as head of asset management for The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts during a period of major growth, which involved the opening of new properties in Gurgaon, Udaipur, Delhi, and Chennai.

More recently, the prestigious World Culinary Awards declared Naan Bar, her modern Indian restaurant in Valletta, as Malta’s best restaurant. 

In spite of these accomplishments, Amruda has come across some who expect a man to be in her place. Which she graciously dismisses as amusing, acknowledging the privilege of a sheltered environment sans outrageous amounts of gender inequality. However, being an entrepreneur involves working with a wide variety of people, which boils the sexism down to the place you’re at and the generation you’re dealing with. 

All’s not lost though, as things seem to be taking a positive turn. Amruda adds, “I think the positions we struggle to fill the most are middle management. So we have quite a solid presence of female candidates at the entry level, it’s perhaps considered glamorous enough. There’s also enough leadership presence in terms of ownership I’ve seen across my career. I think the issue is the misconception of long working hours, night shifts, etc. There’s a lot more to things than the operational side that people don’t consider.”

As she continues to plough on, exploring exciting new locations and boutique experiences, Amruda Nair has firmly established herself as a force to reckon with. 

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