JOALI BEING inspires new generation of female leaders

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2022, JOALI BEING conducted a series of virtual educational sessions with MAPS College Maldives and Maldives National University. Students from these higher education institutions, representing a number of academic fields, joined the special event.

Led by in-house experts, the virtual sessions aimed to inspire a new generation of female leaders in hospitality by showcasing the range of opportunities that are available to them. JOALI BEING’s very own female achievers gave the young women real-world insights into a variety of departments – from culinary and wellbeing, to butler service and environmental conservation.

“Women’s emancipation is one of the core values of JOALI, and we support this brand mission through several initiatives in the Maldives,” notes General Manager of JOALI BEING, Özgür Cengīz. “Being a luxury hospitality brand, this particular event was especially close to our hearts. These young women are a vital part of the future of our industry. Hopefully, some of them will even become leaders at our own wellbeing retreat.”

At the conclusion of the session, the audience received a wonderful surprise. Melany Martinez Thomas, Director of Wellbeing at JOALI BEING, announced that in 2022 the resort will offer five internships across three divisions – wellbeing, F&B and rooms, as well as a chance to gain work experience with the Olive Ridley Project.

These prestigious work opportunities promise to be an incredible learning journey. Guided by experienced JOALI team members, the chosen interns will pick up skills that are sure to prove invaluable for a career in hospitality. While the six-month internships are open to all, female candidates will be prioritised.

“Along with education, getting the right exposure or opportunity at the right time can also be life-changing,” says Melany. “We are committed to helping empower women in the Maldives by hiring local women at all levels and contributing to NGOs that work towards women-centric causes.”

JOALI currently supports female emancipation in a variety of ways. At the community level, the brand works with Maldivian organisations to aid the training of girls in local schools. It has also implemented a policy to on-board more local women as team members. Last but certainly not least, the team has structured its internal processes in a manner that encourages female employees to grow and flourish.

The virtual panel for International Women’s Day featured an impressive line-up of speakers. The audience received knowledge and guidance from a number of female team members at JOALI BEING – from the Director of Wellbeing to a budding local butler.

Introduction to JOALI BEING by Melany Martinez Thomas, Director of Wellbeing. Equipped with nearly 20 years of experience in luxury hospitality around the globe, with a focus on spa and wellness, Melany set the context for the event. She introduced the audience to JOALI BEING, the first nature immersive wellbeing retreat in the Maldives, and explained the resort’s wellbeing philosophy and work culture, placing them within an international hospitality context.

A graduate from the Canadian College of Holistic Health in Toronto, Melany holds an MBA from the University of Cumbria, U.K. Her impressive career has included roles with SLH hotels, Relais & Châteaux, Aman Resorts, Kempinski hotels and independent properties in Thailand, Costa Rica and Europe. At JOALI BEING, she supports clients in achieving their goal of creating a sustainable wellness lifestyle, full of vitality and joy.

Wellbeing Culinary Experience with Julia Soria, Executive Pastry Chef. With a specialisation in fine dining, Chef Julia has been in the gastronomic industry for over a decade. Known for her strong interpersonal skills, she explained to students the importance of interacting effectively with people from diverse cultures – a must to succeed in high-pressure, time-bound work environments. She also focused on the relationship between wellbeing and F&B.

With a professional journey spanning countries like Japan, Morocco, Italy and Mexico, Chef Julia brings diverse influences into the JOALI BEING kitchen. Her flair for creativity and zest for learning are at the heart of her successful culinary career.

Introduction to Nutrition by Pranathi Bollapragada, Resident Nutritionist. Inspired daily by the values of her family, Pranathi finds immense fulfilment in helping people to lead healthier, happier lives. She emphasised the importance of nutrition in everyday life and highlighted how the right qualification can equip students for a rewarding career in this field.

With a master’s degree in food and nutrition, Pranathi is an advocate of diets that are balanced and nourishing. At JOALI BEING, she skilfully integrates a modern clinical approach with principles from Ayurveda and Naturopathy to create a personalised nutrition plan for each guest.

Introduction to the Olive Ridley Project with Olivia Forster, Sea Turtle Biologist. With a master’s degree in conservation and biodiversity from the University of Exeter, U.K., Olivia has worked in turtle conservation in North Cyprus and the Maldives. She has a passion for sharing knowledge with young people and has even served as a consultant for wildlife-focused children’s books. Her talk put the spotlight on environmental conservation and its role in ethical hospitality.

Olivia first came to the Maldives as a volunteer for a local NGO, where she co-managed a sea turtle rescue & rehabilitation centre and a coral gardening programme. She joined the Olive Ridley Project last year as a Sea Turtle Biologist for Raa Atoll, based at JOALI BEING, where she carries out population research and educational outreach.

Jadugar Butler Service with Mauvy Mahir, budding local butler. Born and raised in the Maldives, Mauvy is set to graduate soon from Maldives National University (one of the institutions that participated in the special event for International Women’s Day). As a butler at JOALI BEING, she shared her personal journey and ambitions with the audience. Being in the same shoes, many of the young women students could identify closely with her experiences.

Mauvy started her career as a service associate and found her ultimate dream job in 2020 when she became a butler at a Maldivian resort. Now part of the team at JOALI BEING, she is a Jadugar. Meaning “magician” in the local language, this term is used to describe the brand’s personal butlers, who are known for their almost-magical ability to make guest requests come true.

JOALI BEING invites wellbeing seekers to reconnect with themselves and with the beauty of nature. Based on the belief that understanding is the key to creating and sustaining wellbeing, the island’s Learning Centre offers a series of educational workshops and experiential classes with wellbeing experts, culinary maestros and herbalists. This distinctive wellbeing retreat is home to a total of 68 exclusive guest villas with pools, consisting of 33 beach villas and 35 water villas.

With 13 categories to choose from, guests can opt for one-, two-, three- or four-bedroom villas and residences. JOALI BEING features unique transformational spaces that allow guests to immerse in elemental therapies and healing experiences. Nature is at the centre of life at JOALI BEING, with the retreat being completely committed to nature immersive and responsible travel – the pathway to true “weightlessness”.

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