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International Women’s Day – Celebrating Our Leading Ladies

This International Women’s Day, we’re proud to highlight some of the extraordinary women who play vital roles at D&D London. Delve into their stories, where they talk about their career journeys, passions and aspirations for women in hospitality industry… 

Olga Gay
General Manager, Skylon 

Olga Gay - D&D London


“I joined D&D in 2004 – back when it was the Conran group. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years! I started at Le Pont de la Tour and have moved around in various restaurants and roles at Bluebird, Royal Exchange, German Gymnasium, Quaglino’s and now Skylon.   

I’ve been the General Manager of Skylon since April last year, which I’m really proud of especially given the underrepresentation of women in senior hospitality roles. I’m lucky to lead an amazing team here. There is always a moment where you know that you are in the right place with the people you have with you.  

The hospitality industry has come a long way for the better. Mentalities have changed thankfully, but women entering the industry need to be prepared to put in the work, if not more than the men and it is that “more” part we need to change. If you have the skills, the commitment, and the passion then whether you are male of female should not really matter”. 


Ana Tibulca and Anett Lorincz
Chef de Partie & Senior Sous Chef, German Gymnasium

“Over the past year at German Gymnasium, we’ve had the pleasure of welcoming lots more women into back-of-house and chef positions, which is truly inspiring. We hope to witness this more across the industry. To all women in hospitality and culinary roles, our advice is simple: Never stop learning, believe in yourself and work hard for what you dream for. Stay strong, support each other and you will succeed!”


Monique Glean
People Partner for the North

Monique Glean - D&D London


“I have worked at D&D for 3 and a half years now – time really does fly! I started as People Administrator for the North covering 20 Stories, Angelica & Crafthouse. I was then promoted to People Partner for the North and took on Orelle, Birmingham when it opened in October 2022.  

What do I love about my job? Having the opportunity to meet and interact with different people from across the world and from all aspects of life, all of whom are on different career paths. I love that I get to be a part of that journey with them whilst they are with us at D&D London.  

There is often a misconception that the hospitality industry lacks opportunities for work-life balance. By abolishing this myth and adopting flexible working environment and family-friendly policies, we not only foster individual success, but also advance societal progress and gender equality. By providing this, we are creating an environment where women feel supported in balancing their professional and personal responsibilities. 

My first Hotel Manager often used the quote: “Your Attitude, Not Your Aptitude, Will Determine Your Altitude”. Skills can be taught, but a positive attitude and a great character cannot! This has always stuck with me both personally & professionally”. 

Christina Kruzewski
Group Sales & Events Manager

“I’ve spent 7 years at D&D so far (with a 2 year gap in the middle – we always return!). I started as an Events Executive for Bluebird in Chelsea and straight away I knew I’d found the right career. I was quickly promoted to Senior Events Manager, where I was looking after a team while also balancing raising my daughter. In 2019 I moved from London to Birmingham to be closer to my family (aka to babysitters), and unfortunately had to leave D&D for a short time as we weren’t in Birmingham back then. In my time away I quickly realised there wasn’t a company like D&D. When they opened Orelle in Birmingham, I was so happy and applied straight away! I’ve had a fantastic time here since it opened, we have an amazing team which makes coming into work all the more enjoyable! 

The biggest issue in Hospitality is flexibility. We tend to work unsociable hours and days can easily become longer due to demands within your role. Add on childcare requirements and health issues (which can be for men as well) and it can deter women from trying to progress. We all need to constantly evaluate ourselves on this so that we can be a support system for women in the workplace. 

One piece of advice I have is to always meet new people. Constantly look to grow and learn from those around you, irrelevant of job title”. 

Elvira Slivciuc
Restaurant Manager, Launceston Place 


“I began my journey at Launceston Place as a Receptionist Supervisor in 2022, and within almost a year I advanced to Restaurant Manager. Prior to joining D&D, I worked as a Head Waitress at The Dorchester hotel. 

I chose this career path for one primary reason: my passion for engaging with people and ensuring they have an exceptional experience with our food and wines. 

My team at D&D is truly wonderful. We are all of similar age, which fosters seamless communication and mutual support among us. Upon receiving the promotion to Restaurant Manager, several of our regular guests expressed their heartfelt congratulations and encouragement. Their affirmations moved me to tears of happiness. 

In my view, women have often been misunderstood and not sufficiently encouraged to pursue their dreams. Therefore, it is imperative that we provide ample opportunities for women to express themselves and contribute their innovative ideas, which they inherently possess”.

Zyra Halim
Office & Operations Admin

Zyra Halim - D&D London


“I started my career at D&D with the intention of continuing my passion for hospitality that I found after graduating. My role in Operations and Admin team has given me an opportunity to connect with such amazing people from every corner of the company. I understand importance of the every team in the company that collectively make us the celebrated company we are today.  

When I think about my journey in this company, a moment that stands out to me the most was on my first day, when the senior members of the company, the Sales Director, Head of Internal Controls at the time were the first people to greet me in the office. It gave me an impression that people from different levels in the company are treated no differently towards one another, and that is vital to me as a woman in hospitality”.   


Group Head of Beverage

“I’m originally from Spain and began my career in Madrid as a sommelier, before moving to London in 2007. Since 2018, I have been Group Head of Beverage for D&D London, with a focus predominantly on purchasing core beverage categories for our restaurants.  

What I love most about my job is the opportunity to connect with people and create beverage offerings that contribute to memorable experiences for our guests. Whether it’s crafting unique partnership with Spirit brands, sourcing the perfect wine, or simply ensuring we provide excellent service. I also enjoy the creative aspect of my role, constantly exploring and discovering new products to develop innovative beverage offerings. The dynamic nature of the hospitality industry keeps me engaged and challenged, and I’m grateful for the chance to continually learn and grow in my profession.  

While working alongside my male colleagues, our team dynamic is one of mutual respect and cooperation. We support each other through clear communication, sharing knowledge and expertise, and working together to overcome challenges and driving success.  

I believe by providing even more mentorship programs, flexible work and training opportunity, we will continue to foster an environment of inclusivity and equal opportunity in hospitality”. 


Metaxoulla Chrisostomou
Learning & Development Partner 

I’ve been a part of the D&D team for just over a year now. Before this I was a Science teacher, so I made the move out of the classroom and into Learning & Development. On hiring me D&D saw beyond my background in education and recognised the value of my transferable skills.   

What I love about my role is the variety! I love that everyday is different. I get to work on a variety of projects with different groups of people and I’m given a high degree of creative freedom so I have autonomy over my work. My team are so supportive, kind and genuinely want to see people succeed. It’s so nice to be in a team that has a rich feedback culture and that is always striving to improve. Plus, Nyetimber tastings at 9am on a Monday! In what other job would this be ok?!  


Natasha Davies
Senior Marketing Manager

“My advice to women starting out would be to have self-belief and to know you are good enough. You have been put in that situation or hired in that position because you have earnt your right to be there, so you should own it. 

Whether it be to own a male dominated room, or show up to work when it’s the time of the month and your body is telling you to rest, or when you hear that voice that tells you you aren’t good enough, and you have to override it and have that self-belief. There’s no magic to success or to breaking boundaries. It just takes passion and a bit of self-belief and drive, and checking in with yourself to remember your worth and value as a female, making positive moves and changes within your industry”. 


Catherine Shennan
Talent Manager

“Originally from NZ, I’ve always worked in hospitality, from restaurants to five-star hotels. This year I’m celebrating 10 years with D&D and 20 years in the UK!

I love the diversity of my role and our group’s restaurants. Over the past decade, I’m proud to have worked on so many different projects and been involved in several significant openings including German Gymnasium, 20 Stories and 14 Hills.

Each time we fill a role and welcome someone new, it’s exhilarating. The camaraderie across the group and the warm welcome at our restaurants are unparalleled. Plus, dining out in D&D restaurants is always a pleasure.

In terms of supporting women in the hospitality industry, I advocate for more women chefs in our kitchens. This could involve partnering with schools and colleges to promote chef careers for women. While we’ve seen more women students pursuing work experience, there’s still progress to be made.”