International Women’s Day: Honoring our Female GMs

March 7, 2020 by Allison Reiber DiLiegro

On this day and every day, we’re proud to represent properties helmed by female General Managers  (GMs). In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re honoring the incredible women who make these one-of-a-kind properties run like clockwork (and add a special touch and attention to detail at the same time).


Read on to learn about the extraordinary women behind Heckfield Place, Silversands Grenada, The Fife Arms  and Six Senses Bhutan.

Olivia Richli of Heckfield Place


What does International Women’s Day mean to you?


A day to champion the amazing women that I have had the pleasure to work with around the world over the past 20 years. Each country and culture has taught me something different – that women are always the power that make the change and make magic happen. If we put our mind to it, we can do anything.


Do you believe the world needs more female GMs?


You can feel the difference in a hotel that is managed by a woman. There is an attention to detail, a lightness of touch and more flowers in hidden corners. Every hotel can benefit from a balanced team led by a woman.


What contribution during your time at Heckfield Place are you most proud of?


After nine years of renovation, I am very proud to be the GM that brought life to this beautiful House and opened the doors to the wider world. Gathering a team of strong women around me, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the manning of Heckfield, each contributing their soft touch and skill to this special Estate.


What is your favourite detail, hidden gem or insider tip at Heckfield Place?


Heckfield is a 438-acre estate, and I love to pull on my walking boots and head out to discover the beauty that we are surrounded by. It is hard to choose my favourite spot, whether it is lying in the deep emerald grass in the loop of the river or tying a ribbon on the wishing tree or having a cutting garden that fills the House with flowers throughout the year – narcissi just coming into bloom now, with tulips close behind.


How has your property connected with your local community?


Heckfield is at the heart of a countryside community, though only an hour of London. Our neighbours are very cosmopolitan and have high cultural standards. We opened with a lovely garden party in the Walled Garden and invited them all. To ensure that Heckfield is accessible to everyone we set up the Assembly, a year round programme of cultural events including movies, walks, workshops, talks, plant sales and art classes. These are open to all, both in-house guests and our neighbours and regulars in our Screening Room – a 67-seater cinema showing the latest movies at least 5 times a week – as well as our restaurants and spa.


Narelle McDougall of Silversands Grenada

Narelle McDougall with Fe Noel


What does International Women’s Day mean to you?


A great day of celebration of all women everywhere regardless of position or status. It gives us all a focus on the fact that we still do not have gender equality.


Do you believe the world needs more female GMs?


With all respect to my male colleagues, I feel women are generally more open-minded and willing to get in and do the work alongside the team – not just asking to get it done but being hands-on. I read an article that said women tend to be more creative and will think about interpersonal and emotional factors when making decisions.


What contribution during your time at Silversands Grenada are you most proud of?


Since arriving in Grenada, I have worked hard to ensure that women are given the same opportunity and consideration in senior positions as men. We now have a female Rooms Division Manager, a female Pastry Chef and soon to have a female Front Office Manager and a female Director of Food & Beverage.


Another thing I am really excited about is our collaboration with Fe Noel, International Womenswear Designer. Fe will design our new team uniforms and her resort collection will be available exclusively at the Silversands Boutique. Fe’s vision for the design of the Silversands Grenada team uniform collection focuses first and foremost on the comfort of the Silversands Grenada team with luxe, breathable fabrics that allow for fluid movement. The silhouettes and colour scheme will blend the Fe Noel spirit with the understated Silversands aesthetic, with soft tailoring for an elegant and sleek appearance.


What is your favorite detail, hidden gem or insider tip at Silversands Grenada?


Gosh, there are so many divine elements of the property. The endless sea views, our location on Grand Anse Beach is amazing, the spa is incredible, the contemporary design and muted tones of the interiors, the overall understated luxury of the resort, everything makes you want to linger. Let me not forget the pool; I think I have taken pictures of the main pool and the sunset every other day in the six months I have been here!


How has Silversands Grenada connected with the local community?


Apart from sponsoring as many local events as we can, we source most of the fruits and vegetables for our restaurants through GRENROP (Grenada Network of Rural Women Producers), providing a direct and meaningful benefit to women growers on the island. What’s more, we maintain a nursery of supplemental ingredients that are sustainable in the island climate, lessening imports and, thus, limiting our carbon footprint.


We also recently hosted “A Celebration of Grenada” on Grenada Independence Day in order to raise awareness for the incredible depth of talent on the island and raise money for the Arts Council by way of a live and silent charity auction featuring local artists paintings and sculptures.  We invited local and international people along with house guests.


Federica Bertolini, Former GM of The Fife Arms, Scotland

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?


I really try to celebrate women every day.


Do you believe the world needs more female GMs?


Hospitality needs to achieve a better work/life balance and women are better at driving this agenda. We also seem to have higher emotional intelligence – a key quality in any leader.


What contribution during your time at The Fife Arms are you most proud of?


We have only just opened so too much is changing to answer this question. But I was very proud of the connection I have created with the local community during the refurbishment and the connection I have with all the staff who have joined us and helped us get our fabulous hotel up and running!


What is your favourite detail, hidden gem or insider tip at The Fife Arms?


A watercolour by Queen Victoria, definitely an interesting woman who became very sad when her husband died and loved to retreat in the Highlands. Added bonus was spending time with a rather handsome ghillie, but why not? I am sure she needed a bit of respite from the life at court!


How has The Fife Arms connected with the local community?


This is one of our main focal points. Our first opening night was dedicated to the locals who were kept informed and involved throughout the refurbishment. We created a club called the Flying Stag where the locals get discounts and updates. We have offered endless tours of the property with a focus on our artworks and free of charge for both locals and guests. We are creating a fantastic programme of cultural events for guests and locals who will make the Braemar calendar the envy of many communities in Scotland! I could go on and on.



Sally Baughen of Six Senses Bhutan

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?


A day for everyone, regardless of gender, to recognize and give thanks to those special women in their lives that have made a difference.


Do you believe the world needs more female GMs?


Yes, we need more female GMs. Our daily business is taking care of people – emotional hospitality, combined with extensive multitasking. Both are traits that females especially excel at. Or so we’re often told!


What contribution during your time at Six Senses Bhutan are you most proud of?


We have just opened our fifth and final lodge for Six Senses in The Kingdom of Bhutan. Being able to share this achievement with our team and say “hey, we’ve done it” is something for us all to be proud of.


What is your favorite detail, hidden gem or insider tip at Six Senses Bhutan?


With five different lodges across five diverse valleys there are so many hidden gems to choose from. But my tip is to check out our beautiful handwoven carpets. They differ in each lodge. My favourite of all has to be the stunning purple carpets with black-necked crane motif in our Six Senses Gangtey Lodge.


How has Six Senses Bhutan connected with the local communities?


We connect locally to our communities in each valley through active support via our sustainability fund and through meaningful guest activities and excursions. I am particularly excited by our latest connection with a climate change project called HEROES (Himalayan Environmental Rhythms Observation & Evaluation System). This project works with high school students in 21 schools throughout the country to collect both weather data and record plant phenology changes. We will assist them with grants for equipment to effectively capture the data that they are collecting. They are supported by The Bhutan Foundation, a super organization we love working with for their many varied projects throughout Bhutan.




We’ll take this opportunity to highlight some of the inspiring work our properties do to support women in their communities. Micato works with Huru International, an organization that provides sanitary pads to East African girls so they’re able to attend school. In Botswana, Great Plains Conservation organizes local entrepreneurial craft groups for women. In doing so, they honor traditional handiwork, help reinforce social bonds and provide an income for women who live near the Great Plains camps. Time + Tide Miavana’s Time + Tide  Foundation works with many causes including the Yosefe Girls Club, which empowers girls and gives them the confidence to pursue their dreams.


To book a stay at one of these properties or learn more about their philanthropic work, contact us at

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