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Balancing passion and parenthood in hospitality

A hotel general manager is often thought of as a male-dominated role; a job that entails late nights, early mornings, long meetings and no time for family commitments. But Yun Bai – like many others pounding the pavement in hospitality – is changing that perception.

In 2011, after graduating with a master’s degree at Le Cordon Bleu Australia, Yun took on the hospitality world with both hands, and landed big positions across Australia before settling in Brisbane.

For Yun it was a dream come true, but the motherly nature in her also yearned to start a family of her own.

“A lot of people think that in the hospitality industry, you can’t have both, and that was very daunting to me at the time,” she says.

Determined to have it all, Yun decided to give hotels a break and swap meetings for story time with the arrival of her first daughter.

“I decided to take three years off to have my beautiful family, and now I have two daughters aged eight and nine,” Yun says.

Despite her hospitality journey being put on hold for three years, Yun’s desire to get back into the industry led her to Oaks Hotels Resorts and Suites where she is currently the cluster general manager.

The industry is very accepting; it doesn’t matter if you are female, if you have a family or what background you come from.

She says she feels supported in a dynamic team that allows her the flexibility of balancing motherhood and hotel leadership.

“It was very hard in the beginning to juggle the two roles, but who says a male has to be a general manager and who says mum has to cook?” she says.

“My mum was actually a hotel general manager back in China and I lived in a hotel throughout my childhood.

"I remember going down to the kitchen to collect my dinner from the chef himself...I very much lived and breathed the industry as a little girl.

“I watched mum be a parent and a leader every day, so this was really my inspiration for doing what I’m doing now.”

This International Women’s Day (March 8), Yun is spreading the message that women can have it all and achieve success if they put their mind to it.

“The industry is very accepting; it doesn’t matter if you are female, if you have a family or what background you come from,” she says.

“My best advice is to just go for it… everything will fall into place and work itself out in the end.”

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