By Noah Parks
When I was a kid I always imagined myself as a football player. I was a young man from the Midwest, bigger, and got along with all kinds of people. The leaders on the team and in the coaches’ corner looked like me and talked like me. It was my vision of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy that kept me going out all those years and getting roughed up. Even though I changed, that dream was always with me because I could see myself in those successful people. I saw myself as a leader, or I aspired to be in a role of leadership. For me being a man meant looking up to other men. In the hospitality industry, unlike a small town in the Midwest, women only make up a fraction of the leadership roles. Meanwhile, women make up over half of the industry’s workforce. This lack of representation doesn’t reflect the ambition and potential of all the women beginning their careers. At HMG+ we have a different point of view.
From the beginning we’ve recognized the power of having women as leaders in our organization. When Mike DiPeri started Yipeee (“Fun name, serious business”) he and his wife Karen DiPeri were equals. He recognized her natural ability to make key decisions in social and professional situations that would further their business and their lives. Karen was officially made the President of HMG+ because of her strong leadership in the hospitality industry for over 20 years. She rallied the forces of the Society for Hospitality Management, and New York State Restaurant Association for years to ensure that the hospitality industry was looking out for the people on the front lines. During the pandemic she ensured that the doors stayed open working with our Accounting Manager, Monique Lewis, to secure funding through the PayCheck Protection Program. As a mother, daughter, sister, and partner, Karen has all the intangible skills of a natural leader. Her empathy and ability to find solutions that others can’t, which makes her a powerful example of women leading in the workplace.
In fact it’s no surprise that with such a strong leader at the helm of HMG+ that we’d have numerous strong leaders inspired by her. With a staff of hundreds and growing every week, we are showing women that join our team what strong leadership from a woman can look like. Of all our corporate staff only a few are men, and almost all of our interns this summer were women. It’s a testament to the foresight of Karen and Mike that they have handpicked a team of strong women to be an example to the rest of the industry and even more to our service professionals. The staffing solution of NYC is blessed with a diverse workforce that can look to all levels of our company for representation. It’s an interesting thing to see the possibility in someone else’s success and not feel envy or jealousy. Genuine, sincere communities do that and HMG+ is masterful in creating a unique work environment where we lift each other up rather than put them down.
I believe we have a chance for us to create a new normalcy around our diverse representation as well. It shouldn’t be as rare as it is to see yourself in the people that are in charge. Especially when we consider how long it took for women to gain the equality in other facets of life that they deserve. This is 2022 and the time is up on patriarchal stereotypes that are flush in the hospitality industry. I worked with a woman for a year before she gave me her phone number because she had been harassed by so many other male bartenders she worked with. Too frequently she was passed over for manager training because she had regulars that wanted her at the bar. At HMG+ we offer a proudly representative and inclusive that promotes from within and is committed to merit based advancement. We’re excited to boast a diverse community lead by women and looking for other like-minded people to join our expanding company.