In the lead-up to International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March, Australian Hotelier is showcasing some of the outstanding women in the pub industry, who are reflecting on their experiences within the sector.

This series continues with Sabrina Medcalf, group operations and entertainment manager for Odd Culture Group.

Medcalf began her hospitality career at a tapas bar in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Upon moving to Sydney, she held general manager positions at Tio’s Cerveceria and the Flinders, before moving on to Swillhouse venue Frankie’s Pizza in 2016, where Medcalf really felt she hit her stride in the sector . Medcalf moved into her current role with Odd Culture Group in May 2022, where she has enjoyed organising unique, engaging entertainment offerings across Odd Culture’s range of venues.

Hospitality has been a rewarding industry for Medcalf to build a career in.

“It has been such a great place for me to learn from mentors in the wild and really start to understand my own style of service in the industry. You really have all these amazing opportunities that you don’t really think of when first dipping your toe into the industry.

“You are really in charge of people’s livelihoods in this industry, not only your team but the people that come to your venues. Having the opportunity to support, mentor and exchange ideas with other amazing women around me is seriously incredible, as well as engaging with the guests who we aim to look after is really a dream,” she said.

While Medcalf does not personally feel that her gender has affected her career progression, she is committed to create equal opportunities for all underrepresented communities.

“I do my best to achieve fairness and try to ensure, especially in live music programming, that we provide entertainment that is vast and supports all. Be yourself and that should always be accepted. The fact we even still discuss gender and fluidity being affected by career highlights that we are not done here but I’ll do my part as much as I can,” she said.

While inroads have been made for equality in hospitality, Medcalf said “the job is never done.”

“When it comes to accepting humans no matter of gender or race, then there is always more we can do to make people feel accepted for who they are. As we say in the industry, go above and beyond. We should apply this to everything in the industry,” she added.

Medcalf lives by her motto of “at my venues, you will be the best version of yourself”, which has allowed her to provide an accepting space for guests and staff.

“Inclusion without a doubt is so important. Be open minded, get to know your people and your staff and you’ll fall in love with the industry. Sixteen years later I’m still in love with it, and I’m extremely proud to be a part of a group like Odd Culture who are diverse and accepting of all folks.”

More perspectives and experiences from women in the industry will be published in March issue of Australian Hotelier, out soon.

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