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Inaugural Women’s Scholarship Recipients Announced


AHA NSW - Newcastle Hunter Sub-Branch President Mick Starkey with scholarship recipients Stephanie Grace, Emily Box, Kat Marples and AHA NSW Membership Liaison Officer - Mid-North Region Jaimie Rayment.

Pippi’s at the Point Licensee Stephanie Grace, Maryville Tavern General Manager Emily Box and O’Hara Hotels Hunter Valley Regional Coordinator Katherine Maples have been named recipients of the Australian Hotel Association NSW – Newcastle Hunter’s inaugural Women’s Scholarship.


The program is designed to shine a spotlight on women’s careers in hospitality and offer a unique opportunity to develop leadership skills and industry network connections.


Beginning in May and running for six months, the program will be led by former Solotel CEO and industry powerhouse Justine Baker and author, international business leader and strategy consultant Gill McLaren.


“By becoming a recipient of the scholarship, I hope to learn more about different styles of leadership, becoming a mentor, creating a support network of successful women in the hospitality community and continuing to grow and learn more as an individual,” Pippi’s at the Point’s Stephanie Grace said.


The scholarship is the first of its kind for AHA Newcastle Hunter and was well received by the local hospitality industry with the number of applications exceeding expectations.


“This is something that’s been in the works for years,” AHA NSW – Newcastle Hunter Sub-branch President Mick Starkey said.


“In hospitality we give so much back to the wider community and I’m really glad to see us now also giving back to the people who make our industry great.”


“In hospitality we give so much back to the wider community and I’m really glad to see us now also giving back to the people who make our industry great” - AHA NSW - Newcastle Hunter Sub-Branch President Mick Starkey.

Maryville Tavern’s Emily Box said being selected will provide a huge step forward in furthering her career in the hospitality industry.


“The knowledge will be invaluable and I’m also incredibly excited by the networking opportunities this experience will provide.”


While Katherine Maples from O’Hara Hotels said she is looking forward to growing her ability to mentor the industry’s next generation.


“I have a passion to mentor young leaders and to further my knowledge and become a better leader myself,” she said.


“Understanding different leadership styles and how to better impact young leaders is very important to me and I’m looking forward to growing my understanding and ability in that space.”


While the inaugural program was aimed at supporting women in hospitality, members of the AHA NSW – Newcastle Hunter Sub-Branch committee will also look at offering additional opportunities to both men and women working in the local industry.


“Off the back of how popular this program has been we will definitely look at running the Women’s Scholarship again next year,” Starkey said.


“But it’s also important to make sure we’re providing support for the industry overall, so we’ll be looking to add opportunities for both men and women to participate in courses and other programs that increase their skills and confidence and hopefully encourage them to consider a long-term career in hospitality.”


Recipient Profiles


Stephanie Grace


Venue: Pippi’s at the Point


Role: Licensee

Reason for Applying: I applied for the program as it is a great opportunity for personal growth and new opportunities. Since this is the first time this scholarship has been offered, I was excited for the chance to participate and learn more from Justine Baker, Gill McLaren and the other successful candidates.

Ideal Outcomes: By becoming a recipient of the scholarship, I hope to learn more about different styles of leadership, becoming a mentor to the future of hospitality, creating a support network of successful women in the hospitality community and continuing to grow and learn more as an individual.




Emily Box


Venue: The Maryville Tavern


Role: General Manager

Reason for Applying: It would be an incredible opportunity to further my career in hospitality and the knowledge and opportunity which will come from this will be invaluable. I’m also incredibly excited by the potential networking opportunities this might bring.

Ideal Outcomes: By participating in the program I hope to increase my skills and ability to be a better leader for my team. I also look forward to gaining greater knowledge and experience that will help me further my own career. It will be great to meet inspiring and successful women and influence others in regard to how great and rewarding a hospitality career can be.



Kat Maples


Venue: O’Hara Hotels


Role: Hunter Valley Regional Coordinator

Reason for Applying: I have the privilege of overseeing eight hotels in my area, taking care of everything from daily operations to marketing and compliance. This role has created a passion to mentor young leaders and I would like to use the skills I learn as part of the program to further my ability to become a better leader.

Ideal Outcomes: I hope to gain a greater understanding of different leadership styles and learn how to better impact young leaders. One of my professional goals is to encourage and inspire the next generation of men and women who enter our industry with the goal of making it their long-term career.



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