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Marriott skills programme to further develop diversity, inclusion in SA hospitality

Marriott International, in partnership with the University of Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development, has launched its Khulanathi programme, which will every year set a select group of talented South Africans on the fast track to leadership in the hospitality industry.

The new 12-month leadership development programme which is based on a Marriott International talent development model aims to create opportunities for promising associates within its hotels.
Marriott skills programme to further develop diversity, inclusion in SA hospitality
©Stephan Stockinger via 123RF

Satya Anand, president of Marriott International’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) division says: "Marriott International is committed to developing local talent in the markets where we operate, which in turn promotes development of the industry as a whole. The launch of Khulanathi in South Africa is testimony to our strategic view of the African region as a vital growth area for us, and evidence of our support for the continent’s phenomenal leadership potential."

Khulanathi, which means 'grow with us’' has been developed as a year-long intensive programme designed exclusively for internal EE participants to access world-class leadership theory, teachers and on-the-job mentorship.

"When it comes to our leadership pipeline, we adhere to our long-held philosophy of growing leaders from within, investing in the development of our people to see them thrive in their careers," says Francisca Martinez, chief human resources officer, EMEA Marriott International. "In South Africa, and across all of our worldwide operations we are committed to opening doors of opportunity and helping the talented people working in our properties realize their full leadership potential."

Preparing emerging leaders to thrive


The inaugural 2021 Khulanathi cohort consists of ten participants who represent the diversity of the local community. Seven of these potential next-generation leaders are female who work at Marriott International properties across the country.

Rhodanthe Johannisen, currently employed as food and beverage manager at Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott Pretoria Menlyn says: "It’s taken hard work and a lot of dedication to qualify for the Khulanathi programme, and now I am excited and proud to be part of the 2021 cohort. I am looking forward to learning from the best business teachers and developing my capabilities as a future leader in the Marriott International family."

Volker Heiden, vice president sub-Saharan Africa, Marriott International says: "We’re delighted to launch Khulanathi, and commend the first participants who made it through the stringent selection process. As we have seen over the past year, our industry demands leaders with both skills and grit. South Africa is a country of immense talent, and Marriott International is proud to play our role in developing the country’s next-generation leaders."

The Khulananthi programme launched in June bringing the 2021 cohort together for the opening workshop. The course includes online learning modules, targeted on-the-job training, and special projects with assigned mentors, which enable the participants to learn and put theory into practice in the workplace.

Marriott International grants participants 40 days of study leave in addition to providing full bursaries for the course, which is certified as a management development programme of The University of Stellenbosch Business School Executive Development. The well-rounded curriculum includes Business and Economics, Financial Management, Marketing and Customer Service, People Management and Leadership competencies.

"Khulanathi is a rigorous programme and the successful completion will represent a life-changing experience for our participants. We believe we have the right young South Africans ready to be fast-tracked through a lot of hard work and determination. We look forward to making a significant impact by developing talented local leaders," concludes Heiden.

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