Open To… True Selves
Meet Katie Birchall
Our HR Business Partner
It all started for me in 2016 with the HR Graduate Programme. I’ve always had an interest in hospitality, and had been working in different roles since I was 16. When it came to finishing University I knew this was the route I wanted to take.
I looked into leading hospitality brands, and Whitbread stood out by far. It was like a shining light that I just couldn’t resist.
The graduate programme was my window into the world of Whitbread, and saw me experience 4 x 6-month placements. They gave me a real insight into the business, covering L&D, Employee Relations and Costa Coffee (which we owned at the time).
Employee Relations really spoke to me, and this is the area that I moved into when my programme ended. As the ER Help Desk Team Leader I learnt a lot about managing a team and how the business all fits together to deliver results. I’d worked really hard up to this point, so I was really proud that I’d managed to make it happen.
Old me found change daunting, but I’ve really built up my confidence over the last few years and it’s had a huge impact on my work. After 2.5 years an opportunity came up to stretch myself two grades higher and go on secondment as a HR Business Partner.
It was at this point I knew I had to move past any feelings of doubt and trust myself and my ability to pick up the role.
One thing that’s really stood out to me about my Whitbread experience is being a member of GLOW, our LGBT network. I’ve been able to open up about my identity much more than ever before, and I’ve never considered holding myself back.
Being my authentic self is just a given to me now, and it’s really helped me grow in confidence and in my career.