What’s New Bali talks to Marriott General Managers in Bali about a disease that kills 1400 women daily, how to practice a healthier work/life balance, and how companies can do better supporting breast cancer awareness.

But, first, here’s an insider’s note:

I spent at least a week researching the smallest part of this story, looking for answers. As we go to press, a pressing question remains unanswered. The following story is about breast cancer. The interviewees are six successful women working in the hospitality industry as general managers.

Here’s the dilemma. I wanted to highlight their hard-earned title in the subject. But calling these ladies Women General Managers or Female General Managers just sounds plain odd. Why should we feel the need to add their gender before the title? Do we address Stephen the General Manager as the Male General Manager? Do we call Brian the Chef, the “Gentleman Chef”, as we address Jane as the “Female Chef”? And don’t get me started with Lady CEO!

So why should we say “Julie, the FEMALE General Manager”? Isn’t it obvious that she is? Will mentioning her gender overshadow the real story about her career, or is that the basis of her and the story’s appeal, rather than her professional abilities and accomplishments?

The media plays a key role in portraying women in their roles. And as the battle for gender equality marches on, it continues to play out in one of the most public spaces, making headline news. And it’s not just about how much coverage women are receiving versus men in business, politics, or sports. It is also about how the media tells their stories.

What we are sharing is a discussion about breast cancer, with Women General Managers of Marriott in Bali:

Studies have shown that every minute, somewhere in the world, a woman dies from breast cancer. More than 1,400 women every day. While a man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000. As part of the Marriott Women Business Council’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals, Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort took the lead in organizing a breast cancer awareness campaign by partnering up exclusively with What’s New Bali. Six General Managers from Marriott International Bali properties shared perspectives, tips and advice raising local awareness among our readership, with a great hope that this small step will lead to much bigger changes and awareness of breast cancer.

First row: Marie Browne, Lily Wijaya. Second row: Lucia Liu, Joan Mamahit

Whether you, or a loved one, are worried about developing breast cancer, have just been diagnosed, are going through breast cancer treatment, or are trying to recover after treatment, hopefully, this discussion will provide some answers for you.

And foremost, to help all of us (women and men) practice a healthier lifestyle to minimize the risk.

What makes you, as a General Manager, different in the way you create a healthy working environment?

Marie Browne- Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort

I believe in creating an inclusive and collaborative environment, having fun with accountability. I want my team to work together to get things done, creating an environment where people can count on each other and support each other. The best teams achieve results in all areas of the business by working as a unit, not in silos.

Lily Wijaya- Fairfield by Marriott Bali Legian

Being myself, being open and being humble. Associates see me as a person with strengths and weaknesses. I always try to see things from the other’s viewpoint, and treat everyone with respect, as I would like to be treated.

Can you share with us your best practice of work/life balance tips, please? And how do you practice a healthy diet?

Lucia Liu- The Laguna, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa

Lots of energy and time are spent committed to this job, and it also takes passion to be successful. I find the biggest challenge as a woman in this industry is finding a good work/life balance. Luckily the industry allows me to combine my dedication to the industry with my personal interests such as traveling. It makes the challenge easier to face. However, as a leader, I find setting confidence and providing growth opportunities are some of the barriers.

Joan Mamahit- Element by Westin Bali Ubud

Think positively. Eat less sugar and carbohydrates, and no smoking. I exercise outdoors; I like trekking, cycling, and scuba diving during my free time.

Broken down by hours, what proportion is work, sleep, exercise, time with your family, or down time?

MB- Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort

Work – 10 -12 hours per day. Sleep – seven hours, I don’t function well on less than seven hours of sleep. It helps me to stay productive and energized for the day to come.

Family/Down time – three to four hours – My husband and I make a point of eating dinner every night together so we can discuss our day and connect. At weekends, we explore the island and get outside. Exercise – 30 minutes, two to three times per week (this should be more)

JM- Element by Westin Bali Ubud

I spend five days a week working and two days a week is “me time”. I used to plan a short holiday every three months and a longer one every six months. Since I have lived in Bali, I can plan two days off every week for short holidays to enjoy the whole island with my hobbies and interests.

How do you practice your stress management skills?

LL- The Laguna, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa

I find this career very enjoyable. I have been able to maintain a balance between building a career that is rewarding, as well as spending quality time with family and with my personal interests. Going to explore new places, trying some new restaurants in town, and going out with good friends are some of the best ways to release stress.

LW- Fairfield by Marriott Bali Legian

To share with someone that you trust except confidential thing, or just call my mum and my sons to talk about something else that will make me happy. After that I feel relieved and continue with my work, and watch TV at night.

What do you think companies can do better to help prevent and treat employees struggling with breast cancer?

MB- Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort

According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the top cancer in women globally.

Providing breast health education is vital to ensure early detection and treatment. It is important to share information with associates about self-examination, regular checks as part of your wellness examinations, and mammograms for women at or above the age of 40. Breast cancer is rare in men and often overlooked. Men need to be included in this conversation so they are aware of the possibility and risks. It is important for leaders to support associates going through treatment and be understanding of their needs. Organizations can help with sensitivity training and helping them to understand the associates’ needs and mindset during such a difficult time.

LW- Fairfield by Marriott Bali Legian

To prevent it, companies can conduct a regular seminar or invite speakers to create breast cancer awareness twice a year, and facilitate medical checkups. For treatment, if a company can ensure that medical benefits or medical insurance covers this illness, it is a big help for the employee and their family.

What sort of activities/programs can you do in your hotel to raise breast cancer awareness among guests and staff that is in line with this campaign? For example: provide free Mammograms; invite an oncologist for a seminar; staff noticeboards highlighting regular checks; Breast Cancer awareness month?

LL- The Laguna, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa

We do health seminars at the hotel to raise awareness, and building a healthy lifestyle culture is also very important to support associates’ wellbeing in the organization. Scheduling an annual physical check-up is critical.

At The Laguna Bali Resort, we have a TakeCare program, where each TakeCare champion leads and drives weekly sports-related activities. As leaders, we actively participate in each program to encourage team members to manage their physical and emotional energy better. Our idea is to move more, sleep better, exercise smarter, eat light but often.

JM- Element by Westin Ubud

Provide information about breast cancer awareness, such as pamphlets, and brochures. Conduct a group presentation on breast cancer, working with local doctors and clinics. Working with a dedicated clinic for Mammograms. And prepare and wear a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon.

Editor’s note: Stay tuned for more questions about Breast Cancer Awareness with more General Managers!