From Dehradun to Dubai: Ms. Vandana Joshi Bhatt

Ms. Subhra Banerjee
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From Dehradun to Dubai: Ms. Vandana Joshi Bhatt

I saw her work as the Co founder of Hozpitality Group. I won an award in their second Indian Hospitality Excellence Award, it was held online as we were just stepping out of the pandemic. Before that, I had read some of her articles and snippets from her book, and I really admired her. We connected on social media, and it gave me a peek into her life and work. I found that we both come from Uttarakhand, creating a special connection because it’s the land my parents are from, even though I haven’t lived there myself.

Here’s a dynamic lady whose journey started from a science enthusiast in Dehradun to the Co-founder and Managing Director of company in Dubai showcases resilience and adaptability. Despite initial aspirations of becoming a doctor, life led her to the hospitality industry, where she found her true calling. With a unique blend of roles as a Recruitment Consultant, Executive Search expert, and Chief Editor, she has left an indelible mark on the industry. Beyond her professional pursuits, she’s also a published author, adding creativity to her repertoire. Through challenges and triumphs, she continues to inspire, emphasising the importance of balance, continuous learning, and the pursuit of passion in both personal and professional spheres. In conversation with Ms. Vandana Joshi Bhatt, Managing Director, Hozpitality Group.

IWH:  Tell us something about you, your growing up years, life through school, college etc.

Vandana: Growing up, I was always happy, energetic, and liked to compete. I went to a girls-only school in Dehradun where they taught in Hindi, and I was good at science. I wanted to be a doctor, so I took extra classes and tried hard in exams. But I didn’t pass the test. I ended up finishing my studies in science.

Later, I made friends who wanted to join the Army. Dehradun has the Indian Military Academy and many army training centers. Two friends joined the Army, and one married an army officer. Even though I still had that strong feeling, I wondered if the Army was the right career for me.

There weren’t many job options in Dehradun then, and many people were moving to Delhi to work in big companies. I decided to take a PR and Marketing course in Dehradun and joined MCA. In the year after college, I was busy attending MCA classes, taking the PR and Marketing course, teaching at a private school, and giving private tuition at home.

While I was still unsure about what I wanted to do for a career, something unexpected happened. At 21, I got married and moved to Africa with my husband.

IWH:  What made you select Hospitality as a career? Was it easy to make that decision?

Vandana: When my husband suggested I join him in the company in Dubai, working as a Recruitment consultant/partner, I didn’t know a thing about the hospitality industry. He became my teacher, showing me the ropes and explaining the different departments, roles, and everything else I needed to know. Surprisingly, nobody could tell that I hadn’t studied Hospitality. Some even thought I was just a junior at his college.

I fell in love with the work and still do. Being part of the hospitality industry is incredibly fulfilling. People in this industry are often born with a special kind of DNA. There’s so much passion, commitment, and dedication here, and I embrace every aspect.

Over the years, we’ve tailored our initiatives around the hospitality sector. Today, we celebrate individuals on a big stage for their hard work and dedication to their roles and companies. They truly deserve the recognition.

IWH:  What is your current role?

Vandana: In my current position as the Co-founder and Managing Director at Hozpitality Group, my responsibilities cover a wide range of areas. I lead the training of new employees in sales, PR & Marketing, and Content Creation and oversee Hozpitality’s Best 30 Powerlist and Magazine. Additionally, I’m involved in Executive Search activities. Adding a touch of modern outreach, I create TikTok videos to guide candidates with interview tips and keep them informed about the latest job vacancies. This allows me to connect with a broader audience and contribute to the professional development of individuals in an innovative and accessible way.

Beyond my role in the hospitality industry, I am also an author. I published two books in 2023: “Hamlet in the Himalayas” and “The Prophecy Paradox.” It’s been a rewarding journey wearing multiple hats and contributing to both the professional and creative spheres.

Starting my hospitality journey in 2007 has been incredibly fulfilling and enriching. The satisfaction that comes from giving back to the community is beyond words. One of the highlights of this journey is the chance to meet and connect with people who share similar passions from all corners of the globe through events, exhibitions, and our websites.

Yet, it’s essential to acknowledge the challenges. The hospitality industry is vast and dynamic, presenting ongoing efforts as we aim to expand our reach and build the largest hospitality community in the world.

IWH:  Who has been your mentor or a role model? In what way has that person helped you?

Vandana: My husband, my business partner, was crucial in helping me grasp the industry dynamics, contributing significantly to my understanding. I strongly believe in the value of continuous learning. I’m a firm believer in the value of constant learning. However, now that I’ve soaked up so much knowledge, I constantly bombard him with educational sessions, which may be a tad annoying for him.

IWH:  What have been the high points of your career/ life? Highlight at least 3.

Vandana: Starting my career as an Executive Search Consultant was empowering, laying the foundation for my professional journey. As we launched various segments, beginning with, followed by the Hospitality Excellence Awards, and later taking on the role of Chief Editor for Hozpitality’s 30 Magazine and Powerlists, each step added layers to my experience and expertise in the industry.

IWH:  What challenges have you faced as a woman in the industry? How did you deal with them?

Vandana: Navigating the hospitality industry as a woman can be challenging, especially when engaging new clients. Despite being a business owner, I often felt underestimated because of my gender. Balancing work responsibilities with household and childcare duties adds another layer of challenge. However, I strive to juggle both aspects of my life, ensuring my career thrives and my kids are well cared for. Achieving a healthy work-life balance is crucial for everyone, regardless of gender. Ultimately, we all aspire for our children to become valuable societal contributors.

IWH:  If there was anything that you could change about your life or career, what would it be?

Vandana: I embrace my journey without wanting to change a thing, but I’m eager to keep learning and adapting as I grow. In today’s world, an idle mind can lead to feelings of depression, so I make sure to keep myself busy. It might sound amusing, but at 42, I took swimming lessons for the first time to conquer my fear of water. It’s always possible to pick up new skills and face fears head-on.

IWH:  What do you think of IWH?

Vandana: Encouraging women to support each other and cultivate strong connections in business mirrors the solidarity and mutual support seen in traditional home settings. Initiatives like IWH are essential, empowering women globally and encouraging them to take bold leaps.

As for advice to young professionals and students: cherish your youth as it’s a time that won’t come back. Enjoy it to the fullest, but let it be a part, not the entirety, of your life. Strive for balance, aiming for a fulfilling career, strong family ties, meaningful friendships, engaging hobbies, and enjoyable entertainment. Recognize that one lifetime is not enough to learn everything, so seize the best opportunities wherever you find them. Keep learning, and use that knowledge to your advantage.

IWH:  Anything else you wish to share with our readers?

Vandana: The key is to pursue what brings you joy and dedicate yourself to it with hard work. Whether in business or a job, the formula for success remains consistent – focus, dedication, passion, and effort. When you genuinely love what you do and put in the effort, success and financial rewards are likely to follow.

It was truly wonderful connecting with Ms. Vandana Joshi Bhatt and learning more about her incredible journey.

Dr. Laxmi Todiwan
Dr. Laxmi Todiwan
Founder Indian Women in Hospitality. She is a Professor, Corporate Trainer, Motivational Speaker and a Blogger. A multiple award winning hospitality professional with a career spanning over two decades; people engagement, training and development are close to her heart. She writes for hospitality journals, online platforms and columns in the local newspapers. Married to a Master Mariner she loves to write on the maritime industry as well as the lives and relationships of the fraternity. She expresses her thoughts on her blog and website,

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