#044 – Hospitality Meets Kellie Rixon – The Trade Body Chair

I really am a lucky pup. There’s so many stories of the different people and roles in hospitality that it will take several lifetimes to tell them all.

Today’s guests is an absolute cracker.

I got some time with the inspirational beacon of positivity that is Kellie Rixon, Founder of Rixon Associates (http://rixonassociates.com) and the new Chair of the Institute of Hospitality (https://www.instituteofhospitality.org), the professional body for the Hospitality industry.

As always, we get through so much including receiving an MBE, humour, endorphins, being the clever one, making a nuisance of yourself with the council, holiday parks, cleaning buses, change, uncovering talent, overcoming extreme adversity, IOH, debating, Everton v Liverpool, being busy and of course Kellie’s incredible career story.

It’s full of energy and passion and really should not be missed.


Show Transcription


Kellie Rixon, Phil Street

Phil Street 00:01

Welcome to hospitality meets with me Phil Street where we take a light hearted look into the stories and individuals that make up the wonderful world of hospitality. Today’s guest is the amazing Kellie Rixon, founder of exit associates and the new chair of the Institute of Hospitality. Coming up on today’s show… Kelly demonstrates that every day brings its own surprises…

Kellie Rixon 00:22

And as I’m talking 2 armed police guys just walk in the back of the room, walk over to one of the guys tap him on the shoulder, he walks up, stands up and walks back out with them.

Phil Street 00:32

Phil unconvincingly tries to rescue this statement… I’m always off, trying new stuff, and… all of it legal. And we learn that it really is amazing what you can find in a dumbwaiter…

Kellie Rixon 00:44

Opening the dumb waiter one day to find one of the KPs sitting in there and his underpants…

Phil Street 00:48

All that and a whole lot more as Kelly talks us through her incredible journey so far, which includes an amazing story of overcoming extreme adversity. Kelly talks with such energy and positivity throughout, it really is a story not to be missed. Don’t forget, we launch a brand new episode each week telling the amazing and always amusing stories from hospitality. So make sure you hit that subscribe button and give us a like and share across your networks. Enjoy. Hello, and welcome to the next edition of hospitality meets with me Phil Street. Today, I’m super excited to welcome to the show the recently elected Chair of the Institute of hospitality and founder of Rixon Associates, That is none other than Kellie Rixon. MBE.

Kellie Rixon 01:28

Hi Phil

Phil Street 01:30

How you doing?

Kellie Rixon 01:30

I’m good, I like the pause before the MBE to just add some gravitas there. Thank you so much.

Phil Street 01:36

Absolutely. I was trying to accentuate it so that we can make it a discussion point, which I’m sure we will. But well, actually, let’s just go straight into that. What What did you get the MBE for?

Kellie Rixon 01:46

I’m proud to say it was for services to hospitality. So yeah, it is something that has kind of really kind of made a difference in my life in terms of my pride in my work. It was a great moment, and it’s kind of still is great to talk about it.

Phil Street 02:04

Yeah, absolutely. And is it true that Prince Charles commented on how nice your dress was?

Kellie Rixon 02:10

He actually did. And he also told me his opening line to me was “Thank God you’re here. It’s been incredibly dull so far”. I thought that was great. I thought it was kind of bringing the party to the palace.

Phil Street 02:23

Yeah, brilliant. Great stuff. We’ll get into that in a little bit more depth as we as we go on. But how are you anyway?

Kellie Rixon 02:31

Yeah, I’m really well, thank you for asking in a locked up Liverpool at the moment with the world going mad around us. But thankfully, all well. And yeah, fighting through it.

Phil Street 02:42

Yeah. Which tier Are you in?

Kellie Rixon 02:44

Where we are the only one in tier three at the moment. So I’m here at being a really competitive person. I like to be, you know, the best I possibly can. So if there’s a worst category, that’s best, that’s what we’re in. So I still, somehow I’m taking some sort of sense of achievement in being in the worst group. But we’re doing our best.

Phil Street 03:05

There’s always little moments of positivity in the face of adversity. Or I certainly look for humour at times of adversity. Yesterday, I saw a post somewhere, which I did share because it just caught, it gave me an lol moment, which was how people are starting emails now. Which was something like Hi, Phil, I hope you’re staying positive and testing negative

Kellie Rixon 03:33

(Laughs) you see there you go, humour in Liverpool. It’s literally bread and butter. It’s ah humour plays such an important part in my life. I think it’s such a critical kind of thing to use it in both kind of my daily life but just in the people I like to surround myself with. Yeah, there’s no no way round a really good laugh.

Phil Street 03:55

Yeah, I just think it’s one of the greatest tonics for life. Really. It’s there’s there’s a science behind it isn’t there about your what it releases within you in terms of stress relief and positive chemicals, whatever they’re called?

Kellie Rixon 04:10


Phil Street 04:11

That’s the one that’s the one yeah.

Kellie Rixon 04:13

This just is so much good. I mean, I was talking about this the other day. I somebody posted you know, the old sketch the Morcambe & Wise breakfast sketch.

Phil Street 04:23


Kellie Rixon 04:24

Somebody posted it and it literally stands up today. I just found myself giggle in a way to it with the oranges and the grapefruits kind of it was just such a fun kind of thing to watch over and over again. But yeah, no, lots of things make me laugh and lots of people make me laugh and it’s it’s definitely part of my life. It’s really important part of my life.

Phil Street 04:45

Yeah, I’m not gonna get too political, but this government is currently making me laugh.

Kellie Rixon 04:52

Well, I think you’re gonna laugh or you’re gonna cry at the moment. And I think that in any situation, we do look for humour, and I think we have To find the humour in it, because, you know, you can’t always change what’s in front of you, but certainly you change your approach.

Phil Street 05:07

No, indeed, I couldn’t agree more. Great. Okay. Well, take us all the way back to the very beginning. And I was gonna say, obviously not birth, but and yeah, talk us through your your life and journey so far.

Kellie Rixon 05:21

Well, I, you know, I could go back to birth because, you know, I was born in the house that my mom and dad still live in. So, county council estate in Liverpool and they still live in the same house today. So I think what you’d call it now is probably an area of regeneration is probably the kind of politically acceptable phrase but yeah, counsellor state was when I was I was there in growing up. But yet, you know, really happy kind of life growing up in terms of, you know, we didn’t have much but I’m one of five children. So lots of people around me there was always kind of quite a social circle and friends, but you know, we we talk about humour growing up with with four brothers and sisters. There’s definitely banter. And, yeah, there’s definitely fun in there too.

Phil Street 06:13

Where were you in the pecking order?

Kellie Rixon 06:15

So I was the baby until my baby sister turned up about eight years later. I never really forgave her for it if I’m honest. So, yeah, no, she’s she came along, and I didn’t don’t think I really kind of warmed up to her for a couple of years. And you know, I’m not gonna lie to you yet. She wasn’t the prettiest baby and she turned into the most beautiful woman. So I thought I was okay, because she was going to grow up and she wasn’t going to be beautiful. And she turned beautiful. So now I have I have two sisters. One’s incredibly beautiful. And ones include incredibly glamorous, and and my mom suggests that one is, you know, beautiful. One’s glamorous. And I’m the clever one. Which is just family like my mom. Yeah, and then it’s not good. Is it really

Phil Street 07:01

We can always rely on on mum’s for a bit of cold hard honestly.

Kellie Rixon 07:06

It’s It’s fine. You know, if you want to know about being kind of smart or stylish or glamorous you go to the to, but if you want somebody to ring the council and complain about your bins been emptied, and you’re mad. And then I’ve got two brothers as well. So yeah, it’s it was a phone house. It was, it was definitely no easy. It definitely made you a bit competitive to fight for your space. And, but I’m still incredibly close to my family. So yeah, it’s really important to me.

Phil Street 07:35

Yeah, got you. So that was that was your childhood.

Kellie Rixon 07:38


Phil Street 07:39

In one and a half minutes. Obviously, that is important, but it’s not important today. Let’s, let’s move to Oh, well, let’s just carry on actually, how was how was your schooling?

Kellie Rixon 07:50

Yeah, I love school. I was in a strange situation it looking back. It wasn’t the best school in the world. But I really enjoyed it. And I found drama quite early on. So loved kind of getting involved in school productions and things like that. And

Phil Street 08:05

Okay, so it wasn’t that you, you sought out drama, as in I need drama in my life. And I need to call the council again about these bloody bins

Kellie Rixon 08:16

It does stand you in good stead for being able to debate and being confident enough to hold out your own in an argument. So no, I loved it. I you know, love drama, was quite academically minded. So it was comfortable in school really enjoyed my time. Yeah, my dad was a milkman. So I had, I used to go round on the milk round with him before school and collecting at night. And yeah, we all worked hard. So it was a good balance between, you know, a great fun family life and a really, some work ethic quite early on. Yeah, we all have to earn our way.

Phil Street 08:52

Yeah. Well, that’s a good life lesson to learn early, isn’t it?

Kellie Rixon 08:56

Yeah, yeah, definitely. Didn’t, you know, I didn’t see any difference in working at 14, you know, my first kind of my first step into hospitality was working in a pub at 14, right. I, you know, I could lie and say, I was blast collecting or waiting on but I was actually behind the bar. And so, at 14 in some rave club in Liverpool, so I earned my stripes, early doors, I would suggest, you know, I’ve pretty much done virtually every role in hospitality, I would suggest, and I definitely didn’t start at the top. But no, it was, you know, I worked in bars and restaurants whilst at school, you know, paid my contribution in terms of into the house and things like that. So, yeah, worked hard and knew it was probably going to be part of my life forever.

Phil Street 09:49

So you had that immediate affinity with it?

Kellie Rixon 09:53

Yeah, you know, it’s it’s a place where you, especially when you you’ll use phone there. was great money. And if you are good at it, it was lucrative, you know, you could make great tips, you made a decent salary, but you could transfer the skills as well. So there was a new bar open and open, it was shiny and new. And you had experience it was valuable there was there was a value to it. So no, it was an I didn’t, I wasn’t fed this idea that hospitality is some sort of second choice. My family have always been hugely supportive of what I do in that respect. So that’s really, really, really critical. Now, the amount of parents that think hospitality is in some way, a second choice or, you know, the last choice is just it’s it’s a bit bonkers when you look at the opportunity there

Phil Street 10:42

Ah for sure. I mean, we talk about this openly on on this show about the fact that it really can take you off in so many different directions. And you’re there, there’s millions of ways to get to the top in this industry.

Kellie Rixon 10:59

Yeah. And the journey is fun to know, I think I think we forget that, whilst we’re working. It’s hard work. You know, it’s a big commitment. It’s long hours. Invariably, it’s not always great jobs. But there’s, you know, we come back to that idea of fun funds really important and in hospitality. And, you know, we have more than our fair share of fun. And there’s there’s those stories that you even today reflect back on and still giggle to yourself, the stuff you got up to when you were young and foolish.

Phil Street 11:31

Yes. And did well, I’m sure we’ll, we might come back to that.

Kellie Rixon 11:37

The names may be changed, Phil, just to protect the innocent?

Phil Street 11:43

Absolutely. Great stuff. Okay. So it started life in bars

Kellie Rixon 11:47


Phil Street 11:47

And how did you how did you then progress?

Kellie Rixon 11:50

Well, I went after school, I went to drama school. So I was working my way through college, if you like, but it was a drama school. So I got a scholarship to go, which was really funny. In the time in Liverpool, they didn’t really or they weren’t supporting the arts. And I was desperate to go to drama school. But the only drama school in Liverpool was a private school with school fees and things like that. And obviously, coming from the kind of background I did, we couldn’t afford to pay them. And then somebody will tell me that the council give grants out, you know, education and, and they’ll pay school fees. So I went and applied for a grant or I went to apply for a grant at the Council building, right? where I was, I was promptly told that they’re not supporting the arts at that time, but it was it was it in engineering that they were supporting. And I was like, No, I want to go to drama school. And this went on for some time. So I just kept asking, and they kept telling me No, but you know, even at that age, I kind of felt no is just a starting point for negotiation. Really, right. So I kept going back kept going back and I think eventually to pacify me, they they set up a I’m going to use the term audition really loosely. audition for a grant because as it transpired, they didn’t really have anyone looking at at the arts at the time. So my audition took place in a school on a Saturday morning with two town planners in really ill fitting suits

Phil Street 13:24

geared and know what they’re talking about.

Kellie Rixon 13:27

Yeah, so they the two of them, they clearly upset somebody or there’s some sort of pennants they’ve been there over time this week was to sit in some school and watch some crazy teenager jump about and do a soliloquy from licenced strata and then do a dance number it must looking back It must have been bonkers. But bless them they must have had some sway because somehow I managed to get the scholarship and and my school fees were paid to go to drama school for two years so right you know again, just I’ll have a go I’ll we’ll make it happen make it work. So I love drama school thought it was brilliant. Got an opportunity to go to work for Bourne leisure, British holidays in a summer job. And my intention was just to go away into the summer season in the entertainments team and being a red coat basically, and I went away to do I think it was a 12 week season and I never came back home again. So that’s when my love of hospitality really took off. So holiday parks is where it really started for me.

Phil Street 14:37

You know, same for me. I started as a bartender in Haggerston castle Holiday Park,

Kellie Rixon 14:43

There you go same company.

Phil Street 14:45

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely nuts. So actually, you mentioned tips. I remember. I didn’t stay there very long because I had lofty ideas about travelling the world and I got a job on a cruise ship in the end and that was me off but the end short time that I was there, they did. The kind of promoted me unofficially into the owners bar, as they called it

Kellie Rixon 15:06


Phil Street 15:07

Which was a lot of fun because you were seeing the same people all the time, you could build relationships with people. And I remember doing New Year’s Eve there, one year would have been probably 1999, I think. And they’re just all the owners just every single round said, Have one yourself when I was obviously on duty. And I would say, well I’m on duty, I’m not gonna have a drink, but I’ll take a pound and I’ll have a half after work. Well, I could have had 250 halfs. By the by the end of the evening, talk about tips that night itself 250 quid in tips, let alone the salary, which was double time as well. It was a very nice night.

Kellie Rixon 15:48

It’s great. And, you know, the stories are fantastic that you know, I look back on my time that I went to Hopton holiday village right. Often it was on the East Coast, close to Great Yarmouth. And it was just literally almost from the day I arrived. I mean, the journey there Phil was hysterical as well. So I just, I’m definitely a half ago kind of girl so I get this job. I do an audition and I get this job to go and work. I hopped in holiday village and great went on to start or can you go tomorrow? Yes, absolutely. So I go and I bought my national Express coach ticket to go to Hopton holiday village and I get on and to go from Liverpool to Great Yarmouth took 12 and a half hours. Right? Because at one point, at one point, we were like seven miles from London or something. So it literally went everywhere in my use of naivety. And you know, it was early 90s. I figured the best thing to wear to turn up at my first day was some great white jeans and a white denim jacket. Not really working out that 12 and a half hours on a national Express coach would not really do me a great service of white denim. But I wore it anyway so that the bus pulls off in Great Yarmouth, that nine o’clock at night or something and I’m like, Okay, can you just point me in the direction I hopped in holiday village and the guy who’s driving the bus just looked at me Wentworth, it’s about eight miles down the coast. Crikey. So here I am with very little money at night going right? How do we do it? So he goes, I’ll strike your deal. If you clean the coach. I’ll drop you at Hoxton holiday village, which is what I promptly did in my white denim suit. So when I when I arrived at the camp, everyone was kind of excited to welcome me in and I just cleaned up 54 seater national Express. Yeah, I think

Phil Street 17:47

well, what got what you needed.

Kellie Rixon 17:50

The guy said to me, the minute I saw the national Express coach pulling up to reception, I knew you were going to be a handful. So yeah, absolutely.

Phil Street 17:59

Brilliant. So how long were you there for?

Kellie Rixon 18:03

I worked for that company for about five years. So I ended up being full time employees went to assistant manager entertainments manager, I looked after the recruitment and training of all the entertainment staff on the south coast. So you saw the choreographing the shows and booking all the acts. So it was a fantastic job. And I met my husband there. And it was a great time. He was running the bars at the time. And he ended up being a general manager. And I ended up being head of entertainments for the sites as well. So that was, it was about five years. It was it was fantastic time, and I look back on it fondly. I really do. Yeah.

Phil Street 18:43

And so then how did you make the jump into full on hospitality?

Kellie Rixon 18:49

Well, it was really interesting, because my husband had a pub in his previous role. And we had decided that we wanted to get married and settle down and have children. And the challenge of working at holiday parks is at the end of the season, you’re not moved down the road, you move to the other side of the country. And that’s if you’re successful. So we wanted a bit more control over our life. So he’d had a pop, we thought it might be a good idea. And so we applied to go as a direct entry manager for technical company for a management couple. And we’re really lucky we our first pop together was a half a million pound development of what was having table brand. So family dine in high volume, that sort of kind of operation. Yeah. And it was quite interesting. So we moved into our first kind of site, and he remembered how much he hated it. And I completely fell in love with it. So it was quite funny. It just reminded him why he did he left it originally and I was like why have I never done this before. So We kind of quickly established that it was going to be predominantly me and he would do some of the kind of background stuff and kind of not be front of house as much and, and I just drank it up. So I loved everything about it. I love the front of house. I love working in the kitchen. I love the management of people. I love the customers, the guests, I loved the interaction. So yeah, it quickly became my absolute passion.

Phil Street 20:29

Yeah. How long did you do that for?

Kellie Rixon 20:32

So I run that Pub. And then we moved to and I think I run three or four pubs at that time. So went from one to the other to that, having my children, my two children as I went, and it was fantastic. I absolutely loved it had a big food operations. You know, I had a country pub at one point, I had, you know, some real high volume stuff. And then I would run in a hotel. I was predominately running the hotel in Derby. And it was the kind of training centre for the group, technical company, I think I was marstons at the time. And so I was running the training centre there. And then one day one of the trainers didn’t turn up. And the conference room was out the back and all the delegates have turned up and kind of went how hard can it be really she’d left a note from the day before? Yeah, I’ve been to drama school, I’ll just pretend I’m a trainer

Phil Street 21:27

Yep, that have a go attitude.

Kellie Rixon 21:30

How hard can it be? And then I opened the notes and it was employment law. And I thought, okay, so I had this bunch of tenanted landlords arrive and all sit down. And you know, what I knew about employment, not law I knew as an operator, but I didn’t know anything more. And it was quite funny. So it was every time I got asked a question, I just kind of pushed it back to the group. What is it? You think? Well, I thought frantically through the notes to try and find the answers. But yeah, again, it lit a fuse. For me, it was the best part of what I did in hospitality, it was the best part of of my day job, which was developing my team developing people, or building skills. So I kind of was desperate to do that. And I was really lucky. So my, my boss at the time, offered me the opportunity to come out and be a trainer for the group. And that’s what I did next.

Phil Street 22:24

Yeah. Was that was that you then into the world of training?

Kellie Rixon 22:28

Yeah, it was it was a world of training with a little segue way back into operations. So for as most operators do, if you’re good at something, they generally think you’re good at everything. And if you want something doing give it to a busy person, isn’t that what they said? So whilst I was busy doing part of it, I also ended up managing a region full of Pope’s as well. So whilst I was, you know, training and writing the programmes, and being an l&d advisor, I also had the dual role of an area manager too. So it was it was good, but it was busy. And at the time, I think there was 50 area managers, and just two women, myself and one other woman. So it was quite unusual, but it was again, helped me hone my commercial skills. At that stage, it was very much about driving the bottom line driving the numbers, trying to do it with a way where we can do it in a collaborative way and take the team with us. And, and so I brought my l&d background with me into what was a very commercial, very aggressive, very demanding kind of business. But yeah, I definitely think that was one of the biggest learning points in my career.

Phil Street 23:43

Yeah. Okay. And then you How long were you there for?

Kellie Rixon 23:46

Again, probably about five years. So

Phil Street 23:50

you’re a five year itch kind of person then

Kellie Rixon 23:53

Yeah, well, you got to keep it interesting Phil, for me, you got to keep it interesting and if I’m not being challenged, if they’re, you know, even today, and we’ll talk about what but I, if it stays the same, I’m not your girl, I’m your girl for change. I’m the person that you want in place else to to transition. And for me, when it becomes managing the day job, that’s probably where I’m at my least effective

Phil Street 24:19

Time to hand over

Kellie Rixon 24:20

Absolutely. And go and shake the tree somewhere else. And I think once you understand that about yourself, when you get to know yourself in terms of your practice, it’s just helpful to know the signs that go okay. Yeah, I’m coming to them the end of my time here, you know, unfortunate I’ve never been fired. So I’ve clearly saw that before. It’s, it’s coming over the hill. But no, so I made a slight segue way into retail for a bit. So I thought that I have transferable skills within training and and it clearly was hospitality and retail is so closely kind of linked. Yeah. And I went to work for TK Maxx in the UK. So I joined when they had two stores and left when they had 125. stores?

Phil Street 25:00


Kellie Rixon 25:01

Yeah. But it was it literally three year period it was it was just boom in the UK. And it was really great. But I missed hospitality. I desperately missed hospitality.

Phil Street 25:11

Yeah. It’s funny how many people leave and come back. And I think what we’re, we’re probably about to find out just how many leaving come back around. But everything that’s going on in the world at the moment, but that’s a different story

Kellie Rixon 25:25

It is but it does stick with you. And it is important for people. You know, throughout my career, it’s this transitional approach to hospitality people dip in and dip out and dip out. And when the realisation comes that actually when they’re in it, it’s really good. You know, there’s some real positive points about it. It’s just about remembering. Yes, it’s hard work yet the salary isn’t always brilliant. But actually, there’s so much more than that at stake. Yeah. So no, I loved it. But I wanted I was desperate to get back into hospitality. And that’s when I joined Devere in out of Warrington, yep, it was great brand great business. I loved what I was doing in terms of I was brought on to write all the management development programmes and the whole l&d piece. And I did that and it stopped kind of being delivered as much as it should be. And I couldn’t understand why. And every day I was being asked to write something else, go and write something else, go write something else. And I’m thinking, I keep writing stuff, we keep producing stuff, but I’m not really seeing it land anywhere, right. And then it all became a little clear, because we were in the process of sale. And, and by all accounts, the work that I’ve been producing was, you know, when we looked at the l&d offer, it was wheeled out, I look at all these great programmes that we do, right? And I, I went through a redundancy process at that stage. And I walked in and I said to the person making me redundant, potentially look, I’m going to be the easiest one you’re going to do today, because I’m sick of just doing stuff that doesn’t go anywhere. So listen, just shake my hand and we can call it quits. To which she just laughed and when so you’re the person that’s written this and I was like, Yes, you did you write this? Yes. And it was then I ended up staying on with the business because my job then was to deliver it. So I’ve been designing and creating, I’ve got to deliver and I work with Richard Belleville in at that time, and yeah, he’s he was a very demanding boss. And I learned a lot from him and had a really great time working with him as well.

Phil Street 27:32


Kellie Rixon 27:33

So yeah, it’s a, it was a great company to be at it was a great company,

Phil Street 27:37

You always do learn from from people who are demanding. I think the I mean, obviously, there is a way to be demanding about it. There’s no sense in just being demanding for the sake of it. But if there’s a means to an end, then you know I think that there are a lot of demanding people in in hospitality, but the majority of them are doing it because because they care deeply about what they do.

Kellie Rixon 28:00

Yeah, and they get the best out of you, I’d much rather work for, you know, demanding manager, a demanding boss, because it means that I’m going to have to be at my best. So that competitiveness within me is really kind of it’s it’s irked by that sort of approach. I don’t like people who are mean, I don’t like people who are unfair or unjust. But I like people who demand excellence. And it’s kind of that instilled that in me. Yeah, I want people to bring their A game when I work with them. And you know, throughout my career, I’ve worked for some colourful characters, some very demanding managers, some taught me a lot and actually all taught me a lot, either what I want to take with me or the stuff I definitely don’t ever want to use again. So the worst managers taught me probably as much as the good ones. But I don’t mind working for the tough people out there. I like it. In fact, yeah. So now it was great. I loved it and was given real opportunity to kind of grow and develop and be creative and innovative and things like that. And it was at the time of Devere with the support of Richard Balfour Lynn that I was able to create the Devere Academy of hospitality.

Phil Street 29:17

Right. Okay

Kellie Rixon 29:18

You know

Phil Street 29:18


Kellie Rixon 29:19

It was born out of a bottle of wine.

Phil Street 29:21

But as all the best ideas are right?

Kellie Rixon 29:25

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Phil Street 29:27

Yeah. Well talk us through that. Because I know that that that’s, that’s something that I think a lot of people, certainly I was aware of Devere Academy, probably, I think it would have been about 2014 was the first time that I heard of it, and you guys were doing a lot of great work. So talk us through. I think you were involved a lot, a little bit earlier than that. Obviously not involved, setting it up.

Kellie Rixon 29:53


Phil Street 29:53

So yeah, talk us through what the objective was behind that.

Kellie Rixon 29:57

Well, it was a kind of amalgam of two conversation. So, you know, Richard was committed to making sure that we were doing something in terms of developing and giving back and, and doing something good. But for me, I kind of had an epiphany moment I was in Lausanne in Switzerland recruiting graduates as was our way every year. And whilst there and I’m looking around the room, and they’ve all got amazing Prada handbags and, and fabulous shoes and, and in my head, I was thinking back to that school it on the Saturday morning and me auditioning for a grant. And I kind of had a word with myself that said, Hold on a minute. You’re out here looking for talent, but talent comes from all different places. You know, talent comes from a council estate in Liverpool. And why aren’t we looking there. And I had a conversation with somebody called Jackie Garner, who was absolutely instrumental in the creation of it, she was my l&d manager. And she told me that this was an idea that she’d been working on in terms of trying to get some sort of, you know, school pool together. So the tubers me saying, Let’s go find talent, and Jackie going, Well, this is the practical way of how it could kind of come together. That was the genesis of the idea. And it was, the idea was that we’d go out there and we’d find everyone you spoke to or at the time, everyone you heard talking in hospitality talked about the fact that they either had a tough time in school, or it wasn’t the route for them, or they were on a completely different path. And they weren’t looking at hospitality as an option. So going out there and saying to people, you want to be in hospitality from something like no, not really, our recruitment was an issue, the talent pipeline was slowing down, the chef situation had become really difficult in the industry, but lack of talent. So we kind of figured that what we needed to do is go out there and almost plant the seed of hospitality in people, and then tell them how great it was right? So that the idea was we partnered with a college and the college would pick up the kind of students and manage the kind of pastoral and, and we’d be the kind of industry partner and where we went and pitch to college one and then college two, and then college three, that we want to go into what would probably be described as quite challenging areas with challenging people and people that are potentially not what you’d see as an ideal student. One by one, the colleges said Thanks, but no thanks.

Phil Street 32:34


Kellie Rixon 32:34

This is our curriculum. This is the kind of calibre of student we generally look for. So not for us. So again, the old adage that now is the starting point for negotiation, we kind of went well, if no one else wants to help us. Why don’t we just do it ourselves? Yeah, so the first school was just two rooms in a Devere hotel. We’ve got two conference rooms that weren’t being used. And we basically set up a school using our drawing down funding on our NVQ programme, and we just wanted to do it better than it had been done before. So there was a real sense of getting these young people ready for work, giving them employable skills.

Phil Street 33:14


Kellie Rixon 33:15

And yeah, you know, the first day of recruitment, I remember them, the local community centre or Citizens Advice centre had brought a busload of, they described them as NEETs, which I thought was a derogatory term, not an education, employment or training. I would describe them as colourful characters. Definitely.

Phil Street 33:33


Kellie Rixon 33:34

So this boss turns up with 20 of these young people, which one of them cleaned it? Honest to God, none of them, surprisingly. But they all turn up. They’re all sat there. And I’m getting up there do my schpiel about common working in hospitality now. Great it is and how fantastic it is. And as I’m talking to armed police guys, just walk in the back of the room, walk over to one of the guys tap him on the shoulder, he looks up, stands up and walks back out with them back off and you kind of look around and go, Oh my god, no one tell the boss this app. Please God, don’t tell him further. Yeah, it was it was high octane in terms of high demand in terms of support being there for them. And it worked so beautifully, because we could talk to them as employers, as opposed to having to be an educational, pure educational partner where we just spoke to them as if we were an employer, and it worked. So we had, I think, in total, almost 14,000 young people go through the doors. Of the Devere Academy.

Phil Street 34:37

Wow! My word

Kellie Rixon 34:38

Yeah. We had 12 schools across the UK and two and a half thousand on programme at any given time. And we had a 73% access into work rate as well. So we’re basically placing this talent into the industry. We’ve got a great alumni now. So we’ve got people all over the world who are graduates of the academy and Every now and then I’ll either see somebody or I’ll get an email from somebody that says, I’ve got my start there. And it’s just, it’s still to this day gives me the biggest sense of achievement.

Phil Street 35:11

Yeah. But, 14,000 people, that’s just incredible 14,000 people that wouldn’t have necessarily had that opportunity had that not been open to them. That’s, that’s to be applauded. For sure.

Kellie Rixon 35:26

It was a great initiative. And you know, what, I have still been doing it today. Yes, probably some version of it. But at that point in my life, my life took a dramatic change. So

Phil Street 35:39


Kellie Rixon 35:39

We, yeah, my life changed direction completely about 2012. So it made for a life altering decision at that point.

Phil Street 35:49

Right. Are you happy to talk about what happened?

Kellie Rixon 35:51

Yeah, yeah, no, I’m happy to talk about it. It’s, um, we were involved in driving back from my mother in law’s funeral. My husband stayed behind to lock up the house and take care of kind of all the necessary arrangements and that side, and myself and my two sons were driving home. And we were involved in a hit and run accident. So we we work, man, we’ve run off the road, we went down a bank, and we came to a standstill, and for a moment we were safe. And then the absolute horror and realisation that we’d actually come to a stop on a railway line. And my God just just says there. Yeah, I I 34 million pound track lane train was passing. So our car was hit by a train and choose yet. It just, it devastated our life, really. So it changed everything about my life. And my eldest son, miraculously walked away without a scratch. And you know, I had amazingly minor injuries. And my youngest son Harry, who was asleep in the back, he was 12, at the time, sustained a traumatic brain injury, just catastrophic injuries in this country at that time. So, yeah, we were airlifted out to hospital. We spent well, he spent four months in a coma in intensive care, and then began a slow week. So we didn’t get out of the hospital for about, I think we were in hospital for almost nine months from that night. And, you know, at the time, we were told the before you have has on and you know, if he survives, we don’t expect kind of much in terms of quality of life moving forward and ventilated. He was pegged fed a whole factory reset. So he, the expectations were low. And, again, no is a starting point for negotiation. She says for the third time, yeah, we don’t work with limiting language just because people tell you you can’t It doesn’t mean to say that their view, it’s not yours. So everything I’d learned as a person up until that point in work and in life, I just kind of internalised and worked with my boy, but he did all the hard work. He put all the time and effort in he is literally the strongest, bravest person I’ve ever met. And he, you know, spent many years in a wheelchair but he now is up and walk in, walk in 10 k a day. While he does stand up paddleboard and he does rock climbing. He is into extreme sports and terrifying his mom. Mostly, really, anything that makes him terrified. He loves it. So he’s left with challenges. You know, he doesn’t, he lost his voice in the accident. And so, but we make it work and he makes it work. And he is joyous and miraculous and amazing and has taught me so much about me, and what I want to do. So yeah, it changed. It changed our life. It changed everything about who we are, and he’s our boy still, you know, the just the trajectory of his life is in a different direction. He’s no less. We’re no less ambitious for our son. We’re no less proud of our son. We’re no less, you know, levar soon. It’s just the the races different back. Just a different race. So it changed everything. At that time, then you kind of want you’re starting to come to terms with it. What do you do? Do I walk away from life in terms of my career? And for a time, that was a decision? You know, do I do it? I played about with, potentially with opening a restaurant, but quite a time on successfully because I was just probably not in the right space. And I think it led me to be where I am today, which was about founding my own company. In the first instance, it was about flexibility and being able to work when I need to and not work when I needed to. Really quickly, it became the absolute answer. I didn’t want to waste a minute of my life felt doing anything I didn’t enjoy anymore.

Phil Street 40:46


Kellie Rixon 40:46

Because I knew how precious life was. And so for me, I didn’t want to do another auto enrolment for pensions, as long as I live. I didn’t really want to spend my time doing what would be classic HR stuff anymore. And so I said, What is it I love doing what am I’m passionate about. And it is about culture, it’s about in, it’s about engagement, it’s about developing people and getting them to come on that journey with you. And so that’s kind of where I wanted to focus. And it’s been amazing, it’s been the best thing I could have done. So Rick’s associates just does exactly that. We help organisations move and transition through change

Phil Street 41:32


Kellie Rixon 41:33

And we help them do that through their people. So pull programmes engagement programmes, articulating the new future mission, vision and values, all that sort of great stuff. And I love it. And it feeds my passion for change and not standing still in it. It kind of feels like it’s brought me full circle to the person and to the place in terms of where I always should have been. And right helping do that. So yeah, that’s what I’ve done for the last six years now.

Phil Street 42:03

So out of adversity, you kind of got the the adversity actually took you to where you needed to be

Kellie Rixon 42:11

You know what there’s, there’s a strange, strange way of getting to a destination. And it is known as a straight line. And sometimes the details are actually fundamental in the destination.

Phil Street 42:23


Kellie Rixon 42:24

And I think that’s what I’ve learned over it, you know, there’s not so much of a linear path as different ways I look at it with my boy, you know, he can’t do everything that she says in inverted commas a normal person can do. But somehow he manages to do exactly what he wants to do. And it might be slightly different. It might be a sort of slightly different direction, but he is, you know, a product of his tenacity and his will and his hard work. And I love that. I love that sentiment.

Phil Street 42:55

Yeah, well, he’s clearly his mother’s son, but for sure, there’s a little bit of tenacity in you, I’m beginning to feel

Kellie Rixon 43:02

I wish I wish I was half as strong as he is. He’s so great. My eldest son as well, my eldest son is a you know, he gets overlooked in this story quite a lot. And he’s such a legend. He’s such a legend. He has coped with it all and managed to excel excelled at GCSE excelled a level went and did a, you know, a degree for music production and managed to get a first whilst all this was going on. So he’s just been, you know, a spectacular source of comfort and support for me too. So, I am very blessed to have my two boys very blessed Indeed.

Phil Street 43:43

Brilliant. No, that’s, that’s wonderful. And I really, really appreciate you sharing that in such intimate detail. Massive thanks for that. So let’s talk. Rixon Associates. What type of companies do you actually do you work with?

Kellie Rixon 44:00

Hospitality companies, anything from chains, pub, and restaurants, or small hotel groups, at large hotel groups, right across the piece, large restaurant groups. It’s been a really diverse population of people who work with open till Well, still we only work by referral. So we don’t actively promote we don’t go out there. I didn’t even have a website until about two months ago, right when ever just shot and it was literally with move into the IOH that people went people want to know what you do. I’d like the I like the anonymity of being a referral only business. So when I looked at and took on the chair will I’m sure we’ll talk about that next. But it literally was just for the purposes of people go, who they have somewhere to go. We’ve, you know, we’ve only ever work by referral, which is great. So if anyone approaches me to work with them, I simply give them a contact list of people I’ve worked with in the past and just go ring any of them speak to them.

Phil Street 45:00


Kellie Rixon 45:01

it’s a much easier sell. So it means we manage our workload.

Phil Street 45:05

But that’s always the way, isn’t it? It’s much better to get somebody else to tell other people how good you are, rather than you try and do it yourself.

Kellie Rixon 45:12

Yeah, I, it’s not really, I don’t really want to go out there and say, I don’t really I do this night, it’s just it’s a bit, I’d rather just go just pick up the phone, I’m not everybody’s cup of tea. You know, I’m, when I generally get involved, it’s about change. And change isn’t always easy. Yeah. And helping people navigate through change is quite a challenge. Because the emotional response to change can be quite extreme. So I’m not always the most popular person. But ultimately, I will help businesses get to that end goal. So yeah, and for me, that was the whole opportunity at the IO H, I’ve been a member of the IO h for 10 years, I was, you know, a fellow in 2012. So I’ve been part of it as an organisation for many, many years, but never really felt emotionally connected to it wasn’t really invested in it. And, and didn’t really see if I’m being honest at that time, at all, for a long time, the value, I think, for me, it was one of them things where you go, actually, it’s just what you do, you know, when you’ve been around a long time, and you’re, you know, you made a fellow, then that’s what you do, it’s your bit back to the industry. So I did that. And I was a fellow for many years without being a very active fellow. And then a couple of years ago, about 18 months ago, I had a discussion with somebody, I went to one of the fellows dinners, and had ended up having a bit of a debate with the my table around why don’t really do anything, and not really engaged and, you know, a few home truths were shared across the table, and I kind of have to have a word of myself again, go in, don’t complain about something. If you want change, Kelly, help change, you know, help support that change, get involved, don’t stand on the side lines pointing saying that’s not for me. So when I had some conversations, and I was very lucky to be invited to join the supervisory board about a year ago, which I did, and again, you know, an active part of it, but really not driving any change. Being a supervisory board member is about helping facilitate it, but not driving that kind of strategic plan. But I loved working with Robin Shepard, he’s an absolute legend. And he is he’s fantastic. And so love being part of that team. And when he decided to step down as chair of the hospitality Institute, hospitality, I toyed with the idea of throw my hat in the ring. And again, same conversation takes place, which is if you really want change, if you feel changes necessary, then, you know, Be the change you want to see, but drive that change to take your place, you know, take take the chair. So I put my my application in. And I’m really, really surprised, but absolutely delighted to be elected as the new chair on the 10th of September.

Phil Street 48:10

Yeah. Well, that is brilliant. And it’s a bit of a, I suppose a success story in itself as well. Because if I’m right, are you the first female chair?

Kellie Rixon 48:20

I believe so. I’m not sure. But I believe so. So it said, the interesting thing is, well, yesterday, we had a conference call yesterday with all the regional chairs of our committees, and there was 15 people on the call. And yesterday, somebody just commented, and it made us realise there was eight women, brilliant women outnumber the men in an institute of hospitality call, which just we all kind of went. That’s not bad, is it?

Phil Street 48:49


Kellie Rixon 48:50

So it was a it was definitely not the perception I had beforehand. And it’s definitely not. And yeah, we are changing, we are looking at being more inclusive and more diverse, and making sure that people feel represented. And that doesn’t happen overnight. But you know, for me having a really clear strategic plan, engaging everybody within that plan, you know, getting devolving some of that responsibility to the regional committees to get them really bought into it. And then looking at how we can really engage across the whole pieces is, is the way to evoke this change that we need. I think certainly because of the circumstances we find ourselves in how,

Phil Street 49:32

Yeah, what sorry, what do you mean, there’s no, nothing going on right now?

Kellie Rixon 49:37

No, not at all. You know, it’s really interesting. Some of the clients I work with, you know, everybody has been affected. Everybody has been some have been decimated through no fault of their own. But lots of conversations I’ve had either with clients or you know, with my time at the IO h as well as a lot of those conversations should have taken someplace beforehand. Yeah. You know, when we’ve been doing things like evaluating structure, and we’ve gone Okay, does that really work? Lots of the conversation was, well, we could take out this, this, this and this, we go, Well, why have we never done that before. And it’s just that almost that burning platform of change that we’re just going to set fire to that kind of what’s underneath as the ground is, is no longer stable. So we have to be innovative, we have to be creative. We have to be resourceful. And it makes you be really critical with what’s important and how to protect what’s really important.

Phil Street 50:37

Yeah, no doubt. I mean, it’s the the reset button is being pressed right in front of our eyes. That’s, and you know, with that, it doesn’t feel like it No, but comes amazing opportunity to reset in the right way. And I actually had somebody talk about Trump in this way. Can you believe that? Now, bear with me. The It was a chap who’s a black fella who did a documentary and he basically goes out and befriends Klu Klux Klan members, and tries to understand why they feel the way that they feel and all of that, so rather than just being critical, wants to shut understand and then maybe try and affect their thinking. And he was asked a question, I think it was actually on Russell Howard’s our plug for that show. He was asked, What do you think of the Trump situation? And he said, Trump is like, somebody, you’ve just had a broken leg. And Trump has basically, that broken leg fracturing politics, because it was, well, it was already broken. And he’s kind of the reset on it. And actually, I’d never viewed that way. Obviously, there’s other elements to Trump that are just completely disgusting. But it’s actually, there’s always a way you can look at things in I suppose, a more enlightened look. And that comment came from a guy who’d just had a life of adversity because of race.

Kellie Rixon 52:07

Yeah, I totally, I totally understand, you know, what, that what’s the phrase first understand, then to be understood?

Phil Street 52:15


Kellie Rixon 52:15

You’ve gotta understand the situation. But sometimes, you know, no one wants a factory reset, I described what happened to my boys a factory reset, you know, it’s going right the way back to the fundamentals. But in business, what happens is it does create it, you know, it is the catalyst of change. It is the catalyst of invention, it is the catalyst for creativity and entrepreneurship, and, you know, being more, you know, dynamic, and you’re thinking because you have to. So, you know, for whatever Trump brings to the world, and I’m definitely not one to comment on that. It will bring change, which is always going to be an opportunity to debate and moves us forward.

Phil Street 53:03

Yeah. And I think that the key thing on the debate then is, is that it’s, it’s measured. And, you know, that’s not shouty. And not, I mean, that you can then look at the, the recent presidential debate, if you want to even call it that was just an absolute shambles, and, and how not to debate

Kellie Rixon 53:24

You know, as a mom of two two boys, I’ve been trying to raise men for the last 20 years. If either of them behaved in that way, I’d say I would have failed as a mother. So it’s quite funny the balance in terms of you know, we’ve got to look to the this next generation coming through, yeah, to do better. The nurse, you know, I’m educated by my smile, dishonour, especially all the time. I’m educated by him. And, you know, we’re growing up in a world which is, is more socially conscious than ever, and we have to understand that and we have to play our part in driving and supporting that change. So yeah, you know, I love it. I raised my my boys to be independent thinkers and independent doers. And long may that kind of continue.

Phil Street 54:19

Yeah, I think that being respectful of other people’s opinions is also a massive part of debate. Yeah. You know, and I definitely think as a society, we’ve lost that. You know, yeah, it’s very divisive notes. Very, you know, my opinion, is the only one that matters, and you’re the rest of you can go swim. That’s kind of how it feels like, obviously, no progress can take place under those circumstances,

Kellie Rixon 54:46

Where it’s just not a level playing field. That is it, you know, anywhere where people feel that their voice doesn’t have the same value, whether it be gender, whether it be, you know, some sort of discriminatory kind of behaviour. It’s fair. I think You know it, I don’t tolerate it, it makes me angry. But we have to do some proactive stuff to change it. We can’t, as I say, stand on the side lines and, and complain, I’m definitely an activist in terms of trying to invent change.

Phil Street 55:15

Yeah, clearly, and I think your point as well about making sure that the next generation have their voice heard. They absolutely, fundamentally need to have their seat at the table.

Kellie Rixon 55:26

Absolutely. You know, we’ve just appointed I hate the phrase young person. This poor but amazing and talented, and full of potential person, and, and now she’s been labelled as a younger person, I’m going to fight against using but for me, we have a demographic of our membership that I felt we felt was underrepresented. And that was an age profile. So for me, we want to make sure that people who are deciding what the industry does what what the institute does, actually is representative of the whole Institute. So yeah, we we’ve just got to make sure that inclusivity is really, really front and centre.

Phil Street 56:09

Yeah, well, I do, I think you’ve definitely set your stall out on that I was lucky enough to watch your kind of meet and greet webinar a couple of weeks ago. And it was very clear to me that there are things that need to be done. But there’s a very clear framework that can make these things happen. And it sounds like change is kind of something that you’re fairly good at.

Kellie Rixon 56:30

I hope so. And for me, it feels like real momentum at the moment. You know, it lots of time changes uncomfortable. But I’m delighted that the response has been so supportive, and I’ve had so many members, so many people reach out to me and gone. And you know, and I’ve said that I’m in, I’m in it, let me let me know what I can do. I’m here. I’m buying it. I’m in. And so this whole sentiment of I’m in a started to kind of build momentum with me. So this is our we’re going to be launching our I’m in campaign very shortly. For the IOH and it doesn’t mean just in Yeah, it means I’m in, I’m invested.

Phil Street 57:13


Kellie Rixon 57:13

I’m involved.

Phil Street 57:14

Well, I’m in

Kellie Rixon 57:16


Phil Street 57:18

I was already convinced. But no, it’s I think that as I said, we’ve got a wonderful opportunity not to be missed, I think. And I think that the key point is collaboration. There’s a lot of people who know a lot of stuff. And let’s work together rather than creating lots of different people trying to do the same thing.

Kellie Rixon 57:43

Yeah, I mean, it we just have to be open, honest and transparent, that we’re all hoping for something positive at the end of it. It’s times like this where we’re collaboration is key. Yeah, you know, what we’re fighting about all which is beyond us all. So we’ve got the strength in numbers there. So now I definitely interest in time, interesting things to do. But I’m definitely up for it. So I believe in my industry. I believe hospitality is full of the most interesting, resilient, tenacious, colourful people. And they are my people.

Phil Street 58:19

Amen to that. I was going to ask you about if you have any funny stories you could share, but I feel like you’ve actually given us a couple of funny stories already. But if there’s any burning ones that you have, I’m all ears.

Kellie Rixon 58:31

I’m really, I’m trying to edit them in my mind. But anyone who’s worked in hospitality for over 30 years, we’ll tell you, most of them you’d never really want to be associated with again. You know, there’s this dumb waiter stories of different things coming upstairs to the satellite kitchen, and opening the dog waiter one day to find one of the capys sitting in there and his underpants. I wouldn’t be wanting to share those what kind of story Oh, no, no. So, needless to say, there was a lot of sanitising going on that night. And waiter, but no, I did. There’s a million stories and and to be quite honest, Phil, this is this is better than therapy. So I’ll be ringing you next week. And we can go again if that’s okay.

Phil Street 59:14

Done. Yeah, I’m in, I’m in

Kellie Rixon 59:17

I like it.

Phil Street 59:19

A burning question. This is hugely indulgent. Are you are you red or blue?

Kellie Rixon 59:24

Well, I live in Liverpool, so therefore I’m a blue.

Phil Street 59:28

God, really? I should ask you that at the beginning.

Kellie Rixon 59:32

You don’t get to pick it. Phil Don’t you understand? Literally you’re born and it happens. So I Our house is very divisive. So we’ve got predominantly blue with my dad and my one of my brothers who’s a red. So we tend to shun them and it’s Derby weekend this weekend so that they’ll you know it will be virtual shouting this weekend, I would suggest

Phil Street 59:57

Yeah, well it’s a good time to be alive. as a as a blue

Kellie Rixon 1:00:01

Listen, I’m going to miss the end of season scrap to stay up at that that’s our that’s our Champions League. That’s our you know, that’s that’s our gold standard that it last match of the season scramble. But now it’s a once a blue, always a blue and you’ve got to be a true supporter because we tell in an awful lot.

Phil Street 1:00:19

Well, I think that might be about to change. And I’m not suggesting that might happen this weekend. I like to believe that the Reds will still win. But the one thing I will say is that I think both our teams have got class acts at the helm.

Kellie Rixon 1:00:33

Yeah, absolutely. Do you want a fiver on it, Phil?

Phil Street 1:00:36

I’m not a betting man. Actually, I would have taken that bet up until the seven two that happened a couple of weeks ago. No, It’s just such a weird season. Yes, that’s obviously that’s very hospitality driven conversation that but but never mind. I actually the point I was gonna make on Carlo Ancelotti, is if you haven’t read his book, quiet leadership. It’s a belter. It’s because he he leads by not saying much. He lets people kind of gives them enough rope to go hang themselves. And then when he needs to step in, he steps in. So it doesn’t tell the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, how to go play the game. But if Cristiano Ronaldo is stepping out of line, then that’s when he steps in. So he gives people the freedom to be themselves. And I think that that’s just a wonderful lesson in leadership anywhere. To be honest.

Kellie Rixon 1:01:36

I wish I was better at that than I am. I do. So I’m going to I’m going to pick it up and read it this weekend. Because Yeah, I, I too involved in to taking part and probably in some cases to directive. So yeah, it’s definitely something I’m very conscious of, and probably need to work more, be more focused on.

Phil Street 1:01:56

Well, but you know, things that need to be worked on that can be worked on.

Kellie Rixon 1:02:01

Yeah, I definitely I like being in the driving seat a lot more than than being in the back of the boss now. So I know where I’m at my most comfortable.

Phil Street 1:02:10

Yeah, well, you know, if you’re in the back of the bus than you if you’ve got to clean it haven’t you, so

Kellie Rixon 1:02:15

and in a white denim suit.

Phil Street 1:02:18

Absolutely. I did read somewhere, actually, that you don’t enjoy being a passenger.

Kellie Rixon 1:02:23

I’m not very good at it. Coz, you know, I am like Donkey on Shrek. You know, it’s like, does anybody and you know, Pick me Pick me Pick me? So that’s it? No, I’ll have a go at anything. You know, I am great at giving advice and really terrible at taking it. And most of the people I work with, I you know, one of my famous phrases, one of my famous sayings, I say to most of the people I coach, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. So yes, you can do it. Yes, you can do that yet, but let’s just focus. Let’s keep it contained. I never take my own advice. Never. So. Yeah, no, I’m a terrible giver, but not receiver of advice.

Phil Street 1:03:05

I think I might be the same actually on that. That just because you can doesn’t mean you should I am known amongst those who know me as the shiny new thing, guy. I’m always off trying new stuff. And all of it legal this so that we’re clear on that. Or at least to my knowledge anyway. And I you know, I think they’re, that’s great. And it’s wonderful. And I probably won’t ever change but but sometimes it puts me into situations whereby you look at your workload and go, how did I get here?

Kellie Rixon 1:03:39

Yeah, it’s the busy busy people do that quite a lot. Does that mean they like that? It’s, you know, I have a really simple life mantra, and it’s on generally everything I do. And it’s part of everything I am and my husband, Gary, you know, bless him, he gets it in terms of that message all the time. Because I challenge it. My message is simply what happens next. So it’s not what you’re doing. It’s not what’s happened to you. It’s not the kind of circumstances you find yourself in. And again, for me, it’s really kind of pertinent at this moment in time. You know, we’ve got all this going on. And just cause you know, you can and just because it’s there, it doesn’t mean to say it’s the right thing to do. What happens next is the critical. So take all the information, evaluate it all and make the first step make the right decision. Moving forward. What happens next is your control. We couldn’t have predicted COVID we couldn’t have predicted what’s happened to the hospitality industry. We couldn’t have predicted it. We couldn’t have stopped it. It has happened. It continues to happen. Our control is in what happens next

Phil Street 1:04:51

Too true. Absolutely. But I think that the one thing I picked up from a couple of conversations with you knows that you definitely have a can do attitude. There’s nothing that we can’t figure out.

Kellie Rixon 1:05:05

Listen, when you’ve got talent, and we have as an industry, when you’ve got resourcefulness, when you’ve got a, you know, a willingness to succeed, who’s to say, What, What, what the limitations are? I have faith. I have faith.

Phil Street 1:05:21

Yeah. And don’t forget, you know, this is the great leveller, right? Nobody’s experienced this before. Nobody knows how to deal with it. There is no was I’ve used the word playbook. There’s no playbook on this at all. So we’re all even if you’re a robin Shepherd, you know, who’s been there, seen it done pretty much everything or he probably thought he had until COVID came along, you know, that we’re all learning. But definitely, we’re all finding our way.

Kellie Rixon 1:05:49

Yeah, I mean, try being a consultant in this time, because people just kept bringing me up going, what is it? What happens next currently? And I’m like, I have no idea. Yeah, you know, I’ve been really lucky in my career. I’ve been mentored by some amazing people, but but throughout my career, I’ve had one person who is transformed my thinking and been there. So Mr. Steven Carter, who I still call Mr. Steven Carter. So he introduced me to my husband, he read the passage at my wedding. He’s instrumental in my life, these likely worked out and I still call him, Mr. Steven Carter, and he’s there. He’s my sage. He’s the person I go to. And we laugh at the moment, because neither of us can predict what comes next. What happens next?

Phil Street 1:06:36

Yeah. So you know, you, you make the best way forward with the tools that you’ve got. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Kellie Rixon 1:06:44

Agreed. Absolutely.

Phil Street 1:06:47

Great stuff. Okay. if What if you were to have somebody who wanted to come into hospitality sat in front of you, what would you say to them?

Kellie Rixon 1:06:57

Why not just do it? Well, you’re gonna have an industry where it’s really diverse, it’s really interesting. You can travel you can meet fantastic people, you will definitely have fun, and you’ll definitely have stories it will make for a colourful life. And what there’s nothing better than that, really, is that.

Phil Street 1:07:17

Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. Superb. Well, thank you very much for spending some time with us today and sharing your story. And it’s just been a real great insight into to the life of you and and and what happens next, it looks like the the next years ahead will be very interesting.

Kellie Rixon 1:07:37

Indeed. Thank you so much, Phil has been really good to talk.

Phil Street 1:07:40

You’re very, very welcome. Take care. Bye bye. And there we have it, a quite sensational career journey so far from Kellie. We wish her well on her role as chair at the Institute of hospitality and can’t wait to see what Kelly and her team have in store for us. Don’t forget, we launch a brand new episode each week. So hit that subscribe button and give us a like and share where you can. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next week.