James Godwin

James Godwin

Committee Member

Current Position

People & Business Administration Director, Harbour Hotels Group

Previous Position

Head of People Development - CH&Co, Training Manager - Bills Restaurants, L&D Manager Tragus Group


James has spent his entire career (over 25 years) in hospitality and catering, initially in operational roles and over 10 years in the HR space, especially being an advocate for training & development. James is now in a strategic role at Harbour Hotels as People & Business Administration Director, having previously worked for CH&Co, Bill’s Restaurants, Tragus Group (Café Rouge, Bella Italia) and Loch Fyne Restaurants. James is a Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality and is a former Secretary of the Southern Branch.

Working within High street restaurants, contract catering and most recently hotels, in both operational and strategic roles, he understands the importance of development of people within catering and hospitality and as such sits as a Route Panel Member for the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education for catering and hospitality.

James has a Batchelor’s Degree in Physics from University of Birmingham (2002) and should complete his Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship with combined Master’s Degree in Business Administration sometime in 2024.

Additionally, James is Chair of Trustees for Hamble Independent Lifeboat, an organisation he began volunteering for in 1996.

What do you enjoy about working within HR in the hospitality industry

There really is nothing else like it; the diversity of people, roles, skillsets, career paths. It’s unmatched (in my humble opinion) in the variety – if variety is the spice of life, Hospitality is the spice rack.

I remember having some wonderful bosses over the years and there is one thing that binds all the experiences; the desire to deliver beyond expectation.

Seeing people develop, grow, improve and flourish is wonderful.

I enjoy new concepts, new ways of doing things, new food , new drinks. But I also appreciate tradition and custom. I love the fact that every single day brings me a new and (importantly) different challenge.

Why I joined the HR in Hospitality team

I still see HR getting a lot of bad press; it frustrates me that so many people continue to view HR as the ‘police of the company’ or only there to enforce policy or deal with situations leadership do not want to. I believe education and advocacy of the profession is the way to enlighten people to understand the people element of their businesses. Every day is a school day – something new to learn all the time. I want to contribute to the synergy, sharing of best practice and networking the HR in Hospitality community fosters and encourages, and celebrate success where it is deserved.

Social Media Links

James Godwin FIH | LinkedIn