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Community Spotlight –Sebastian Pasinetti

By Rhona Hamilton-Jones

Sebastian Pasinetti is the Head of Partnerships at Kelly’s Cause Foundation, who train Mental Health First Aiders in the hospitality industry across the UK. Having worked in the industry, Sebastian is dedicated to creating safe and mentally healthy environments everywhere he goes and is passionate about advocating for space for LGBTQIA+ individuals in hospitality.

Rhona: How did you start your career in hospitality?

Sebastian: I started when I was fifteen; it was a work experience subject at school, and I chose to go to a restaurant. My family is really hospitality focused, my mum has worked in the industry for over 30 years, and my dad is a chef. So, I have grown up around it. I did work experience on the floor, and whilst in high school worked at the same restaurant as a manager. From there, I have just stayed in the industry.

R: How many years have you worked within the sector?

S: 13 years.

R: What is your current role, and what does a typical day look like for you?

S: I am currently working as head of partnerships at Kelly’s Cause Foundation. Kelly’s Cause is a foundation that trains Mental Health First Aiders in the hospitality industry. What that really means is we offer the same credited course as Mental Health First Aid England, but we base our course around hospitality scenarios. So, our case studies are hospitality focused. Three hospitality experts run the company, and we have all worked in the industry, so it helps us with pushing the vision of Kelly’s Cause. 

A typical day for me would be trying to reach out to restaurant groups, owners, and people in the industry to get them on board for training and explaining Kelly’s Cause to them. We have also just launched a membership platform, so I am working on getting people on board for that.

R: What do you most enjoy about your career?

S: I have felt very passionate about this industry for a long time, especially mental health. So, I feel really passionate about what I’m doing at the moment because it feels like I’m making a real impact for change and leading by example, creating a more mentally healthy environment for everybody, including myself.

R: How important is recognising LGBTQ+ History Month for you?

S: So important to me. First of all, I am gay. I find gay representation and people of colour representation in hospitality, especially at management levels, is just non-existent. You get to a certain level of management when you are a person of colour or queer and see nobody else like you around you. So, I think LGBTQ+ History Month is important to remember how far we’ve come, and to pave a way for a future that includes all of us and all of our progression and representation.

R: How do you relax?

S: I love writing, I have been working on a novel for a couple of years, so I do that to relax. Also having a bath- so underrated.

R: Biggest career challenge and how was it overcome?

S: Coming from the Australian restaurant industry into the UK industry. Australian restaurant culture is very casual dining and quite laid back, whilst London takes it a little more seriously. It felt like I was doing a career here opposed to a job in Australia. Overcoming that- I surrounded myself with great people, and aligned myself personally with brands I wanted to work with and thought that I would learn the most from. I worked at Kricket, they were amazing, a place called Somm Saa, and my last job was Head of People for a restaurant group called Brother Marcus. That was a big challenge as well- jumping from an AGM to Head of People so quickly. Within hospitality the growth can happen so rapidly, without any kind of mentorship or training, and that is another challenge.

R: Have you ever had a mentor?

S: I have, I don’t know if he would let me call him my mentor, but I go to him with all of my questions! He is in Australia, he’s taught me everything about hospitality, about conducting myself, and mental health.

To find out more about Kelly’s Cause, head over to their website.

Sebastian will be hosting an event with us on the Monday 28th of February at 6:30pm in celebrations of LGBT+ History month. The evening will explore Boundaries and Wellness through a panel discussion, workshop, networking and drinks.

For more information, and to buy your ticket, head over to eventbrite.


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