How did you find your start in the industry and how did you arrive at your current position?
I started my hospitality career as a waitress in Sydney 17 years ago while I was putting myself through Performing Arts College. At 22, I moved to London to continue with my performing arts career and whilst there I continued to work in restaurants, which is where my career blossomed. I worked my way up through the ranks quickly progressing from a waitress, head waitress, Assistant Restaurant Manager to Restaurant Manager, Assistant General Manager and finally to General Manager. After 7 years in London and establishing myself in the industry, I was head hunted to move to Hong Kong and work for a restaurant group that were planning to open up 7 restaurants. After 3 years in Hong Kong, successful openings and franchising the business to Jakarta I moved back home to Australia. I was offered the position of Business Development Manager at Crown Melbourne, developing labour efficiency models in order to reduce labour and other expenses. With 3 years in this role, I applied and was successful in obtaining the position of General Manager – Events and Conferences where I have worked for the last 1.5 years.
What do you consider to be the biggest achievement of your career, so far?
Whilst living and working in Hong Kong in the position of Operations Manager, I am proud to have achieved the successful opening of 7 Restaurants – from planning, construction and then execution, all this within 9 months. This is closely followed by winning Manager of the Year in 2017 at Crown.
What excites you most about working in the hospitality industry?
I absolutely love the diversity of the industry and my role, the multi-faceted and complex nature that it brings each and every day. I continually come across new challenges and the problem solving aspect is forever changing, my role encompasses so many difference aspects from customer service, compliance, labour management, resolution management, finance, negotiation the list goes on. In addition in my current position, I love seeing the final outcome or vision of an event come to life and the execution of this. Watching the wow factor on a guests face as they walk into an event makes all the challenges we face worth it.
What advice would you give your younger self, starting out in the hospitality industry?
Take every opportunity that comes your way. Make sure to stay strong and stick to your values and morals.
What are your observations about the barriers or challenges women face that are specific to the hospitality industry? How do you think these can be overcome?
It is evident that in our industry we have a heavily male dominated executive level, which I believe has been a result of women leaving the workforce for one of many different reasons. However one significant reason is to have children. In order to break this mould we need to have better support in place for returning mothers that allows them to balance their home life with work. The flexibility to work from home on occasions, I believe will show a dramatic improvement on the amount of women that remain at work rather than leaving there positions to focus on family.
In addition to this, I think women need to be encouraged to think about what they can bring to a role rather than what they cant. I truly believe more women would apply for roles if they focus on what they can do rather than what the criteria is and not apply at all, a boost in women’s confidence across the board.