Editor: Tell us about your journey. how did it all start?
Upon graduation from Taj's IIHM Aurangabad, I joined Taj President, a prominent Business Hotel in Mumbai as a Catering Assistant and was immediately placed at their Thai Specialty Restaurant - Thai Pavilion. This was a fantastic exposure as I had the opportunity to work with a great team.
When the Grand Hyatt opened in the city, I was very excited to get a chance to be a part of their pre-opening team and be a part of Mumbai's largest room service operation (547 rooms+150 Apartments)... this lead to roles in F&B training... and subsequently full time training.... currently I am with Hyatt for close to 7 years, working at my third Hyatt property and enjoying the mutli-cultural work climate here in Dubai for over 3 years now.
Editor: What do you think it takes to succeed in this industry?
Most importantly - a sense of 'performance' - one has to be like a Swan who gracefully moves across a lake - what the onlooker (the guest) should not see it the sheer muscle and energy the Swan has to put in to paddle with its feet under the water level...
Editor : What are the attributes you look for while selecting or hiring?
We want to make sure the prospective employee knows what they are getting into. We look for honesty, friendly attitude, ability to communicate and work in teams.
Editor: What according to you can trainees do while they are training at hotels to make it a win-win for them & the hotel/unit?
Two things. One - Ask Questions, constantly and frequently.
Second- Use interpersonal skills to build a professional network which will be useful upon graduation.
Editor: Tell us a little about your average day
As a trainer the day starts with ensuring that my team is well set for the day's training program - a quick meeting at the beginning of the day takes care of this. Second, scan/respond to emails and visit my immediate manager's office for any updates. I prefer to use the phone and visiting a colleague's office to discuss something over emails - it is amazing what one can achieve with 'face-time'. Lunch is always at the employee restaurant where I try to sit with a new employee everyday - this is a way to understant the employee's career expectations and aspirations as well as a way to check the pulse of our 'service' culture. After lunch, I do a tour of the hotel to make connections with the employees who are in direct guest contact. Usually in the afternoon I am conducting some training session or the other. The day ends with a final look at email and debrief with my directs.
Editor: How do keep abreast of all that is happening in hospitality?
There are many ways. I have created a website to share thoughts with my training counterparts here in Dubai on wikispaces.
We also meet once a quarter in the HR networking meeting. Read trade journals, visit industry websites and subscribe to informative RSS feeds, twitter accounts. Some groups on linkedin offer fantastic links and resources. I have a linkedin group of my own called 'theoneminutehotelmanager'...