Can you give us a brief insight into your education and career path?
I graduated from Wuhan University with a Bachelor degree in Art. My first job after graduating was administrative work, but at that time I knew I was actually looking forward to a more colourful career, rather than a normal nine-to-five job. By chance, a good friend of mine at the time told me that one of the most famous hotels in Wuhan was recruiting for Front Office and Guest Service Officer positions. This mysteriously attracted me even though I didn’t know anything about the hotel business! So, I decided to give it a go and surprisingly I was asked for an interview with the General Manager, David Yip. David was the one who persuaded me to start my career as a hotel management trainee. I had a twinkle in my eye when he started to introduce the program to me, as I realised I could learn the hotel operations of every department through a solid training plan and that he would be the tutor to train me into a future leader. I knuckled down and went from department to department, being trained on all the details and gaining great insights into service and staff. This training set my standards high and perspective broad, and I was so convinced I would become a General Manager one day.
Following the five months of being a management trainee, I was unexpectedly promoted to Housekeeping Manager and two years later I was promoted again to Executive Housekeeper and then Director of Rooms. The years that followed this, found me moving to the Resident Manager and General Manager position in several Marriott branded hotels across Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Wuhan and Kunming.
After all these years, I still clearly remember during the interview with David Yip that he asked me what kind of life I wanted; I answered, to start everyday with new expectations, meet wonderful people and always learn. He then said, welcome to the world of hospitality!
Can you share with us what you feel has been the most valuable part in your career development to date that has enabled you to get to where you are today?
The most valuable part for me consists of the encouragement and trust from my previous leaders, Marriott culture and my never-give-up attitude.
Humanity spirit is essential in the hospitality industry; it is reflected in the service you deliver, as people can tell genuine care, warmth and thoughtfulness. As a result, Marriott has been the company I have chosen to work with, for 20 years. I admire the culture of putting people first. I am also grateful to all the previous leaders I have come across in my career, who have had confidence in me, even more than myself. Their trust and encouragement has cultivated my can-do attitude. Step by step I have gained valuable experience right from being a management trainee through to a General Manager. With all of these treasures, I pursue excellence and never give up on the creativity, the integrity and the insistence of good quality.
Congratulations on being a finalist in The BMW Hotelier Awards 2016. How are you planning on leveraging this opportunity to inspire the younger generation to work harder at developing their career in the hospitality scene?
It is my honour to be selected as a finalist. I hope that my personal experience can somehow provide some inspiration and reference to the younger generation who also have a passion for the hospitality industry. The younger generations are very talented, creative and are fortunate to have been more exposed to a cosmopolitan life. I am very pleased to see so many young faces pursuing a career in hospitality and working very hard for it. True hoteliers are gentle yet strong.
For the young female professionals out there, there are some messages I would like to share. Don’t be afraid of unprecedented things, always be yourself and believe in yourself. No matter if you have a successful career or life ahead of you it is important to always keep learning, keep growing and embrace new experiences. More importantly, we must find time for ourselves because if we are able to enjoy life and love the work we do, then we will always be self-motivated. In the end, the rewards will come. You should always put your initial dream in your heart and put your goals in your calendar. Go for it and be patient, always ask yourself what you haven’t done and what else you can do. Also remember to stay passionate and focussed and try to leave everything a little better than you found it.