“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”.
This is a perfect example for Kelly-Marie Staunton, an International Hospitality Management Graduate from the University of Central Lancashire, whose attitude and passion towards hospitality makes her a very deserving candidate to achieve milestones. Talking to her about her experiences made me feel like, there are still some people who are highly motivated and passionate about what they do and I am certain that she is going to achieve her dream of becoming a Hotel Manager at a very young age.
Kelly recently won UK National Student Employee of the Year 2017 for Stepping Up to Leadership. She has been given this award for her outstanding contribution for having a full-time job along with full-time studies whilst at university and volunteering in various other roles. I am delighted to share her experience and achievements on this blog and I believe this will inspire students and graduates of hospitality to go one step ahead and do something that makes you stand out of this competent world!
Inspiration for Hospitality
I was inspired to join hospitality management as it is one of the most thriving, ever-changing, and largest industries in the world. I enjoy interacting with different people on a daily basis and working with challenging tasks. Additionally, working internationally around the world and having the opportunity to learn new languages are few benefits of this induatry. I can speak English and Spanish, and currently learning Mandarin, which are vital languages around the world to know for global businesses.
Previously held Internships
I have worked in the hospitality industry for multiple years since the age of 14 in many hotel chains, such as; Hilton Worldwide (Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel, UK), Best Western, Hyatt, Marriott, and Barcelo Resorts. As well as completing my bachelor’s degree in International Hospitality Management, where I obtained first class honors and the Marriott Prize for Academic Excellence.
I chose to do my second year of university in Cyprus, where I worked as a Front Desk Associate at the four-star Nicosia Hilton Hotel. In my third year of university, I undertook a 48 weeks work placement in Nashville TN, the USA at the four-star Hyatt Place Downtown Hotel – I worked as a rotational operational supervisor in Housekeeping, Night Audit, Front Desk and F&B. After completing the internship I returned to the UK to work as a Food and Beverage Supervisor at the four-star Daffodil Hotel and Spa, Grasmere, which was a very challenging role to fill whilst completing my final year of university. Additionally, upon graduating I secured a graduate program as a Voyager with the five star China Hotel, A Marriott Hotel, Guangzhou, China with Marriott International.
What motivated you to join Marriott’s Voyager Program?
I was motivated to join Marriott’s Voyager Program for its fantastic reputation of being a prestigious international hospitality company, and multiple opportunities worldwide.
Do you think Marriott’s Voyager is one of it’s kind and how would you differentiate it with your other Internships?
Yes, I think the Marriott’s Voyager program is one of a kind compared to other management development program/internships, as it offers intense training to prepare you for a management role, and global opportunities.
You have experience in UK, USA and now you’re working in Asia-Pacific. What have you learned interning abroad?
Working in multiple countries has enabled me to understand the hospitality on a different level, and develop my cross-cultural management skills to enable me to become an effective international General Manager.
How did you apply for the Voyager Program? Was the interview hard and what kind of questions did they ask you?
I applied for the Voyager Program through the Marriott International careers website, and had three Skype interviews involving the Front Office Manager, Rooms Division Manager, and Human Resource Director. The interview involved asking me various in-depth questions about how to manage large groups of people, dealing with another culture, and working in a fast-paced, 850 bedroom property.
If someone is preparing for Management Trainee Programme, then what would be your advice to them?
At least have some previous supervisory / leadership experience beforehand, as it will put you in an excellent position to work towards becoming a successful Voyager. Additionally, it is important to have relevant work experience in the field you will undertake the Management Trainee Program for e.g if you would like to join Voyager as a Food & Beverage Management Trainee then you must have previous internships focusing on F&B.
What are your future goals and how do you think you can achieve them?
My ultimate career goal is to become an International Hotel Manager of a luxury five-star property for Ritz Carlton / Marriott hotels. I am going to achieve this goal by working in multiple five-star Marriott Hotel’s in various countries to build my cross-cultural management skills and continue to understand the hospitality industry in other countries. Additionally, I would like to complete the Voyager program and move into my first Assistant Manager / Manager of a department role and continue my development from there.
Kelly’s Word For Success
Always work hard, have fun, and have a positive attitude when working in this industry! Ensure to take every opportunity which comes your way such as; learning another language or taking responsibility as a leader.
Wrapping it up!
Kelly is more than just passionate about hospitality and she will certainly achieve what she wants because when the passion meets the hard work, there is nothing that can stop you!
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
To get to know more about Kelly-Marie Staunton, connect with her on Linkedin.