Tell us about yourself, what you do and how you got started.
I’m a seasoned hotelier and hospitality provider with over 35 years of experience in the field, and a profound interest in serving others. My passion started at a very early age, I was eager to help my mum clean the dishes, set the dinner table, assist her in cooking for the family and offering drinks to our visitors at home.
After my secondary school studies, I applied coincidentally to the Faculty of Tourism and Hotels Management and after a series of interviews, I got accepted. From day one I became fascinated with the hotel business and found myself able to exceed guest’s needs.
I began my career pretty early when I had a summer job opportunity at a 4-star hotel in Zurich, Switzerland as part of the Kitchen Brigade.
It was not only an opportunity to refine my foreign languages, but also to learn more languages and different cultures.
Throughout my four years of college I had the chance to undertake my summer trainings in different countries; in my second year I finished my training in Amsterdam, and third year in Dusseldorf, and covered the kitchen, reception and service departments.
After my graduation, I joined the hotel formerly known as the Nile Hilton as a receptionist and my obsession with the hospitality industry grew further to the realization that this is what I want to pursue for my professional career.
35 years later, after having worked in 25 different countries and two international chains, I am now the General Manager of Hilton Sharm WaterFalls Resort and more importantly the Regional Champion of Travel with Purpose program for the Egypt and North Africa Region.
What was the hardest part of your journey so far? How have you overcome it?
Having worked in the Learning and Development department for a period of time during my career, I learned how to identify an opportunity in every action or service offered to our guests.
An example would be finding out guest birthdays and if it happens to be during their stay with us, we could turn it into a very special moment for them. Basically, it all boils down to how to offer a memorable and unforgettable experience which will make our guests come back to us.
What motivates and drives you?
Guest satisfaction, exceeding results and developing team members.
Would you consider yourself a risk taker?
Indeed, in my role as a General Manager I have to take risks on daily basis and support all creative ideas that may help improve the operations of the hotel.
Were there any books that motivated you?
Every single book I read provides me with insights and motivation, but particularly, one of the very first books I read when I was young had a strong impact and motivation on me. It is “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. This book fit in very well with my motivation and satisfaction when exceeding guests needs.
Do you think your mindset has been a key to your success?
I am a very creative person who always likes to try new methods and offer support to my subordinates to help them learn and develop. This mindset allowed me to play an impactful role in the development, growth and promotion of many of my team members, particularly when I became a General Manager 20 years ago.
What would you say are the key elements to starting a successful business/leading a successful career path?
Having passion for what you do guarantees your success in it. No matter how simple what you do is, if you love your job, you will excel.
What/who inspires you?
Ted talks featuring success stories of individuals, and any talks that focus on preserving the environment and safeguarding our natural resources.
How do you deal with a bad day at work?
Take a break, relax by the sea, do some jogging, read a book or spend time with my kids.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Read, family time and sports.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone who’s starting out in the field, what would it be?
Learn to evaluate your work on a daily basis by asking yourself at the end of each day: am I happy with my input today at work? What more could I have done to help my department prosper? What was the impact of my input on the overall objective of my work?
What’s your next big step?
I am initiating some plastic recycling projects at the hotel and aspire to expand them further to be able to reduce and hopefully fight plastic waste in our beautiful Red Sea area, the Mediterranean Sea and the Nile River.
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