My Brilliant Career: Creating hotel spaces that are inspiring and personal
What does your job entail?
Although my role as a curator assumes the same responsibilities of a traditional general manager on a day-to-day basis, it also involves exploring the importance of and the responsibilities in curating a space that provides guests with a unique and personal experience.
I view the hotel as one would a museum; the look and feel of the place is what guests will experience, so this is why these spaces should have more than just a "one-size-fits-all" approach because different elements will speak differently to each guest. If the entire space is curated in a relatable, current and inspiring way, guests will be receptive to it and appreciate that personal touch.
What do you do at work each day?
A typical day for me at RED includes offering guests my recommendations on what to do in Cape Town, holding strategy sessions with my team, playing host to clients, checking on the hotel's events schedule and curating spaces/experiences in the hotel with the use of art, fashion and music.
How did you end up where you are today?
I was born and raised in Bushmills, Northern Ireland. I attended Napier University, where I completed my honours degree in tourism management, followed by a masters degree in human-resource management. My career kicked off in 2009 when I joined the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. During my time within the group, I took on a variety of roles, from general manager to food and drink director for the group's corporate support office in Brussels. This journey led me to opening up the first Radisson RED in Africa, which is the Radisson RED Hotel V&A Waterfront.
What do you think makes you a good leader at work?
The only thing that differentiates us from each other is our personality. Each personality is unique, so I've learnt it is better to focus on people being their authentic selves. If you find a great person, the best thing you can do as a leader is to let them be great. I think what makes me a good leader is that I encourage my team to be self-confident in order for them to deliver greatness, their way.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
I always wanted to be a professional footballer, but after realising I would never be good enough, I was pretty set on being a dairy farmer. My love for the outdoors and animals is what attracted me to being a dairy farmer. It could be that my love for animals is the reason Radisson RED is pet-friendly.
What do you find most meaningful in the work you do?
I genuinely love connecting with people. RED is all about connections and genuine connections at that. We do that through caring about our service delivery, through our people, through our technology and through our vibrancy.
We trust our people to be themselves. This really matters to me...