Graduating from university is an exciting milestone, but stepping into the professional world can be intimidating! Recently, Monique Dekker, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, EMEA, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, shared insights from her career and recommendations during the final speech at the LXIV Closing Ceremony of Les Roches, one of the world's most prestigious hotel schools.
You can find Monique's full speech and advice in this video (which we highly recommend you watch!) Her candour is disarming, sharing how she was so desperate to get into the Hyatt trainee program after graduating from Hotelschool the Hague, but didn't. Then jumped at the chance to be a housekeeping manager at the Grand Hyatt New York some 27 years ago. From there she worked her way up within the company, becoming a GM by age 35, then an Area VP by age 50, and on to her current corporate role as SVP of Human Resources. Learning so many valuable lessons along the way, the most important of which she distills for the audience at Les Roches.
We loved her five essential tips to thrive in hospitality, along with some bonus tips that can set new grads (or anyone) on the path to success!
Tip 1: Find a Company That Aligns With Your Values
Find a company that works for you and aligns with your purpose and values. "Please, don't take that lightly: companies can offer you upward career paths that last decades, and to establish and thrive on such long-lasting relationships, organisations must be a reflection of your deepest convictions––not just professionally, but also about your vision of the world and the way you live and relate to others"
Tip 2: Be Vocal About Your Ambitions
Another valuable piece of advice from Monique is to be vocal about your career ambitions and dreams. Share your aspirations with colleagues and mentors within your organisation. By doing so, you not only make your intentions clear but also open up opportunities for guidance and support. In a dynamic industry like hospitality, effective communication about your goals can make a significant difference in your career trajectory.
Tip 3: Seek Out Mentors
Mentorship is a cornerstone of professional growth, and Monique encourages graduates to seek mentors both within their organisation and outside of it. Experienced mentors can provide invaluable insights, guidance, and a broader perspective on your career path. They can help you navigate challenges and make informed decisions, ultimately accelerating your development in the industry.
Tip 4: Avoid Self-Imposed Roadblocks
In your journey through the hospitality industry, it's essential to avoid self-imposed roadblocks. Don't limit your own potential by doubting your abilities or hesitating to seek advice from those around you. "Get involved in extracurricular activities and seize every opportunity for growth. Also, network, network, network!" Building relationships within and beyond your organization can open doors to exciting opportunities.
Tip 5: Live Unforgettable Experiences
Monique reminds new graduates, "We are in the business of delivering unforgettable experiences to our guests, so go out there and live lots of unforgettable experiences yourselves to truly know what those look like. Live your lives to the fullest, and be who you are without an apology."
Have Fun: Enjoy what you do. A positive attitude and enthusiasm can be infectious and enhance the guest experience.
Embrace a Growth Mindset: Always be open to learning and adapting to new challenges and opportunities.
Stay Humble: Success in hospitality often hinges on humility. Treat everyone with respect and kindness, regardless of their role.
Follow Your Own Path: Don't be afraid to be unique and follow your passion. Sometimes, it's the unconventional routes that lead to extraordinary success.
Great advice, Monique! Thanks for sharing!