Jade, tell us who you are and what you do?
I have recently had the pleasure of joining the Kew Green family as the General Manager of Holiday Inn London – Shepperton. I am an ambitious hotelier with a passion for leading and motivating my teams, to ensure that they deliver the best possible experience to guests and visitors. My relationship with the IHG brand began 12 years ago having re-branded the Holiday Inn London Gatwick Worth, as Operations Manager. I developed into my first GM appointment back in 2013 and have progressed into various roles since, with my most recent journey taking place at the Holiday Inn London – Sutton.
The future of hospitality has always excited me, so when I was given the opportunity to become a committee member for the Emerging Leaders Network – Europe, IHG Owners Association, I was delighted. Here we focus on bringing together the emerging future of the hospitality industry within the IHG Owners Association. We ensure that the valuable perspective of young hospitality professionals have a voice and to foster innovation. This has been excellent for me to have an industry impact on a larger scale.
I have always promoted a healthy work-life balance. I believe this ultimately benefits the organisation, increasing productivity and effectiveness. My two-year-old daughter Fern has somewhat taken over my world and is now my true passion in life. Over the past two years, she has aided me to redefine my priorities and ensure that I heed my own advice. I have thoroughly enjoyed re-exploring the world with her and my husband by my side.
What has been your experience like through on-boarding to Kew Green Hotels amidst a crisis and having a small person at home?
Having joined the team in Shepperton in late February, as you can imagine I did not visualise having to close the hotel in my first month! It has been (as I am sure many of you can relate to) both a challenging and rewarding experience. I arrived at the time when our world as we knew it was rapidly changing. My priority from the get-go was to ensure that our guests, team and of course my family were safe, whilst working through the fundamental basics of any new GM appointment. There were many late nights, conference calls in the car, and a host of different emotions. However, the support I received from the hotel team and the wider Kew Green family was brilliant. My induction has certainly been unique and one I will not forget.
How have you adapted your leadership style through the pandemic?
I have been fortunate to have gained experience in different styles of operation through my career and I have taken valuable skillsets from each leadership role to best suit the current situation. This is from leading a small team in a limited-service product, where it is all hands on deck, to managing an experienced team in an innovative product, where the focus was on cross-departmental efficiencies. My current focus is very much hands-on, leading the day to day operation from the front. I have enjoyed frontline operations and the camaraderie of the team all pitching in and doing a bit everything.
This has not taken away from having to adapt my communication methods. as I lead the wider team through this challenging time. To ensure that all team are kept well informed, utilising communication methods which were not required before.
The hospitality industry has played a vital role in the fight against Covid-19. We have provided a safe place for key and critical workers to stay whilst keeping them fuelled for their busy day ahead. Through the pressure of all these changes, it has been a pleasure to see the team go above and beyond outside of the hotel by supporting their local communities. From shopping for vulnerable colleagues to cooking dinners for elderly neighbours and just putting some extra time aside to touch base with those in isolation.
How are you adapting to a new era of work?
Going forward our focus for the business will have to continue adapting to ensure that both our guests and teams are kept safe, with all service expectations met. There are a number of tools available from both Kew Green and IHG which have supported cleanliness and hygiene. This best practice has been fully embraced by the team onsite and is key to ensuring that everyone understands our new ways of working. The way in which we navigate through this period of change will ensure confidence is given to our guests.
Through the transition period, multi skillsets will become paramount. As a result, leading the team through upskilling and cross departmentalising will be a key priority. I am confident that this new exciting era in hospitality will provide newfound skills and passions for many of the team. I am also mindful that with change comes uncertainty, and therefore mental health and wellbeing needs to continue to be a priority. The way in which I introduced the team into the new operation will have a lasting effect.
We’re not recruiting at the moment here at Kew Green Hotels, but if you’d like to join our talent community for the future, please contact Natasha Nagra at firstname.lastname@example.org.