Archive for ◊ March, 2013 ◊

Author: admin
• Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

The person I chose to interview next was an easy decision- Ravi. He is our Guest Service Manager, one of the most difficult jobs in a hotel and an incredibly funny and kind individual. He is always in a good mood and always chatting up guests and co-workers. Every Friday when I walk in, Ravi and I have our own little “it’s Friday dance” that we like to do.

I was informed yesterday, that Ravi has accepted a new position as the GM at the Residence Inn by Marriott, our sister hotel, as we have the same owner. I know this was sad news for everyone because he is an amazing addition to the Lord Elgin team. His new co-workers will be very lucky to have him!

Before I interviewed Ravi, I was unaware of how wise he is. He has experienced many fascinating things in his life time and he is very inspiring. I’m glad to have sat down and spoke with him before he parted ways with The Lord Elgin Hotel.

-What is your favourite part about your job at Lord Elgin?

What I like about this place is the people that I work with. I think they are awesome. They give the guests the kind of experience that they demand, which pleases me as well as serves the purpose of this business. It is very important to have a happy and motivated team of people. Whether at the front desk or at the valet desk. If I can invoke that kind of motivation in everyone that works here, then I think we have a happy and successful hotel. I believe that the principle I work with is that I have an extremely high level of self -motivation, and look at myself with an inward eye on a daily basis. I show it through other practises as well. This level of motivation is usually passed down to the people who work with me, so overall it serves the businesses purpose. So, that’s the best thing about this place, the team.

-What will you miss most about the lord elgin hotel?

I think the whole experience is something that Ill miss.

-Are you excited for your new job? Nervous?

I am both! I’m extrememly nervous because I am going into an unknown field in a certain manor. I know hotels, but I dare say I know exactly what is being done. I’m excited because it’s a good change for me and I’ve been waiting 10 years for this opportunity. When I last left a hotel it was as a GM in Dubai.

-How many different hotels have you worked in?
Eleven hotels. All in a period of 40 years.

-Can you tell me about a bad experience you’ve had in a hotel? Perhaps a crazy guest or visit?

I’ve had a lot of bad experiences. A lot. I have hundreds of stories. I’ll tell you of my oldest experience when I worked at the InterContinental Hotel in Mumbai in 1975. There was a sooth sayer (like a fortune teller) and she was sitting with her hand under her chin, with her eyes open. She sat there for hours. And… she was dead. She had a heart attack and died in that position.

I originally saw her in the lobby when I left the hotel and I had waved at her. When I returned to work 3 hours later she was still there and I acknowledged her again. Then it was midnight and she was still there in the same position. That’s when I got freaked out. She was in the same position, her legs crossed, hand on chin. I called the security and he tapped her on the shoulder and she just fell over. I had walked by her three times but I was a young guy and just dumb. That was something I will never forget.

-Where were you born and where did you grow up?

I was born in India and grew up in many parts of India. I speak many Indian languages, about six.

-What are the three favourite places you’ve previously traveled to?

Kathmandu in Nepal, I consider that to be a fantastic place. I would say that’s the best.

I also love the Maldives, which is a set of islands south of India, east of Africa- in the Indian ocean. I developed a resort there. It is a fatastic destination, the highest point in all of the islands is 3 feet above sea level and they are surrounded by coral reef. It is extremely beautiful.

Third place I’d say is India. I have very fond memories of India. Most of all the small villages where people are very poor yet extremely hospitable. I find that to be a very gratifying experience to have gained when I traveled there when I was young. Hospitality has no bounderies in terms of rich, poor, black, white, green… it goes beyond that. People who have nothing would share a meal with us because we were travelers and had no place to stay.

-What are three places you’ve never been but would love to go?

South Africa, China and we’ve always wanted to go to Spain. Several places. Oh and especially Brazil, for the jazz music and sambas- and the women!

-What was the happiest moment of your life?

Very difficult question. One happy moment was when I became the GM of a business hotel in Bombay. My goal was to get a job like this within 10 years of graduation. In those days in India, it would take a minimum of 15 years to be a General Manager after finishing school, so I had a real “wow” moment. I decided I was going to work twice the amount of time so I could gain the experience and accomplish that goal. I was very pleased. Of course, marrying my wife in 1977 was also a very happy moment.

-What was the last thing you regret buying?

I don’t buy too much. But a condo in India is the last thing I regret.

-What three adjectives might other people use to describe your personality?

Calm, crazy, and knowledgeable.

-If you were stranded on an island with only one item, what would it be?

A speedboat.

-If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?

I would revisit Africa and find ways to sort the state there, in terms of the average people.

-If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be?

I don’t know, but wisdom does come at 50.

-If you were reincarnated as ice cream, what flavor would you be?

I’ve always liked strawberry, but rum and raisin sounds even better.

-If you could develop any talent (ie. Dancing, singing) what would it be?

The most important thing for people is kindness and generosity. I think I am kind but not generous enough. So I’d like to improve on my generosity. Someone with both is someone who can succeed in life because your wants are not important. Other people have less wants and more needs. We have all our needs but have more wants.

-Any last comments or “send-offs”?

I’ll certainly miss The Lord Elgin Hotel and my team. I’ll miss all the people, people really grow on you. I will also miss Brigitte’s hair colour, that changes throughout the season. All of my experiences have and will always be good, and I am grateful for them.

Author: admin
• Monday, March 18th, 2013

Food, restaurants and taking care of people have always been a passion of mine. Since I was 16 I have always had a job in the food and drink industry. Whether I was hosting, serving, bartending or driving around on the golf cart, I’ve always enjoyed the busy atmosphere.

Natasha Bordier, our banquet and . taking care of a guest, serving meals or simply filling the water jugs, it is definitely a comfort zone of mine.

Today, I was more than happy to ask Natasha a few questions. She’s incredibly hard-working and genuine.. not to mention, I love the way she says my name with her accent (she is from France).

I began with my usual question,

-Where are you born and where did you grow up?

I was born in Dijon and spent all my life in France. I moved to Ottawa three years ago.

-What got you started in the food and beverage industry?

My parents had a company that sold wine to restaurant, and that’s where it started!

-How did you come to work at The Lord Elgin Hotel?

The company that I am working with (Sodexo) offered me a position here.

-What makes your banquet team so awesome?

We are awesome because we all make an effort to work together as a team. Our banquet team is a family!

-What do you believe makes a good banquet server?

A team player, hard-worker, and consumer oriented. You must always have the guest in mind.

-Have you ever lost your cool in a busy situation?

There are times when I get mad and need to go for a walk. I need to take the time to be alone and cool down. I am very passionate so when things get crazy, I do everything I can to not take it out on others.

-What is your favourite way to spend a day off work?

Reading, I love reading.

-How many hours do you sleep at night?

5 hours.

-Who do you admire most in the world?

The most in the world, wow, so many different people come to mind. I really love the first women President in Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Also, any person with drive such as Ghandi or Nelson Mandela.

-If you could describe yourself in one word what would it be?

Passionate.

-Do you cook? If so what is your specialty?

Yes I cook! I think chocolate cake is my specialty. I always love to make one when it is my friend’s birthday. I like to be creative every time and add something new and different to every batch.

-Name three places you have never been but would love to visit?

I would love to go to New Zealand, South Africa, and probably Argentina. I would love to hear the women I find incredible speak, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

-If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Did you ever watch the television series Charmed? One of the witches could be at two places at one time. I would love that.

-Any other comments you would like to express?

I love working with banquets. It very personalized, you don’t have step-by-step rules to follow. People like that we are approachable and friendly. I’m very lucky to have the team I have.

Author: admin
• Monday, March 04th, 2013

At the Lord Elgin, I am fortunate to have my own desk in the Sales Office. There are four desks in total, all which are occupied by incredibly friendly and intelligent people. There is Liz Lesh, Tessa Webster and Andrew Horsfield. Andrew, the Senior Sales Manager, is an extremely kind and knowledgeable man whom I’m happy to have met.

Andrew often gives me “lectures” on different aspects of life and our world. Whether it’s about bumble bee’s becoming extinct, or how to properly set and achieve a goal, I am always happy to listen. Andrew thinks I’m just saying that, but I really have learned random facts and life lessons that I won’t forget. He has jokingly described himself using the expression “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

This morning I swirled around in my chair and asked if he would answer some questions for our blog, and he was more than happy to help.

I asked Mr.Horsfield,

Where were you born and where did you grow up?

I was born in Thunderbay. I have lived all over Western Canada from Ottawa West, to St.Catherines, to Toronto, Windsor, St.Albert, Victoria, Calgary, and Winnipeg. In total I have lived in 13 different cities.

When did you begin your career at the Lord Elgin?

I moved to Ottawa from Winnipeg in 2005 to work at The Lord Elgin.

What 3-5 things do you need to be successful in this job? What are the deal breakers?

As the senior sales manager, I work exclusively with non-profit organizations, charities, associations and NGO’s. The number one thing you need is to genuinely like to work with people. To be successful you must have your client’s best interests at heart. It is the same with all the hotel sales. You need to really want to help your clients out.

You need to want their event to be successful because it is extremely important to them. It could be something 10 years in the making. It is very, very important that you place as much emphasis on the success of the event as they do.

It may seem hokey, but you need a good team around you. This includes the front desk, the banquet team, the reservations team, the kitchen staff and more. Everyone must do their job really well in order for the event to be successful. If this happens, then you are successful as a sales person. It’s like a symphony orchestra; no one can be out of tune.

Have you had any other careers and if so, what are they?

I have worked in a number of fields. I have a degree in History and English, and a diploma in TV Broadcasting. I have written and produced TV commercials. I have been a real estate broker and a freelance writer. I owned a company for advertisement specialties. I have been everything from a volunteer firefighter, to a sales executive for print advertisement, to a lumberjack.

If you had only one word to describe yourself, what would it be?

Involved.

What’s the one accomplishment you’re most proud of? Why?

I am most proud of my wonderful family. I have been happily married for 25 years with a 15 year old daughter whom I’m very proud. As much as I am involved in my work, my real life revolves around my family.

If you could describe your ideal day off, what would it involve?

I like to play golf, and I do a lot of home renovations. We also enjoy holding big BBQs for the neighbours at our place. Ideally, my day would involve all the three.

Do you have a favourite music genre? Music artist?

No, I love all types of music. Literally, I will listen to artists like Eminem to opera music.

If you had to throw a dinner party tonight, what would you make for supper?

Well, first thing I’d do is call my wife because she’s the excellent cook. But if the dinner party was tonight, I’d make crab legs, or something along those lines.

If you had a time machine, where would you travel and to what year?

I’m a bit of a history buff. I think I would like to have heard Sir John A. MacDonald’s speech to Parliament about the Pacific Railway Scandal. Or Churchill, and Martin Luther King!

What do you like most about living in Ottawa?

Ottawa is a fantastic city on which to live upon. I have the experience to make the comparison. There is a lot to do, and it is a great place to raise a family. It has all the amenities of a big city, but with a small town feel.

What is your favourite quote?

“I seek not to be known, but I seek to be worthy to be known”

Any additional comments you would like to make?

We’re lucky that we work in an industry where you get to meet so many great people all the time, and be part of their world. We’re lucky that what we do for a living is fun.