Archive for ◊ May, 2013 ◊

Author: admin
• Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

I met Liz Lesh in January on my first day of placement. Before she even spoke I noticed her incredible style and the infectious energy that she exuded. As I continued to get to know Liz over the past couple of months, I learned many more things. For one, she is hilarious, always speaking her mind fearlessly and knowledgably. She is a role model for young women with her independence, and healthy lifestyle. Liz also makes me people feel great on a daily bases with compliments, comments and constructive input.

I was excited to learn more about Liz Lesh, and she was more than happy to answer!

I began,

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

I was born in Montreal and grew up in Montreal.

-How many years have you worked for the Lord Elgin?

It will be four years in August!

-Out of all the hotels here in Ottawa, why did you choose to work at the Lord Elgin?

Well, you don’t always have a choice, however, when I was working at Novotel Hotel I always fantasized about working at the Lord Elgin. I loved the look, the curb side appeal, the presence on Elgin Street and the historical element. The Lord Elgin has character and I identify with it because I feel I also have character.

-What have been the most effective marketing initiatives or programs you have used to promote yourself or the hotel?

Face-to-face networking and if face-to-face is not possible then I do my best to show my human side. I feel when I am human and when I share who I am, then a bond begins and usually solidifies a business and sometimes a friendship relationship.

-Have you ever crossed any obstacles as a woman in a leadership/business role?

Yes I have. However, I use those experiences as advantages and I can usually turn an obstacle into an opportunity by using the fact that I am a woman. I am not a feminist!! I am a woman and proud to be a woman.

-And how do you deal with difficult people?

I recognize that we all have good and bad days. I also recognize that you cannot please everybody. I deal with difficult people by acknowledging that I know they’re experiencing a problem and I roll with it. Then I go home and have a shot of vodka.

-Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Aside from running on the canal and lifting weights, I hope to be working at the Lord Elgin Hotel IF they will still want me. This is precisely why I want to continue running, so that I can camouflage my age in 10 years. I may need some help from a plastic surgeon but will cross that bridge when I get there.

-What do you do for fun/relaxation?

Well, I don’t know how to relax. What I do for fun is not “fun” for most people, I love to go to the gym. And because I recognize that I don’t know how to relax I force myself to have a drink, sit back and have fun. I also cook, bake and listen to CBC for fun and relaxation.

-What three things could you not live without?

My workouts, my healthy food and my family. Not necessarily in that order.

-What is your fondest memory?

Giving birth to Sarah and Sammy.

-How do you cope with change?

Extremely well.

-Where are three places you’ve never been and would love to go?

Vancouver, believe it or not; Chicago, also believe it or not…and Thailand.

-If you could design a new colour — what would it look like?


-Describe yourself in one word.


-How do you get balance in your life?

That’s a good question, I don’t have balance. I’m in transition trying to find balance.

-If you knew then what you know now, what would you tell your 18-year-old self?

Stay in University, be more tolerant and patient.

-Where is your favorite place to shop?

New York.

-How many pairs of shoes do you own?

I’ve never counted, but let’s go with 69. And assuming I have 69 shoes, 57 of them are black.

-What is your favorite quote or saying?

Live and let live.

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Author: admin
• Wednesday, May 01st, 2013

Name: David Smythe
Place of Birth: Kingston, ON
Graduated from: Loyalist College in Belleville, Hotel and Restaurant Program

Over the past four months I’ve been at the Lord Elgin Hotel, I have seen the extreme leadership and passion that is driven through our GM, David Smythe. It is very clear the respect that everyone in the hotel has towards him and his hard work.

I really benefit from sitting through the 9am daily meetings where every department of the hotel discusses what is happening in their specific area that day. It’s a pleasure to listen to David speak with thorough knowledge of the hospitality industry through different ideas and opinions. He is very busy yet always seems to be organized and calm.

I sat down with the family man and began my interview with five questions.

-What got you interested in the hospitality industry?

My first job was bussing tables at the Royal Military College in Kingston. After that, other jobs that came along weren’t nearly as fun or as interesting. I kept gravitating towards working in restaurants and bars, and eventually went to school for that.

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

I received a phone call from my now boss Raymond St. Pierre when I was working at the Holiday Inn in Kanata. He called me up and asked if he could have lunch with me, and it went from there!

-What is it you like best about your job as General Manager?

What I really like best is when I know the hotel has been busy, and the entire team fulfilled our promise of service worthy of a Lord. As well when I know each one of our guests and groups have gone home feeling excited about how their stay was. That’s the best feeling right there- you feel so proud.

-Can you describe yourself with one word?


-What is something you would like to improve on, whether in the work atmosphere or life in general?

Personal, I would like to be able to run 10k again. In the workplace, I want the next round of renovations to take this hotel to the next level. That’s what I’d really, really want to happen- both in product and in service.

[To switch up the pattern of my blog, I next asked David to finish 15 of my sentences…]

1. The biggest challenge(s) I face are … business challenges. That’s a reality that is very difficult due to the reduced travel into Ottawa from large business. Things that are beyond our control and not knowing where the Canadian economy is going. It brings challenges and issues for ownership and management. We as managers have to deal with them as they come with a positive and constructive manner and that’s a challenge some days. We must find ways to deals with these changes.
2. The Lord Elgin is … it’s funny , if you were to ask most people they would say The Lord Elgin is a hotel. When you ask me, I would say Andrew Bruce, the current Lord Elgin who resides in Scotland.
3. People always tell me … they have stayed at the Lord Elgin. Or that their parents have stayed there, or their parents have got married there, or their grandparents. It happens all the time. At the Thunder Bay Airport, on a ski lift in Whistler, chatting with people who say “I know the Lord Elgin, I was there 20 years ago.” It’s great that the hotel is recognized all over Canada.
4. The television show I watch … currently, is Game of Thrones. And when Homeland comes back on I’ll certainly watch that.
5. A place I like … first thing that came to mind is Kingston. It’s my hometown. I’m very fond of Kingston. It has the lake, the Thousand Islands, and charm.
6. My fondest memory … my kids being born. Each different, each so memorable.
7. My father taught me … family is everything.
8. I would really like to meet … interestingly, one of the people I wanted to meet was Isadore Sharp, founder of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts chain. And guess what? I met him 10 days ago in Toronto at the OHI Awards. Cool, eh! In the industry he is the one person I wanted to meet.
9. I’ve always been fascinated by … how nature finds a way to remind all of us that human’s don’t control everything.
10. If I could be any superhero … I’d be Iron Man.
11. My guiltiest pleasure … sweets. I like sweets. Chocolate, cake, French pastries, you name it. It gets the better of me.
12. I’m really bad at …being patient.
13. My greatest talent is … I don’t have one. I just have a lot of things that I seem to do well at, or with.
14. Five years from now … I want to be the proudest GM in Ottawa.
15. My favourite motto or saying is … do the right thing.

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