Archive for ◊ June, 2013 ◊

Author: admin
• Tuesday, June 11th, 2013


Tessa Webster is the Government Sales Manager at the Lord Elgin Hotel. Tessa is a smart and motivated young woman. She is consistently sweet and happy- she never shows the stress that I’m sure comes with having a two year old at home and dealing with government clients all day. I tend to get stressed about the silliest things, and seeing how she deals with her everyday life so collectively and positively really puts things into perspective for me.
Tessa is a great listener with a fantastic sense of humour. I am very comfortable coming to Tessa if I need to have a quick rant about something. She is relatable and has certainly contributed to my experience here at the hotel.
1. Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
I was born in Holland in a small village outside of Amsterdam. When I was nine I immigrated with my mom and my sister to Canada.
2. How did you come to work at the Lord Elgin Hotel? How long have you worked here for?
I’ve worked here for two years. Before, I was working in the GTA. Then my husband received a promotion that brought him to Ottawa, so I needed to find a job here. I asked one of my former bosses if she would help me/ refer me to hotels I could apply to. So, she emailed IHG hotels in Ottawa.
Through that process, David came across my resume. I had worked with him many years ago and I suppose he recognized my name and, lucky for me, he and Ann took a chance.
What is the biggest challenge when working with Government groups?
The challenge is trying to understand their ever changing needs and trying to adhere to their rules. I think it’s a never ending cycle because things are so quickly changing in Government. You really need to stay on top of all the news around you.
3. If you had the chance to go back in time for one full day, where and when would you go?
I would go back to my first few years in Holland. Back when life was easy and all I did was sit in a row boat with my best friend with no worries or stress. We would just row around on the canals. Life was simple.
5. If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you ask for?
I would ask for endless amounts of time to spend with my daughter, to return to the resort in Jamaica where I married my husband (with my husband, of course) and a life time membership to Le Nordik Spa.
6. What is your fondest memory from the University of Guelph?
I think, more generally, what I liked the most was the great sense of community I had there. I made a lot of really good friends who I still keep in touch with. My professors were amazing. I worked downtown as well and developed some really great relationships; I really felt like I was part of the city. Overall, I had a really amazing University experience- a lot of fun.
7. How old is your daughter Maddy, and what is her favourite thing to do?
My daughter is two years old. She loves to go to the park and feed the ducks. As of late, she really likes to boss me around. Today she said “Mama go get my water” and “Mama go get my boots”.
8. Where are three places you would love to travel to?
Oh my gosh, if I had endless amounts of money I’d want to go everywhere. If I had to chose three, I would go to Prague, Thailand and Turks & Caicos.
9. Where is your favourite restaurant to eat in Ottawa?
To be honest, I love The Keg. Both the service and the food quality are very consistent. I have never been disappointed.
10. What type of person angers you the most?
Arrogance is really frustrating.
11. Name something you are very good at, and something you are very bad at.
I am very good at improvising bed time stories. I am bad at remembering people’s names, which is bad in my line of work so I’m trying to train myself.
12. What quality do you appreciate most in your husband?
I really appreciate his thoughtfulness.
13. If you could star in any TV show, past or present, which show would it be?
The Cosby Show. They’re the kind of family you would want to model after.
15. Describe yourself in one word.
Compassionate.
16. Since it is Friday, describe your perfect weekend!
It would have to be spending it with my family. I’d enjoy taking Maddy to her music class, having a picnic and going out for dinner with my husband.
17. What is your favourite quote/saying?
Don’t worry, be happy. (Ha, it’s a quote and a song! Words to live by. I love it)

Author: admin
• Monday, June 10th, 2013

When I first began at the Lord Elgin Hotel, Maxine was away on maternity leave. I was able to use her desk for my first three months and was grateful for this because it made me feel like part of the team. When I asked if Maxine would mind me sitting there, all her coworkers laughed and went on about how kind Max is and that she would absolutely not mind.
Every day I saw the beautiful photos of her two girls on her desk, and a stunning photo of Max and her husband on their wedding day. I looked forward to finally meeting her when she returned in April.
After meeting Maxine, I realized that you really cannot say enough good things about her. She is genuine, charismatic and funny. She is not only passionate about her work, but she also cares so much about the people surrounding her.
I first noticed her thoughtfulness when Max walked by my new desk, which is a large table in the centre of the office, used for meetings or sometimes group lunches. As I did my work, there were a couple of items left over from someone’s lunch and a few unwanted sheets of paper, on the desk. Maxine immediately started clearing it all off, confused as to why anyone would leave this on “my” desk. This small act gave me a large amount of respect for Maxine. My respect has since grown over the last month and even more so after interviewing her for our blog.
Hope you all enjoy!
1.Where were you born and where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Ottawa.
2. How did you get your job at The Lord Elgin? How long have you worked here for?
I have worked here going on eight years in July. That will be my anniversary! I worked at another hotel before, working in the same market. Whenever I would travel on business or meet my clients, I’d ask what hotels they used in Ottawa. They would ALWAYS say the Lord Elgin.
Sure enough, my friend worked in the Lord Elgin sales department at the time and she called me saying a position had become available. I came in almost right away for an interview with Ann and David and I got the job within a couple days. Like they say, if you can’t beat them, join them.
3. At work, what is your biggest daily challenge? What do you enjoy the most?

I’m pretty lucky because I don’t think I have too many obstacles that I can’t overcome. I think that I’ve learned with age not to take things so personally. Whether working with clients or your daily interaction with staff you have to remember that business is business. However, when you are so emotionally involved in something, and when you put you entire self into it, it can be a challenge not to take things personally.

It can sometimes be an obstacle telling a potential client that maybe we are not the best fit. Sometimes when you’re in courtship with a client you realize that what we have and what they want may not be the same thing. Since part of my job is to get new business and nurture relationships, that can be difficult.
What I enjoy the most is Ottawa, I love Ottawa. Even though I have been the Tour & Travel Sales Manager for eight years and in this market for ten years, I still get excited about what Ottawa has to offer. I get inspired. I also think the hotel is amazing so it makes my job a lot easier. I love my coworkers, our products and who we are within the community. I love my job.
5. If you could describe your ideal day off, what would it involve?
I think it would for sure be a family outing. It would be either going to my parents’ house on the lake with the girls and my husband, or just staying at home with my family.
6. What is a movie title that describes your life?
Right now it would be “Parenthood”, both the movie and the title.
7. What is your biggest pet peeve?
I can’t stand it when you let someone go ahead of you on the road and they don’t give you the “thank you wave”- I hate that! I also don’t like when people don’t return their shopping cart to the proper spot, like when they leave it next to a car or something.
8. What do you do for fun/relaxation?
Right now my fun is my family. I think it would be playing with my girls, whatever it may be- that’s fun to me now. To relax, read a book, or if I’m lucky, watch a movie. I also love reality shows. They are so ludicrous that it really puts things into perspective in my life, and for me that’s relaxing.
9. How did use choose the name Maude for your daughter?
Okay, this is crazy. Even before I was pregnant, whenever I do something mindless (driving, going to the washroom) I just go through names constantly. It’s weird, just so bizarre.
So I had a name picked out for some time- Magalie. And we have really close friends who were pregnant before us and we had their baby shower for them. We were all talking about names and she said that she wanted to use the name Magalie. We had never discussed the name before! I was like “Oh man, as if!” She had a great story behind it and was also pregnant first, so I decided it wasn’t meant to be.
I wanted a name for my daughter that she would be proud of, and could do whatever she wants with, whether a restaurant server or a president. I wanted the name to be a strong and respected name but also soft and calm. When she was born, we still went a day without calling her Maude. But we are happy now, her name really suits her.

10. Do you find it hard to balance your work life and home life since you’ve had your baby girl?
No because when I’m at work, it’s work. The moment I’m out the door, it’s family. It’s tough when I travel because I’m away from my family, but I know it’s my job and I can switch it on and off if I want to.
11. What are three things you can’t live without?
My family, and food- I get excited about food. Everything revolves around food. Anything you celebrate there’s usually food- so it’s definitely up there. And the outdoors. I really enjoy being outside, in the fresh air and sunshine.
12. Describe yourself in one word.
This is hard because life is a quest to find out who you are, so we never really know. What I may think I am, people around me may not think I’m that person. One thing that would describe me pretty well is that I wear my heart on my sleeve.
It’s tricky because if I just say I’m passionate, or emotional, it can be construed as different things. I think with me what you see is what you get- maybe I’d say I’m “intense”.
13. If you could have any superpower what would it be, and what would you do with it?
I would want to be able to time leap back in time and into the future, for my own beneficial reasons. Also, I could probably help a lot of people with whatever cure.
14. If you could be any other person in the world, who would you be?
I want to say a person with some kind of statue- prime minister or celebrity- so I could make a difference. Then again, I’m Maxine, I’m not really anybody but I hope I can still make a difference in someone’s life. Why do we need statue? I over think things too much but I probably wouldn’t want to be President. It’s too much stress and responsibility-I just want to be me and hope I can be the best person, and change someone’s world or life- even if it’s just a little thing.
15. What is the last thing you regret buying?
Everything. I’m one of those shoppers that unfortunately like’s nice things, therefor I buy them. Then, I get home and have buyer’s remorse. And I hate returning things to the store! It’s uncomfortable! But I seem to have been doing that a lot lately.
16. If you were reincarnated as a food item, what would you be?
I’m thinking cheese, I love cheese. But the problem with cheese is you have one bite and then it’s gone!

17. What is your favourite quote or saying?
I don’t have one to be honest. The ones I find myself using more commonly are: “What comes around goes around”, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” and “Blood is thicker than water.” I’m French too so the French sayings aren’t necessarily the same in English. I tell my girls in French “I love you more than the earth”, but it doesn’t really make sense in English.

Author: admin
• Monday, June 10th, 2013



Shannon is an exceedingly hard-working young woman. It seems that she is the go-to girl for everything and anything at The Lord Elgin. Every day I hear people (including myself) ask Shannon “How do I get this printer to work?” “What’s the Lord Elgin Meeting internet password?” or “What should I make for supper tonight? And how?”
Shannon also has this hilariously mischievous giggle that makes me laugh every time I hear it. Her vibrant style and honest personality make her a fabulous person to both know and work with. I have a feeling she will do great things in the near future.
1. Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
I was born in Cambridge, Ontario, and I group up in Williamstown, Ontario.
2. How did you come to work at The Lord Elgin and how long have you worked here for?
I have worked here for two years. I got my job through Ann, who is a personal friend.
3. What is the biggest challenge you face as catering manager?
The biggest challenge I face is collecting all the details from people. It can often be very last minute, and some people are unsure of what they want.
4. What do you like most about The Lord Elgin?
I love organizing successful events and having happy clients.
5. What is it like have an office partner?
It’s both fun and distracting. Mostly I distract Amanda by talking to her.
6. What are three things you cannot live without?
My puppy Bentley, my shoes, and my family.
7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’d love to own a Bed & Breakfast. I worked in one when I was growing up and knew that I was meant to own one someday.
8. What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Chocolate.
9. How did you discover your love for cooking/baking?
My mom. She has been doing it my entire life, and probably her entire life!

10. If you had to throw a dinner party tonight, what would you cook?
Hmmm! I would make a stuffed goat cheese pork tenderloin, with a cherry reduction sauce. Broiled asparagus, and mashed potatoes.
11. Where are three places you’ve never been but would love to go?
California, the Caribbean and Thailand.
12. Describe yourself in one word.
Fabulous.
13. If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?
Rachel Green, from Friends.
14. Who do you admire most in this world, and why?
My mom, she won Citizen of the Year this year for our township back home. She puts in long hours volunteering, baking cakes professionally, and of course being a mom. A mother’s job is never ending with 3 grown children and 4 beautiful grandchildren.
15. If you were invisible for one day, what would you do?
I would spend the day with the Kardashian’s.
16. What is your favourite quote or saying?
I love you to the moon and back.
17. Name something you are very good at, and something you are very bad at.
I’m very good at sewing. I’m very bad at knowing music artists. Geoff [her boyfriend, a DJ] will often say “Who sings this? You know every word!” and I’ll say “I have NO idea.”
18. If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?
I would buy a huge house and a cottage somewhere on a lake.

Author: admin
• Monday, June 10th, 2013

Christopher Ward is quite an extraordinary whom I had the pleasure of interviewing this afternoon. Due to different schedules, I never got the opportunity to get to know Christopher before today. I was urged by multiple coworkers to choose him for my next blog profile- and rightly so.
Christopher has travelled to what seems like everywhere in this world. He is cultured, knowledgeable and an expert on endless subjects. A couple times during the interview we got off topic and I became completely memorized by his stories and experiences. He has been to so many diverse places in the world that he says it’s become impossible for him to think inside the box- those walls have been broken down.
When it comes to his role at the Lord Elgin Hotel, he is highly respected by both guests and colleagues. He has won more “Stars of the City” than anyone else in the hotel. He is great at his job because he genuinely loves people. Christopher goes above and beyond for our guests on a daily basis. He will even come in on his day off to show visitors around the city and has kept in touch with many of them over the years.
Overall, he is a remarkable asset to the Lord Elgin team with his kindness, fearlessness and “no regrets” attitude.
Thank you, Christopher, for the interview.

1. Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in Brockville. I grew up in Crystal Rock, which is a junction of about 12 houses just south of Spencerville.
2. What is your favourite thing about your job at The Lord Elgin Hotel?
My favourite thing is interacting with international people and different cultures on a daily basis.
3. What is the most difficult situation you’ve been involved in while working here?
There was a difficult situation when I was approached by a guest who was not able to communicate in English. They spoke a language that we couldn’t find anyone who understood. They were distraught and clearly upset about something. I had been in their situation while travelling where I really needed to communicate with someone but couldn’t because of a language barrier, so it was frustrating not being able to help. Eventually, we did find someone who could translate. They just needed to get in touch with someone back home and didn’t know how to use our phone.
4. What is your favourite thing about Ottawa?
The multiculturalism, the greenness and the friendliness.

5. Where are the three most recent places you have travelled to? Which one did you enjoy the most?
I just came back from a month long tour through six countries in Southern Africa. The ones that stand out those most are South Africa, Malawi and Botswana. I enjoyed South Africa the most because I used to live there. It’s like finding an old, favourite pair of jeans after three years and having that comfortable fit and feel.
6. Where are three places you have never been but would love to go?
Nepal is one, Ethiopia and Uzbekistan. I like the off-the-wall stuff.
7. I hear you make fantastic biscotti, where did you learn to cook?
Through travelling I have tried so many different foods and I try to emulate them here. There’s a lot of trial and error, and I have very patient and understanding friends and family who are willing taste testers. I’ve also learned that anything with chocolate is never a failure.
8. I’ve also learned that you are a great photographer, what do you like to photograph the most?
I think I always try and find that “wow factor” photo. One that amazes even me when I see it afterwards. I am so lucky to be able to travel and see and experience cool places. I try to capture the essence and feeling of wherever I am to bring back [to Canada] and share that moment with others. I do it not only to show people, but to transport me back to that moment.
I don’t buy mugs or t-shirts anymore for souvenirs. My souvenirs are the memories of going through a local craft market. So, I try through one image, to capture the sights, smells and feelings of that moment. It allows for people to see part of the world that I’m seeing that they may not be familiar with. I try to be as creative as I can. The benefit of digital photography is there are no mistakes. I like to photograph the essence of where I am and create the “wow factor”.
9. What are three things you could not live without?
Music, chocolate and my passport.

10. What is your fondest memory from travelling abroad?
First thing that comes to mind is when I met a man who was carving a piece of art in Zanzibar. I sat and spoke with him for about half an hour. We had a dialog about how long it took him to make the piece and where he found inspiration. I’m sitting talking with this guy and I’m learning about his family, how his daily life is, and all while watching him carve this piece of art, which was sort of like a tree of life.
There were three pieces and I bought one of them. The biggest regret that I have is that I didn’t buy another one. At the time, I felt I didn’t have enough money. He was selling them for $25.00 which was nothing at the time, but to him it was a fair price. It took him two whole weeks to make and it was so beautiful. I have a hard time bargaining overseas. If it is something an artist puts his blood, sweat and tears into, to bargain would be to belittle his artistic creativity. I know bargaining is part of the culture in some countries, but I asked how long it took him to create and I used my consensus conscience as a guide and bargained to $24.00 and we were both happy. I felt that because I had watched him carve the tree of life, I was setting up a relationship, not just a buyer.
At the time I was working on a cruise ship and thought I would be back in 10 days. I told him I would return and buy another then. I realize now- Murphy’s Law- that when you have an opportunity, you seize it. We ended up having to sail by Zanzibar because of a storm. Of course, by the time I eventually got to go back, I couldn’t find him. Every time I returned I looked, but never found him. In a way the art is even more special now because I only have the one beautiful carving and because I was there with him while he was making it.
What is the scariest thing you have seen abroad?
I was once in a scary situation where I got in a taxi in St Petersburg, Russia- by myself and very late at night. I don’t speak Russian and so I had the bartender explain to the taxi driver where I was going.
When I took the taxi there, it was a left and a right and I was there in maybe five minutes. To get home, the taxi driver took a long detour and it took 25 minutes. I couldn’t communicate with him to say “What are you doing?” We were driving through a very rough part of town and it was really terrifying. I started to get giddy, but- maybe that was the vodka too… thinking I was being kidnapped! I was sitting in the back seat, and could only see the man’s eyes in the mirror watching me sweat. All I could hear in my mind was the little voice of my mother saying I should never get in a taxi, alone, late at night in a foreign country!
Finally, I started to recognize my surroundings. I later found out that in St Petersburg there are many bridges and locks that close during different hours. The bridge for the short route home had closed and that’s why we took the detour. By the time I got back I was shaking badly. I paid the cab driver, who was chuckling, as I’m sure he could sense my fear, the only $10.00 I had and felt very glad to be back in my destination!

11. Can you tell me about your years working on a cruise ship, what did you do and for how long?
I worked for Princess Cruises for four and a half years. I started as a Junior Assistant Purser on the Front Desk and then moved into the Shore Excursions department and worked up to Assistant Purser level. After Princess, I work as Shore Excursions Manager on a private ship for a year.
12. Describe yourself in one word.
Eclectic.
13. What is something that makes your angry?
Racism.
14. If you had the chance to go back in time one full day, where and when would you go?
I would go back in time to ancient Egypt to see how they really built the pyramids.
15. What is your guiltiest pleasure?
It would probably be to have a raspberry pie all to myself and not share.
16. What is something you are really good at and something you are really bad at?
I’d say something I’m good at is cooking. Something I’m bad at is effectively packing for a long trip.
17. If you could be any fictional character who would you be?

The invisible man.

18. What is your favourite quote or saying?

“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world” By Mary Anne Radmacher – Hershey. I heard this saying once and it really stayed with me.