Abigail Tan, Head of U.K., U.S.A, and Europe recently spoke with Laura Dunn of The Huffington Post about her professional journey, inspirations, highlights and challenges of her role, and goals for St Giles Hotels.
Excerpts from the interview:
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
"I grew up in Penang, a small island in Malaysia, where I gained exposure to the hotel and real estate industry at a very young age. As a child, I was always interested in observing the inner workings of organizations and seeing how people function, both as individuals and as members of a group. I had the chance to learn first-hand by watching my Father run his businesses and spending time at his offices. I also played many team sports growing up, including basketball and netball, which had a real impact on my ability to understand the importance of teamwork and communication, as well as how to work in tandem with people to achieve common goals."
What have the highlights and challenges been as head of St Giles; UK, Europe & USA?
"I believe that culture is a crucial ingredient in the recipe for a successful company, so I always seek to foster work environments in which my teams feel both motivated and empowered to succeed. This is one of the most rewarding aspects of my role, but also one of the most challenging, as change is rarely a welcome guest, and it’s usually the case that core changes need to be made before any cultural difference can be realized."
What advice can you offer women who are looking to get into business?
"I’d say one of the most important lessons for women and men, alike, is to learn to learn from failure. Without failure and hardship, there is no organic learning and therefore no personal growth. The process of failing, then having to pick up the pieces and steer yourself and try again, is what creates internal strength and resilience, which enables us to persevere and to grow."
What do you want St Giles to accomplish in the next year?
"I would like to officially launch St Giles as a hotel brand capable of playing on a global stage.
I aim to make St Giles a great brand by doing my part in creating a team, family culture and friendly spirit that employees can embody and guests can feel. I believe that our employees are the keepers of the brand, so I try to empower them to give their best with every interaction, every day.
I also believe that every guest experience either builds the brand or tarnishes it. I’m currently in the process of creating consistent standards, which can be challenging given that we are a collection of unique, independent hotels. And while we embrace our hotels’ individual personalities and differences, we also strive to make sure that every property has a level of quality and service that meets customers’ expectation.
With that said, I believe that brands are constantly evolving and developing their own personas. It’s been a great deal of fun getting to know St Giles’ personality and seeing it transform with the times. I look forward to introducing St Giles to the world with our upcoming campaign."
Read The Full Interview Here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-dunn/women-in-business-qa-abig_b_10826264.html