Q: Name? Age?
A. Kathryn Gee – 29 Years old
Q. Program and year graduated?
A. Hospitality Management 2-Year Diploma. I graduated with honors in April 2016.
Q. Why did you choose Humber College?
A. I chose Humber because of the classes offered and location.
Q. Which class did you find most beneficial?
A. I really enjoyed my Revenue Management and Tourism Classes. Revenue Management was probably the most beneficial for myself because I choose to go into Rooms. Learning how a hotel is booked and how to work out ADR and RevPar was very useful when I entered the hotel industry. As an International student I loved Tourism because it helped me to understand how Tourism works in Toronto and how the world sees Toronto as a travel destination. It helped me to learn about the city too and explore it for myself.
Q. What do you enjoy about your career?
A. My career has been amazing so far. I have learned so much about how hotel operations work and have been able to implement skills from Humber. I currently work at the Front Desk and I enjoy all the interactions I have with guests. Making their stay special and making them feel special is something that makes my day. I also love the organization and the variety of each day.
Q. What advice would you give future/current students taking this program?
A. Get involved. I was involved in everything; volunteering, hotel associations, alumni nights. It really helps you get your name out there. Something else I have learned since being out in the industry is that connections and networking are so important. The Hospitality Industry is small so getting your name out there in a positive way I have found is very important. I use these connections myself when I am looking to hire new associates.
Q. What was the biggest obstacle you faced during your time as a student?
A. I think everyone always has the same answer for this… Group work! Group work was always difficult because everyone had different ideas and different work ethics!
Q. In what ways did Humber prepare you for the work world?
A. I had already been in the working world in the UK for 7 years so I would say that Humber helped prepare me with my Canadian work experience. It is a lot different here than back home. The faculty at the college still help me now. My HR class prepared me for working with unions here in Canada. Again it is completely different back in the UK, so learning about collective agreements alongside Employment Law was a huge help.
Q. What opportunities would you urge other students to take advantage of?
A. I would say the extracurricular activities such as; hotel tours, guest speakers and association groups. I have been in the industry now for 2 years and I still have contacts from my Humber days. This isn’t a very large industry; everyone knows each other so a good connection is one that will follow you through your career.
Q. In your opinion, what are 5 crucial skills needed to preform your job?
1. Good Communication: Knowing how to speak to people of all different cultures and backgrounds is huge in the hotel industry. Not just because Toronto is a large multicultural city but because of the tourism in the city. Guest’s visit from all over the world and have different needs and requests. Being able to accommodate them makes not only their stay a lot better, but makes your job a lot easier.
2. Emotional Intelligence: Being consistent with my own emotions is probably the most important to perform my job. If I was in a bad mood, as the Manager on Duty, then I could quite easily bring my entire team down with me. I believe it’s very important to keep a cool head and not take things to heart. Patience is needed for guests and associates.
3. Multi-Tasking: This is probably my favourite part of the job, having several things going on at once and balancing them all successfully is a fine art. At the end of the day, when it all comes together, that is a great feeling.
Sorry, I can only come up with 3!
Q. Why Hospitality?
A. It’s all about the people and the fast-pace environment. I love working operations, as you are in the thick of it all the time. I also love the other side I get to see: doing paperwork, scheduling and interviews. I get to come to work and every day is different. I have met super nice people and then other people who just set out to try and bring you down. I’ve had people coming on holiday to people coming to me because their house has flooded and they have nowhere else to go. At the end of the day, I get to walk out of the hotel feeling like I made a difference for someone’s trip or even life.
Q. How did your experience at Humber help you find employment after graduation?
A. It helped me because I dived into the college experience head first and got involved in everything. It helped me to understand how a hotel is run and how the different systems work. As I said earlier, it also opened up a lot of opportunities for me to network with industry professionals and make connections that I still fall back onto now. This included other students, I have put people forward for jobs, and I have recommended people for positions I have to fill.