General Manager of the MGallery by Sofitel Harbour Rocks Sydney, Lauren shares with you what it means to be a woman in this role and her advice to aspiring General Managers.
MGallery by Sofitel is a storied collection of hotels, both inspiring and individually styled, where guests can delight in and fully discover the very best the world has to offer. Harbour Rocks Hotel Sydney is no exception. Located in the iconic Rocks district with spectacular views of Sydney Harbour, this boutique property is the perfect base to begin a journey of discovery.
This unique hotel is led by Lauren Job, General Manager (GM), who recently sat down with the MGallery Brand team to share her exciting career path.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How did your career in the hospitality industry begin?
My hospitality career began when I was 16 years old; I was working at a local café while in high school. I loved every moment of it; from meeting new people and building connections with regular customers to having the ability to create great experiences!
During my studies in the field of International Management in Auckland, I worked part time first as a receptionist, later as a PBX (Public Board Exchange) operator and finally as Duty Manager at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers, which became the Langham Auckland. After my studies I traveled throughout Asia & Europe and once I returned to New Zealand, I began working at Quay West Suites Auckland as Operations Manager. A few years later, in 2010, I moved to Australia to work as a Room Division Manager for the Sebel Surry Hills for three years and for the Mercure Sydney for two years – the largest Mercure in the world at that time. While at the Mercure, I completed the Strategic Leaders Development Program for women within Accorhotels who aspired to become General Managers. I was part of the first group of women to complete this program. Being part of this network and participating in the program was a turning point in my career; not only had it helped me to reach my life goal to become a GM, but it also helped me to strengthen my network. I’m proud to say that four years later, I have a great network of women that I can bounce ideas off of and contact for support.
In 2014, I became the General Manager of the ibis Sydney King Street Wharf for two years until I moved to my position today as the General Manager of The Harbour Rocks Hotel Sydney. I love working for the MGallery brand, it is amazing!
Which qualities do you think a General Manager needs to display? What are the keys to success?
In terms of motivating myself, every day is different, it’s not a 9 to 5 job, there’s always going to be something new and exciting happening. The people you meet, the stories you hear and the experiences you can give to guests really make you proud at the end of the day. We have a special program at the hotel called, The Guest of the Day. Each day we select a random guest from our arrival list that hasn’t stayed with us before and at check in we offer a free upgrade, breakfast and a special in room amenity. The smile on their face really makes our day!
In my opinion, a General Manager needs to always be present while at the hotel. When I walk in the front door of the hotel, I am present and in the moment; I leave any personal problems at the door. I think it is also important to be vulnerable (when you show you’re vulnerable to your staff, you get respect and trust, and also with your guests: you show your true you), be authentic, be unselfish. You also need to tackle the tough stuff and be resilient.
The best key to success? T-E-A-M meaning TOGETHER EACH ACHIEVES MORE!
How do you build the right team?
It’s all about finding people that are passionate about the industry & really love working with other people. You need to get to know your team members to build trust & respect.
I think the key to build the right team are: 1) Onboarding 2) Training 3) Recognition
Find people passionate about the industry, provide good on boarding to engage them and ongoing training and recognition (not monetary). Remember to express gratitude when your team has done something great, share positive guest feedback – a simple thank you can help build trust.
How do I motivate my team to take the lead: I give them the confidence. I’m happy to be a mentor and to coach my team. I invest a lot of time into working with women who have hesitations on starting a family and who are at the turning point of becoming a General Manager.
What advice would you give to any woman willing to pursue a career as yours?
Take the leap: if you see an opportunity, go for it. Don’t wait until you are 100% ready. Self belief drives outcomes. Remember if you feel anxious or scared it’s a good thing – it means you are learning.
Sheryl Sandberg, Author of Lean In & COO of Facebook, always talks about woman sitting at the table and being heard. Women need to take the lead even if they feel they are not ready, it’s by getting out of the comfort zone and from there we will grow and shine!
What kind of female traveler are you?
I am organized when it comes to booking hotels/destinations, however once I am at my destination most of my experiences are unplanned – these are generally the best! It is always good to know a local so you can visit all the hidden spots that you won’t find in the guidebooks!
What are your interests when you aren’t working?
I enjoy running and actually I participate in two half marathons every year. Running clears my head after a long day of work. I also enjoy bike riding with my husband and exploring our local area (we love craft beer), dinner with friends and weekends away!
What are your main sources of inspiration?
Motivation: on the way to work I listen to TED talks, it’s important to continue to learn. Even though I have my dream job, I want to keep moving forward to motivate my team. I am also inspired by iconic female personalities (like Michelle Obama) as they inspire me every day to do great things.
What motivates me every day: Knowing that I can come to work and change someone’s life with a memorable experience at Harbour Rocks Hotel. It makes you feel good.