For work and sports I travel often. This means I spend a lot of time in hotels. But sometimes I find myself wondering who are the people behind what makes a hotel operate.
Patty Schweighardt, the General Manager at Delta Hotels by Marriott Downtown Saskatoon shared with me some insights about how she came to work in the hospitality industry.
“I moved to Saskatoon in 1984 after high school and took a job as a dishwasher at the Saskatoon Inn. My intention was to take a year off while working and then apply for nursing at the University of Saskatchewan,” Patty explained when I asked her about how she got started.
“Within two months I was moved to the restaurant first as a bus person, next as a host, then promoted to supervisor all in a one year span.”
“I then moved to the front office in 1988. I progressed quickly to front office manager in 1993, director of operations in 1999 and general manager in 2001.”
Patty said that during this time she fell in love with hotels and customer service and she could not imagine doing anything else.
“Front Office was by far the greatest learning opportunity for me. It taught me about strategic thinking and planning, how to coach and lead, how to handle difficult situations, and cost controls as well as profitability.“
“I had the opportunity to mentor under some exceptional leaders that took time and invested in my future. Customer service and problem solving was an area that I excelled and people started to notice my passion for the industry.”
Patty mentioned that the challenge and the changes are just some reasons why she loves her job so much.
“I love the customer interaction and the fact that I can make a difference. My team calls me ‘pop up Patty’, as I seem to pop up when needed and can almost instantly make a connection with the guest to set their minds at ease.”
“I love seeing the ‘AH HA’ moments with staff when they get the message I bring to them about engagement, service and how they make an impact by committing 110 per cent with every interaction”.
Patty wants everyone to know how proud she is about starting in the industry as a dishwasher and how she worked my her way up to a general manager.
“I learned so much along the way about myself and how to connect with people. I also learned what kind of leader I wanted to be at the start of my career back in the ’80s.”
I asked Patty what would be some advice she could give to someone looking to start their career in the hospitality industry. This is what she had to say,
“You must give 110 per cent at everything you do. Be honest and act with integrity always. Take great pride in each encounter and never underestimate that attitude and passion are key to success.”
“I love this province and the people in it”, Patty said.
“I love how diverse it has become over the last 35 years and that we are constantly told by visitors from far and wide that Saskatchewan people are the most friendly people they have had the pleasure to meet.”
Thanks to Patty for sharing her story and being a positive light on the hospitality industry.