'New functions without ever leaving the company'
How did you end up working at the Okura?
I started at Hotel Okura Amsterdam when I was still studying. As an apprentice of a hotelschool, I worked in both the kitchen and the room service department. After I furthered my education at the hotel school in Leeuwarden, I came into contact with someone from the HR department. Before I knew it, I had an interview and after that, thing went fast. Three weeks later, I was hired as a service employee in the Serre Restaurant, without any experience in service.
How did your career develop from that point on?
After a year, I was asked to become supervisor. A great honor, because I always had the ambition to develop myself. Eventually, I made the adventurous choice to go to a completely different department; I became assistant chief steward (dishwashing department). I wanted to gain more knowledge and experience in a managing position within a hotel, so the transfer to such an important department with a group of 27 team members was a nice challenge. After that, things went fast as well. The trust was there and at the moment, I am the chief steward.
At this point, you are already with the company for 5 years, how do you see your future?
Now that I have a better insight in what the hotel business looks like, I know that my focus is clearly on F&B. My goal is to eventually be in the F&B management, so less the actual managing of specific departments and more thinking on a strategic level. I feel that I would have to make a lot of other steps to get there, so I want to do that by making another step towards a different department in the future. For example, to gain experience as an assistant chef in a department like banqueting or one of the restaurants. By doing so, you are building on a broad knowledge base, that will all be useful at some point in the future.
What would you like future colleagues to know about working at Hotel Okura Amsterdam?
In terms of possibilities to develop yourself I know that the options in this hotel are enormous, if you want something than it is possible. But you will have to pursue it yourself, be proactive. It will only work to your advantage. An example of this is my participation in the Young Professionals program. I had to apply for the training on own initiative and looking back, I can say that it has been the ultimate development, I will use these experiences for the rest of my life.