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The women behind the success of The St Regis Abu Dhabi

UAE Business

To mark the celebration of International Women’s Day, the St Regis Abu Dhabi has recognised some of its most inspiring female leaders who continuously drive the hotel's success in a tough market through their leadership, passion, expertise and hard work.

The dynamic women at the St Regis Abu Dhabi share their insights and own strategies on how they achieved success, work-life balance and thrive in their workplace as they know it with their contribution.

Sona Shah, director of marketing, executive committee member
Having joined the hotel in February 2017, Shah is a valued leader and currently the only female member of the Executive Committee at the hotel. She leads the marketing department including the management of strategic planning, content development, digital landscape, events, brand activation, loyalty programs, public relations and advertising. 

Sona shares that she is a strong believer in coaching and mentoring those women who face similar challenges when it comes to their careers across the globe. "I have been lucky to work with great mentors who have believed in me and promoted equal opportunities. I aim to lead by example as well in order to inspire others.”

Zoe Zkeri, director of spa
Zkeri hails from Greece and joined The St. Regis Abu Dhabi originally as guest relation manager in June 2013 and was promoted to assistant director of spa and recreation in 2014.

Zoe strongly believes that “we all make each other better by listening, guiding and inspiring and by finding a work-life balance: Women tend to manage everything at the same time with the wish of full satisfaction, but we have to prioritise and allow ourselves to let some things go.”

Tanja Simolke, account director groups and catering sales
A German national, Simolke started her career at The St. Regis Abu Dhabi in 2012 as an events coordinator. By April 2017 she worked her way up to account director, groups and catering within the sales department at the hotel.

Simolke believes it is important to focus on a balanced lifestyle and to make time for yourself. “I recharge by going to the gym and spending time with close friends. Friends become your family and support system as for many expats living in a foreign country.” Finally, she says: “In order to be successful you have to overlook your fear of failure and take a risk.”

Anika De Jongh, assistant restaurant manager, The Terrace on the Corniche
De Jong started her career as an intern at Crystal Lounge in 2014. She was promoted to the Supervisory level at the hotel’s at Azura Lounge in 2015 and then transferred to The Terrace at the Corniche, where she was promoted to her current role in October 2017.

When describing what Anika loves most about working at The St. Regis Abu Dhabi, Anika said: “I am very proud to work for the St Regis Abu Dhabi, with all of the achievements, the variety of clientele and its reputation in the capital. The Senior Management empowers me to make decisions, to be creative and to motivate others, which makes me confident that I can be a great leader to colleagues from a wide variety of diverse backgrounds and nationalities and we achieve great results together with the whole team.”

Emmylou Pabualan, revenue management executive
Pabualan, a Philippines national, joined the hotel in its pre-opening stage. Pabualan took all opportunities to grow from a reservations agent in 2013 to the hotel’s revenue management executive.

Pabualan said: “Women’s leadership is an important topic to me and I strive to be the best I can be and believe it is important to start every day with a positive mindset and to interact with everyone in a kind and compassionate way, no matter if it’s a manager, colleague or guest.”

Karen Joyce Goce, assistant human resources manager
Goce was also part of the pre-opening team and re-joined the hotel in April 2016 as assistant human resources manager.

When asked how she feels empowered to be her best at work, she answered: “I am a working mum and I really appreciate that this is a not seen as a disadvantage. I do my best because I am motivated and valued. I know my opinion and decision in my area is respected regardless of my gender.”

Moustafa Sakr, general manager, said: “As with most Middle East Hotels a quarter of our staff are female and at the St Regis Abu Dhabi we are a diverse group of people working together and proud of our talented female team, so much so that in 2017 alone we promoted 18 of our female associates to a higher position. I am proud to have a strong female leader on my hotel executive committee as well as talented, ambitious and passionate female leaders that drive our hotel business across all departments to deliver the successful results we have achieved over the last few months. The results speak for itself, this is a great example of hard work and commitment our female colleagues at the hotel show. I strongly believe that when we encourage women to have the courage and confidence to actively use their leadership skills and expertise, we create a very sincere, trusted and balanced culture, with exemplary female leaders that inspire others at our hotel.” - TradeArabia News Service

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