Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 11th 2015 Contents "Whatever you want, go after it and work hard."
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October 11, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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By Bavina Sookdeo
THREE WOMEN of Hyatt Regency Trinidad have been
creating huge, positive impacts on the hotel and its em-
ployees. The three, Nicola Teelucksingh, Dessi Ann
Williams-Alexis and Valeena Pinnock, started their careers
at the lower end of the Hyatt ladder, but they have man-
aged to climb all the way to the top because of their de-
termination and hard work.
Nicola, Beverage Manager, holds an MBA, with a special-
ization in Entrepreneurial Studies. Outlets Manager, Dessi
Ann, holds a degree in Restaurant Management from
UWI, a Bachelor's in Communications, and an MBA in
Child Psychology. She has also pursued Events Manage-
ment. Valeena, a Jamaican, heads the Stewarding Depart-
ment, and holds a Hotel Management degree from UWI.
Valeena's goal is service excellence to all guests. She man-
ages a team of 28 associates, three supervisors and one
assistant manager. Nicola is directly responsible for the
successful performance of the Lobby Lounge and Infinity
Pool Bar. She manages a team of 30 beverage associates
and two supervisors. Dessi-Ann is responsible for the ef-
ficient operation of the full-service Waterfront Restaurant,
Cinnamon Coffee Shop and In-Room Dining operations.
She manages a team of two assistant managers, six su-
pervisors and 40 food and beverage associates --- and
these are just SOME of their roles and responsibilities.
All three have been at the Hyatt since the pre-opening in
2007. "It was something new in Trinidad and it seemed
really exciting to be a part of the pre-opening," they say.
"Hyatt is well known worldwide as an employer of choice,
and that showed. The person who interviewed us seemed
more like a friend. We also came because of its interna-
What does it feel like, being women in these leadership
roles? While they feel good knowing they are now man-
agers, caring for their associates remain their focus.
"Some are single mothers and single fathers," Nicola says,
"We have to balance their needs with hotel needs. We
have to be mothers, supporters, and even if we are not
feeling our best, we have to be energized and positive, be-
cause our attitudes affect them. Employees can call us at
any time of the night -- the responsibility of a manager ex-
tends beyond the walls of the hotel... it is like we are a fam-
ily." Dessi-Ann, a mother of three, says, "It all has to do
with balance and planning. I even find time to go to the
Despite leading lives of their own and helping to balance
the lives of their associates, the three have managed to
cop several quarterly and annual awards. So what are
their secrets to success? Nicola insists that one should
treat others how one expects to be treated (especially as
a manager). Valeena says that one should always remem-
ber that, "You are as good as your last work. You cannot
be judged by what you did years ago, and it's very impor-
tant to keep God in the mix." Dessi-Ann's secret to success
is remembering that, "Honesty is the best policy, and there
is a force bigger than us."
They praised their General Manager, Russell George, their
Director and Assistant Director, for encouraging them to
be who they are today. Ronan Doherty, Director of Food
& Beverage, said about the trio: "Reflecting on working
with these three strong women, I'm reminded that they
make up 50 percent of our senior leadership in our Food
and Beverage Division. It truly is a pleasure to see Dessi-
Ann and Valeena, who first started with Hyatt as super-
visors, and Nicola, who began her Hyatt career as an
Engineering Coordinator, succeed in the way they have. It
makes me proud to share my Hyatt journey with these
very talented managers". The three women are diverse
and efficient, and they know each other's roles well so
they can step in the shoes of each other at any time.
They take their employees on outings, reward them with
prizes, host cook-outs and give awards for top performers.
"We advocate equal opportunity," said Nicola, "as long as
you have the drive for it and the passion, then no em-
ployee should be held back. Whatever you want, go after
it and work hard; that is what we advocate."
This has become a reality for Valeena, as she has been of-
fered and has accepted a promotion at Hyatt Regency
Louisville in Kentucky as the Event Services Manager/Ex-
ecutive Steward. She takes up this position today --- Oc-
So what advice do these strong women have to offer to
other women? Nicola says, "A man would apply for a job
without having the qualifications and he will get the job
and learn it well, but women are sometimes shy and afraid
to ask... if you want a job, ask for it." Agreeing with her,
Dessi-Ann adds, "Don't limit yourself. Anything you see
out there, go for it. Being a mother and wife should not
stop you from becoming who you want to become. If you
need support, find it! Don't limit yourself as a woman."
Valeena insists that women should not doubt themselves,
and adds, "With a good relationship with God, everything
is possible. Women should remember to be supporters of
each other and not compete with each other."
from left to right): Valeena Pinnock, Nicola Teelucksingh, Dessi-Ann Williams-Alexis.
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