What are your short and long-term goals in your role as general manager?
The short-term goals will be to go back to the basics of service and customer satisfaction with an intuitive and personalised approach to the needs of every guest, and to establish a great relationship with my team, giving them regular feedback in one-on-one meetings … The long-term goal would be to establish The RuMa as a unique venue and the place to stay when visiting Kuala Lumpur, due to the incredible story behind its creation, our commitment to local cultures, and our philosophy of hostmanship.
What has been your most memorable and significant career moment thus far?
There have been quite a few, honestly. I think every key promotion received during my career has made a significant impact on me, but the turning point was my departure from Dubai in 2009 to join The Datai Langkawi as executive assistant manager, which then created the opportunity for me to achieve the general manager’s position in 2012 in Bangalore, India.
One of my more memorable moments was when I was leaving one of my previous hotels. The team told me that I had been the best manager they had ever worked for, and they still keep in touch with me regularly, even after many years, recalling events and the challenges that we faced together and how we managed to survive them. This makes me feel proud, like I have done something good there.
What is your favourite aspect of the job?
Meeting guests, as I am a people person, as well as interacting with my team on any level, from the maids in housekeeping to my No 2. I like to establish connections with people and to make a difference, really going down to the human factor. I value interaction and discuss every kind of topic with guests and colleagues while maintaining a professional style.
What are some of your favourite ways to unwind after work?
Within minutes of reaching home, I must spend time with my little boy. Lately, we have been pulling out our Hot Wheels car collection and the curvy mounted track, and we have a few goes with that. After that, I change into some comfortable clothing and take possession of the kitchen and start preparing the mise en place for the meal. I have a great passion for cooking.
What book are you reading at the moment?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s a wonderful novel about the journey of a shepherd in search of a treasure — the treasure is you!
Having worked in different parts of the world, which is your favourite country to live in?
Every place I have worked and lived has given me something special over the years. Malaysia gives me a sense of peace, connecting me with the natural environment and a variety of ethnicities. Being married to a Malaysian, and with my son being born here, we decided to settle down in Langkawi and to build our home there, I can’t wait for the house to be ready!
This article appeared on Oct 1, 2018 in The Edge Malaysia. Stay tuned for updates on the opening of The RuMa.