Business of Happiness

Business of Happiness

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SHANG YINGZI

CHIEF CONCIERGE

AMARA SINGAPORE

Women are more empowered now than ever before – and many are thriving in the Business of Happiness. This International Women’s Day, six female hotel leaders share how they have each found fulfilment and success in their chosen hotel career.

#PassionMadePossible #BizofHappiness #100AmbassadorsOfHappiness #Workforahotel

What made you decide to join the industry? I never thought I’d join the hospitality industry. I have a degree in Business and a diploma in Quality Engineering & Management. But at a career fair, I met this lady who encouraged me to apply and interviewed me the next day – and that’s how she became my Concierge Manager.

What made me stay and fall in love with my job has a lot to do with my personality: I don’t like being deskbound, and I love interacting with people. In my job, you get to talk to people from all over the world.

Tell us about your role and your day to day duties. The mornings are very busy. I assist Reception with guest check-ins and check-outs. We get a lot of corporate guests here since we’re in the CBD area, so it’s all about getting taxis and finding out how to get the guests to their offices. We also recommend attractions, places to go to and food to try.

Apart from my own Concierge duties at the lobby, I oversee the Concierge team which includes the Bell Captains, Bellmen, Valets and Drivers to ensure that everyone is working together well. I also help groom new Amara Ambassadors to perform according to the hotel’s standards.

What’s the most fulfilling experience you’ve had in your career so far? I remember the time when I took some guests out in 2013. We booked a hotel car and we took them on a sightseeing tour from the car. We didn’t get out of the car because one of the guests was physically unable to, but I recommended and showed them some of the interesting places in Singapore.

What does being a woman in the workplace today mean to you? Equality of opportunity. Women with ability should not get fewer opportunities than their male counterparts to advance in their careers – to be honest, I think we’ve made good progress in the hotel industry.

How supportive is the industry in helping women like you succeed? Based on my own experience, very supportive. I was able to move rapidly from Guest Services Agent to Supervisor, and then to Chief Concierge in six years. My Front Office Manager from my previous hotel believed in me and enabled me to climb the career ladder.

That said, of course, there’s still more we can do to improve. There are still some departments where women don’t seem to be able to find very much success. For example, you don’t see many female head chefs right now. Which is pretty ironic to me, considering the age-old stereotype that women ‘belong in the kitchen’.

Do you have a female role model that you look up to? I love Ellen DeGeneres. She brings people joy and inspires you to do likewise. She really brings alive the truth that there’s no better way to be happy than to make others happy, which is exactly what we aim to do in the hotel industry.

Congratulations on being accepted into the Les Clefs d’Or. Can you tell us about what it is and what it stands for? Thank you! Les Clefs d’Or is also known as the Society of the Golden Keys. To get in is to be recognised as a top-level concierge. It’s a great honour, but it’s also a huge responsibility. Because, when people see you wearing the Golden Keys lapel pin, they expect the very best from you. You are to provide excellent service to a guest’s request.

It’s really not easy to get the membership. Beyond being a good concierge, you have to be active in their meetings and events, such as Run for Hope. So it’s something I’m very proud of, especially because there are just a handful of women who are in Les Clefs d’Or in Singapore right now. Fewer than 10, I think. I hope we inspire younger female concierges to believe in themselves and reach their full potential.

What advice would you give to women who want to work in the industry? Believe in yourself and your capabilities. Have the confidence to try new things. We all have our unique skills and experiences that we can put to use at work.