Vincentian Rachel Browne is said to be one of two female Caribbean nationals managing five-star resorts in the region. (iWN photo)

The manager of a five-star hotel in the Caribbean says that if Vincentian youth are to position themselves as major players in the tourism industry, they “must be ready to make sure that you are equipped with the skill sets and the training to be influential players.

“You must ensure that we have a seat at the table when decisions are made about our product positioning, and we must be ready to manage and lead at the highest levels of both the tourism and hospitality sectors of the industry.”

This was the view of hotel and tourism executive Rachel Browne, an Antigua-based Vincentian who manages and co-owns Hermitage Bay in Antigua.

She told the New Democratic Party’s Youth Entrepreneur forum in Kingstown on Thursday that Vincentians must, therefore, grasp every opportunity and create opportunities for their own growth and self-development.

“You must be willing and open to new concepts and ideas, work hard, forge paths to your ultimate goals,” said Browne the keynote speaker at the forum.

The other speakers at the event were Ruth-Ann Lewis, a musician and entrepreneur, lawyer Meisha Cruickshank, Aria Laidlow, director of Programme Development, Commonwealth Youth Council and a specialist in environmental change, and St. Clair Leacock, Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown.

Browne told the youth that they must “make sure that your attitude towards work and life generally are sound and don’t ever forget that you must always exemplify a professional yet pleasant disposition.  

“You may think it old-fashioned to say ‘manners and behaviour get you through the world’, but know this:  those two personality traits are very significant ingredients in the tourism and hospitality businesses.”

Browne, who said she has been advised that she is one of only two female Caribbean nationals managing five-star resorts in the region, spoke of the disappointment and anger she felt after being fired from her first job at a bank after just three months.

Before becoming general manager and co-owner at Hermitage Bay, the Bishop’s College graduate worked at other five-star properties including Palm Island in the Southern Grenadines where she served as Island Manager.

She was also head of the Sales and Marketing efforts for St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the United Kingdom and Europe.

Browne encouraged persons looking for work in the hotel industry to look for opportunities for formal training. 

A section of the audience at Thursday’s event. (iWN photo)

“Far too often in my role, I meet bright young talented locals who are the best at their practical skill sets, but lacking the theoretical knowledge of things such as costing a menu, doing budgets and understanding the marketing side of the business.  Hence training is crucial — grasp it when it is offered, seek it where it’s available.

The mentality we must have is that of not only do we want to be the line cook — we want to be the executive chef; not only do we want to be the room attendant we want to be the executive housekeeper; not only do we want to be the front desk supervisor we want to be the head of operations; not only do we want to be the resident manager we want to be the general and we want to be owners — hold a meaningful stake in the business.”

The tourism executive said these are all attainable goals, but young people must be prepared.  

“Find mentors, find courses on line at local, regional and, International institutions.  Befriend people in the industry and set your plan in motion — so that when the big companies arrive with the ‘brand name’ hotels — we are in a position to say, ‘There is no need to issue that work permit for an executive chef, we have the talent and skill sets here to choose from.’”

6 replies on “Five-star hotel exec gives youth tips on industry success”

  1. Well said but omits the key factor of tourism potential, something Ms. Browne exemplifies in her own career history, first in Palm Island — rather than on our mainland — and now in Antigua — again rather than our mainland — both of which have magnificent tourism attractions even if on vastly different scale.

    The best training, motivation, intelligence, ambition, attitude, manners, and behaviour in the world are insufficient to reach the top of the tourist industry if that industry has little local prospect for growth and development.

    In short, her indirect message is that if you want to make it big time in the tourism industry, don’t look to our tourism-challenged mainland to do so.

    1. BEN…………ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES IS NOT ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER ….
      PERIOD .
      .
      THE PROBLEM WAS AND STILL IS THE GOV IN CHARGED PAST AND PRESENT HAS SOLD OUT OUR PRECIOUS RESOURCES AND ASSETS WITHOUT CONSIDERING THE MAINLAND ……JUST TO BENEFIT AND ENRICH THEMSELVES .
      BUT IT CAN BE AMENDED AND FIXED !!!!!!!!!!!

  2. A very good lecture; be prepared SVG is now open for business since the opening of AIA, So we are going to see more tourists.

  3. Any of us who have been involved as real pioneers in an industry will notice that this speech is just a motivational speech that could have been given by anyone off the street told to play a role before a crowd. I also did not like it when she says she is always meeting talented bright youth that are the best at thier practical skill sets but lack the theoretical knowledge…marketing skills, etc…She implies that these people cannot go anywhere and will go nowhere unless they go to a secondary school. Not only Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, but literally millions of people that are the most successful in the history of our planet did not go to school to gain worthless indoctrinated theoretical skills to become successful. I have met and known hundreds of these people, I know wealthy investors in SVG, here and abroad, that never went to secondary school and manage the managers of the most successful tourist entities in SVG. I know at least 20
    managers of hotels in SVG and many more managers of different business entities.
    I also know a British man in his thirties, from a wealthy family in the hospitality sector with multiple degrees in related fields of Hotel Management and such and his entities are on the cusp of going under! His father has no degree and keeps the family fortune afloat.
    In a nutshell what it takes to be successful in most any business venture is a good plan, capital and determined conviction. With these things a person can go much further than the indoctrinated products that come out of higher education institutions. Without these things a business will probably fail. It takes much more and much different qualities to be successful than what this woman tells us. I urge the reader to speak to the most successful people you know in any business enterprise and you will be shocked that very few of them come from the skill-set background this woman reccomends. I can think of people with high degrees in tourism that were put into the top positions of hotels in SVG and they were total failures. At the same hotels I can think of people with no tourist education put into the very same positions and did a great job and kept the hotels profitable. I can even think of a hotel that went under the management of a cook and became the leading hotel in SVG, until he left. So, in that case, what that woman says is totally wrong! That man had no secondary education, no theoretical education in marketing or anything, Instead he had the practical skills that this woman tells us should have kept him down. How wrong she was on that one!

    Keep an open mind and do not necessarily believe anything you hear from anyone who you are told are oracle(s) of correct thinking!

    1. WITH ALL DUE RESPECT YOUR COMMENT IS IGNORANT AND MISLEADING . HOW IS THIS WOMAN “TOTALLY” WRONG …………
      I DO AGREE ITS A MOTIVATIONAL SPEECH WHICH YOU MENTIONED . YOU ARE WRONG TO SAY STEVE JOBS AND BILL GATES HAD NO SCHOOLING , WHICH I THINK IT WASNT WHAT YOU MEANT . THEY DID NOT FINISH OR ATTENDED COLLAGES BUT THEY HAD SOME FORM OF THEORETICAL LEARNING ALONG THE LINE AT SOME DEGREE . NOT HAVING PROPER TRAINING IS LIKE TELLING A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD CARPENTER TO BUILD TEN STORY BUILDING OR BRIDGE OVER A RIVER .
      SHE ALSO DID NOT SAY , IF THEY DID NOT ATTEND SECONDARY SCHOOL THEY WOULD NOT BE SUCCESSFUL….ACCORDING TO YOU , THAT WAS A COMPLETE MISREPRESENTATION OF WHAT WAS ACTUALLY SAID .
      GENERALLY SPEAKING SOME PEOPLE NATURALLY ARE GIFTED AND BORN WITH GOD GIVEN TALENTS AND SOME MAY REACH THE TOP OF THE BAR WITHOUT FORMAL OR THEORETICAL TRAINING AND BECAUSE OF MANY UNCONVENTIONAL REASONS OR WISDOM . BUT FOR THE MAJORITY SOME FORM OF FORMAL TRAINING CAN HELP THEM FURTHER AND DO THEIR JOB MORE EFFICIENTLY AND PROFESSIONALLY AND NOT MEDIOCRE .
      I ALSO KNOW SOME PEOPLE AS YOU STATED AND A GREAT COOK ……BUT I AM SURE IT WILL HELP AND NOT HURT BY ADVANCE HIM IF HE FURTHER HIS KNOWLEDGE BY TRAINING UNDER AN EXECUTIVE CHIEF OR ATTENDING CULINARY SCHOOL

      IT WAS A VERY EMPOWERING SPEECH FROM SOMEONE WITH A PROVEN TRACK RECORD.

  4. CAN YOU POST MY RESPONSE TO ROBERTSON ………OH AND YOUR WEBSITE IS GIVING SERIOUS PROBLEMS LOADING AND NAVIGATING …

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