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ahs hospitality were proud to have 21 of our team members recognised as finalists at the HM Awards 2020. In one of the industry's most challenging years, there were so many working within the hospitality industry that deserved recognition for their fortitude and determination throughout the pandemic period.
When the winners were announced we were all so delighted as two of our Housekeeping Managers from our 21 finalists were called out. Firstly, Christian Tapia was highly commended by our industry for his hard work throughout the year, and then Sharleen Wells was awarded the highest accolade as Housekeeper of the Year 2020.
Our Hotel Management Award Winner
Sharleen Wells achieved this accolade due to her resourcefulness and hands-on approach to leadership. We caught up with Sharleen to find out how she felt about winning the award and what this past year has meant for her:
What was your reaction when you found out you won housekeeper of the year 2020?
My reaction was one of disbelief and pride. My team are the true winners of this award, so in saying that I was extremely happy our work was recognised.
How did you celebrate your achievement?
With my hotel still operating there hasn’t been a chance to celebrate just yet, but I plan to celebrate with the team in the new year.
How did you start your career in hospitality?
My career in housekeeping started in 2002 at a Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport, I was hired as a public area and room attendant. I started working for ahs hospitality in 2009 at the Hotel Grand Chancellor. Over the years I have worked at The Cullen , Quay West Suites, Ibis Styles Kingsgate Hotel and Best Western Melbourne City Hotel.
What was your experience working in hotels during the Australian bushfires and Covid-19 outbreak?
My experience of working during the pandemic outbreak has been a humbling one. Ibis Styles Kingsgate Hotel took on the accommodation services for the homeless in Melbourne. These were not our usual clientele and we needed a lot of adjusting, our rooms were often found dishevelled, and our guests were sometimes intimidating and unpredictable. My staff needed an ear to listen, a shoulder for comfort, a break for clarity, or even just time to adjust. My job has remained the same but the way I handle and manage things has changed.
What are your top tips for housekeepers hoping to become Housekeeper of the Year in 2021?
Work with your team, lead by example, and lastly... expect the unexpected.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy meeting different people daily and knowing that I am responsible for a fantastic team.
What was the most challenging part of your job during 2020?
The most challenging part of my job during 2020 was ensuring the safety of my team and understanding the needs of our guests who may have never stayed in a hotel before.
What was your most memorable workplace moment from 2020?
The most memorable moment was when my team showed up to work with food and cakes to acknowledge a guest's birthday. Seeing my team accept these people and treat them like humans has been priceless. Ibis Styles Kingsgate Hotel used to be the people’s palace and in 2020 it went back to that.
Recognition and Reward
We reflected on the Housekeeper of the Year nomination submission for Sharleen and found these two testimonials from Sharleen's Managers:
“She loves the daily challenges of managing both properties and consistently strives to achieve ahs’ high-quality standards. Even when working under very high-pressure situations, she consistently delivered a standout performance. Her empathy, patience and great sense of humour were invaluable throughout challenging times.”
- Ilonka Verwey, Operations Manager, Victoria
“She is a great trainer and is always focused towards developing her team to achieve success both personally and professionally. She has built strong relationships and is well-respected among hotel management, staff, guests and all her colleagues.”
- Mika Verosaari, General Manager for Victoria & Tasmania
Sharleen has maintained her attentive, resourceful and supportive nature, during very trying times. Sharleen and her team have dealt with challenging situations with competency and control. She has been a hands-on leader, often on the frontline helping fellow colleagues and leaders with emergency situations.
Sharleen has been outstanding this year and we at ahs hospitality are proud to call her our industry's Housekeeper of the Year for 2020.
Want to learn more about becoming Housekeeper of the Year? Read our interview with Agnes Kapani-Voly, our Housekeeper of the Year for 2019.