Meet Gabrielle Le Roux AIH, Service Academy Programme Manager at BaxterStorey. Gabrielle shares with us her career to date and her thoughts on the industry and why she values being a Member.
Tell us about your current role at Baxter Storey.
I am part of the Learning and Development team and head up the Service Academy which is focused on developing our front of house team members. Within the Academy we look after an apprenticeship programme, WSET wine training, Service Auditing as well as offering additional ad hoc training and support to our teams.
What gives you the most job satisfaction in the workplace?
Seeing how people respond to training, and how their confidence grows and you can see how much more engaged they are in their roles. I also really enjoy working in an environment that is supportive of new ideas, and supports bringing them to fruition.
Did you always want to work in hospitality?
I originally planned on studying law. Alongside school I worked part time at a restaurant, I always loved going in for my shifts; but a career in hospitality initially didn’t occur to me as an obvious career path until I was pointed in the right direction!
What attracted you to the industry?
Being able to take care of people, which is essentially what we do regardless of whether it’s for a couple of minutes, hours, days or weeks. There is something so personal about hospitality – we are often part of some really special moments in people’s lives, and through what we do we offer an emotive experience. We make people ‘feel’ a certain way – and that’s what guests leave with. I think this is really special, and working within the industry gives me a real sense of meaning and purpose.
Who has been your biggest inspiration in your career?
I’ve been fortunate in having someone inspiring at every stage and in every role I’ve had so far, and they’ve all played such an important role. I also work with some of the most fantastic people with great energy and passion which really spurs me on day to day.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Be yourself and stay humble.
Tell us about your most memorable day at work.
I was fortunate to be pulled in last minute to support a private dinner event hosted by our sales team in a very historic location in London. Not only was the event very special, but what was most memorable is how people from across the business and departments pulled together, no questions asked. There was just such a positive, exciting energy around the whole event and the lead up to it, that it’s really stayed with me.
What is the biggest challenge the hospitality industry is facing right now?
I’ll sound like a broken record, but definitely recruitment. We are still battling a stigma that working in hospitality isn’t a career. I’m grateful that I was shown there are a lot of exciting opportunities to be had, and I hope as an industry we can continue to highlight these and ultimately increase recruitment into the sector.
How do you like to switch off in your spare time?
Apart from the usual friends and family, I have a stack of about 10 great books to get through so a lot of reading at the moment. I volunteer once a week and am trying to (and mostly failing) get fit. I also love a good documentary!
As a member of the Institute of Hospitality, which elements of the membership do you use the most?
Definitely networking by attending events. I think it’s incredibly important not only to support your career progression, but it’s a great personal support to have a group of people you know from across the industry and different sectors.