Louise Balderson AIH is on Hilton’s UK & Ireland Management Development Programme, an 18 month, 2 placement programme which focuses on Food and Beverage and Front Office operations. Hilton now also support their graduates’ professional development by sponsoring Institute of Hospitality Associate membership for them.
What was it that attracted you to the hospitality industry?
My career in hospitality started in the restaurant sector, and I quickly realised that I had a genuine love for creating memorable experiences for my guests. I also learned that the industry allows you to develop and grow, both professionally and personally, whilst offering a dynamic, rewarding and exciting career option.
Which area of the industry do you work in and why did this appeal to you?
I am currently part of the Hilton’s UK & Ireland Management Development Programme, an 18 month, 2 placement programme which focuses on Food and Beverage and Front Office operations. This programme particularly interested me as it gave me the opportunity to develop my leadership skills whilst working at the heart of the hotel’s day-to-day operations.
Who has inspired you the most in your career or whilst studying?
During my career I have had the pleasure of working with some great managers and tutors, however, I would say that the general manager of my first part-time job, which I held during my college studies, inspired me to pursue a career in hospitality. The passion which he had for hospitality was unmistakable and this influenced the whole team. His contagious positive energy created a great environment for the team to work in.
Describe a highlight in your career so far….
During my placement year at university, I was fortunate enough to be offered a position working in the Food and Beverage team at a five-star private country club in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was very interesting to experience the difference between British and American styles of hospitality first-hand, whilst also having the opportunity to immerse myself in the American culture.
What would you say to someone considering having a career in hospitality?
I would fully recommend the hospitality industry as a career option, the wide variety of sub-sectors allow you to find an area of the hospitality industry that you are truly passionate about. The hospitality industry also allows you to interact with guests that travel from all over the world and work with colleagues from a variety of different cultures on a daily basis.
How has being a member of the Institute of Hospitality helped you?
Being part of the Institute of Hospitality’s Class of 2017 has allowed me to stay informed with the latest hospitality news and trends through the newsletters and quarterly magazines. Also, I have been paired with an Institute of Hospitality Fellow through the Mentor Me scheme; my mentor has helped me to create a set of professional goals and give advice on a variety of work-related topics which have been very beneficial to my development.