Xanthe Francis AIH graduated from University of Surrey in 2017 and immediately joined the Institute to support her professional development. Here she discusses her current role in the Royal Household and how she makes the most of her IoH membership.
What is it that attracted you to the hospitality industry?
My childhood love of eating and cooking was the first stepping stone for me wanting to work in hospitality. I sought a career where I could help to create the same enjoyable experiences for others.
Which area of the industry do you work in and why did this appeal to you?
I work as a Senior Footman for the Royal Household. After a productive year in industry with the Royal Household as a Footman, I was fortunate to be offered a permanent position on graduating, and have recently been promoted to Senior Footman. What I most enjoy is working with a highly-skilled team to deliver exceptional hospitality- whatever the event, we always endeavour to achieve the highest standards. It is also an organisation which puts a great emphasis on personal development.
Who has inspired you the most in your career or whilst studying?
Whilst studying International Management at the University of Surrey, I was particularly inspired by Karen. Her dedication to her subject area (Restaurant Operations and Management) and her students was refreshing. Although, I was only taught by her in my first year, she continued to act as a source of encouragement for the duration of my degree often enquiring about my progress and offering encouragement, advice and some much needed reality checks!
Describe a highlight in your career so far…
Working for the Royal Household has been my career highlight, as it is a privilege to be part of organising their unique range of events. It is always a highlight to see guests enjoying our hospitality, especially in the backdrop of the royal residences. It is also great to work alongside like-minded colleagues who support each other in both our personal and professional development.
What would you say to someone considering having a career in hospitality?
To any who wishes to pursue a hospitality career, I would fully recommend it. The industry thrives on the passion and commitment of the people working in it. Be proactive about your career as there is a breadth of opportunities, initiatives and support to help you on your way. Hospitality is dynamic and diverse and it is always gratifying to see the results of your hard work.
How has being a member of the Institute of Hospitality helped you?
As a student member of the Institute of Hospitality, I benefited from having access to a variety of resources to support my academic work. I also attended the flagship event Passion4Hospitality which was an opportunity to mix with other students and learn about graduate careers. This was also my first opportunity to present myself as an aspiring hospitality professional and it helped me to gain self-confidence.
As part of the Class of 2017, I am able to keep up-to-date with hospitality trends though the newsletters and quarterly magazines from the Institute of Hospitality. Also, I have attended events with the Institute of Hospitality that have been both interesting and beneficial.
I am also part of the Mentor Me scheme where I have been matched with an Institute of Hospitality Fellow who has a wealth of experience and who has been a great coach. They have helped me create a career map and set goals for my professional development which is a great thing to have access to at the start of my career. The Institute of Hospitality has provided me with opportunities to learn from professionals, build my professional network and attend training sessions to develop my hospitality career.