With a rewarding 16 years of hospitality career Pamini Hemaprabha’s work journey began with ITC Park Sheraton and Towers, Chennai in 2003. Hemaprabha has won many accolades in her professional journey including the very recent ones added to the list including ‘The Bést Women Achiever’s Award in Hospitality’ during the IWDA 2019 Awards ceremony held in Delhi, India and MECHF Awards 2019 in the category ‘The Personality of the Year’ in Dubai. She has worked in almost six countries including UAE, India, Qatar, Ruwanda, Austria, Myanmar etc. and has been associated with the best hotel brands across the globe. And that’s not all! Last year she even authored a book named “SAY NO’’.
Hemaprabha is a graduate from PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore, India, and a gold medalist from Bharathiar University. She soon started her career with the ITC group as Housekeeping Supervisor and Lady Butler and later was transferred to ITC Windsor - a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bengaluru in 2004. But this was just the beginning, as the next chapter of her illustrious career brought her to Dubai – a city of superlatives – in 2006. She joined Grand Hyatt as the Housekeeping Team leader and moved on to join the pre-opening team at Raffles Hotels & Resorts Dubai as Assistant Housekeeping Manager.
For a while she worked in Cairo, Egypt and after tying the knot in 2012 she moved back to Dubai to start work with Kempinski Hotel Mall of Emirates Dubai as Executive Housekeeper. During her three years tenure with Kempinski Hotels she became the Master Trainer of Kempinski group worldwide, got promoted to become Regional Rooms Specialist and had the opportunity to travel the world with the openings within Kempinski Hotels. She then bagged many roles with renowned hotel brands across different Emirates in the UAE. Early this year she joined the Marriott Group of Hotels.
Currently, she is the Complex Executive Housekeeper of Westin Mina Seyahi Complex, Marriott and looking after 400 plus keys with 15 plus outlets.
While growing up I was planning to join the Indian defense forces or become a lawyer as I come from an Indian Air Force family. Apparently, both these options didn’t work in my favour so I took up a degree in B.SC Catering Science and Hotel Management. Because of my family background I was fortunate enough to study and live in various states of India and that made me a people person and made my job much easier once I joined work. The initial years of my career were not very easy as my work profile demanded long working hours, ongoing training and a lot of running around. I wanted to excel in this field so I never gave up. I was fascinated with my job and started to explore by travelling to different countries and switching to brands. I learned a lot through networking, socializing and challenging myself with new tasks every year.
Drive and passion
I don’t like to get comfortable with a place or with mundane work, that’s why I love challenging myself withnew tasks and new projects every year. You can even call this as a huge driving factor. Besides, when I stared my career, I had faced lot of hurdles and came across colleagues whose leadership skills didn’t inspire me. Hence, I decided to bring in a new perspective in leadership roles especially in the field of housekeeping. I believe in emotional intelligence and leading the team in a smart manner rather than follow the laid standards. I am passionate about helping my colleagues grow in their career. I can proudly say that I have been successful in shaping more than 500 staff in helping them achieve their dreams in my 16 years of career. I love being a professional, author, mother, wife and I enjoy multitasking every day.
My biggest accomplishment is when I decided to move out of my home country at the age of 20. My second achievement was when I was promoted as the Director of Housekeeping at Fairmont Heliopolis in Cairo, Egypt at the age of 26. I believe winning awards in the categories ‘The Best Executive Housekeeper in Middle East’, The Best Executive Housekeeper in Asia’ and ‘Industry Personality of the Year’ will inspire my next generation and aspiring candidates to consider housekeeping as their career.
The best part of your job
The best part of my job is to help my team grow in their professional journey. At my current property I am leading more than 200 staff with great connect and support. Also, offering the best guest experience and living up to their expectations is very rewarding. To come up with a strategic plan and set budget for the department efficiently is extremely challenging and rewarding too. We also endeavour to always keep ourselves updated with the best practices and technologies available in the market for smooth operations.
We have monthly training calendars and dedicated departmental trainers who ensure training requirements are met diligently. I believe consistent training paired with activities like yoga, brain storming sessions and 15 minutes briefing before the day starts can bring the best out of everyone. I would also want to highlight while outsourcing manpower or services the staff should comply with the practices followed within the hotel industry. We need to organise more housekeeping related workshops, seminars and training sessions and make it a compulsion for every housekeeper to attend and share best practices.
Fulfilling the guest’s expectations and offering them with best guest experience consistently is something we work towards all the time. These days everyone including individuals and organisations have a presence on social media hence it is easier for the guests to voice their opinion. Their feedback can leave both a positive and a negative impression of the property and can lead to unhospitable situations. I always believe in looking at the brighter side of the coin and put in all the efforts to serve better. Today’s generation needs to be passionate about joining the housekeeping department and it should be considered as their first choice of career, not second. As a manager we have to ensure that the team is motivated for them to see their future in housekeeping.
I think as a human being it is every person’s responsibility and obligation to respect our planet and adhere to sustainable practices in their dayto- day life. We need to think about our next generations and make this planet a beautiful place to live in. I am happy to be part of the Marriott team where sustainability practices are a priority. We do encourage our guests to participate in our ‘Make a Green Choice’ campaign wherein they can limit their requirements with daily bed sheet and towels change, etc. Sustainability isn’t a choice anymore it’s an obligation and a responsibility.