Posted By: SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts
Interview: Carla Duggan, Controller, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott St. John’s Newfoundland
Carla is our Controller at Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott St. John’s Newfoundland, SilverBirch’s newest hotel opening this month! Carla grew up in Mount Pearl, NL and briefly lived in neighbouring St. John’s and not so neighbouring Yellowknife, before returning to Mount Pearl. Carla has 13 years of accounting experience in a variety of industries including: oil & gas, mining, territorial government, federal government, and IT. Carla loves to travel so the hospitality industry has always been of interest. About her first hotel experience, Carla says: ” When I took my first hotel job I did not know what to expect and I could not have imagined what it would be like to work on a property. I love it. I don’t ever want to go back to an office down a hallway where I see people once a month for month end. So boring!”.
Carla plays in the local CPA Pool League two nights a week (8 ball and 9 ball). This past February she played in a provincial doubles tournament where her and her partner won first place – a trip to a tournament in Las Vegas that she is looking forward to this August!
We asked Carla what she has learned during the opening process of a new hotel, “What have I learned… WOW… it has taught me that I know more than I thought about the business and yet I have so much more to learn!”.
We proudly stand behind all we do and say.
We are professionals who can be trusted.
SBHR: What does Integrity mean to you?
CD: To me integrity is doing what you know to be right, whether someone is looking or not. Most people will do the right thing if there are witnesses or if they fear they will get caught. Real integrity is doing the right thing when you are the only one that will know.
SBHR: Why is the Integrity value so important to you?
CD: As a base, it was how my parents raised me. They instilled in me a strong sense of right and wrong from a very young age. When I was four years old, I took a tiny gobstopper from a local store when I thought no one was looking. My mother saw me, but said nothing. By the time we were in the car I could not bear it any longer and promptly confessed and apologized. I vowed never to steal again. I remember feeling so bad for having taken it, but I also remember (after a stern warning to not do it again) realizing that my mother was testing me… and I passed.
At its heart, integrity is about trust, and if you don’t have that you don’t have much. I once read that “there is no such thing as a minor lapse in integrity” and I agree.
SBHR: How does the Integrity value guide you in your day to day life?
CD: In completing most daily activities or transactions knowing what is right is fairly easy, and easy to do. Some situations require more complex analysis. Again, it comes back to trust. I am entrusted with safeguarding our assets, reporting financial results, advising other managers on financial matters, among other things. I take that responsibility very seriously, not only because it is my job but because I am committed to doing my best for my property and for the company as a whole.
On the personal side, I value my relationships with family and friends above all else. Having their respect and trust is paramount and I would never want to let them down. I know that by acting with integrity they will never be disappointed.
SBHR: Why do you think the Integrity value is important to an organization?
CD: The integrity of an organization is dependent on the integrity of all the individuals within. We are SilverBirch. That pretty much says it all. We must conduct ourselves in a way that shows our guests that we can be trusted (there is that word again!) We have the same duty to show our fellow associates that we can be trusted and counted on.
SBHR: Can you share an example of when you witnessed an associate exemplify Integrity?
CD: We have just hired most of our associates so I have not had an opportunity to witness an example here however I certainly have in previous positions I have held.
A former employee of mine was sorting the mail one day and found in an envelope a fifty dollar bill. The only other item in the envelope was a small hand written note that said something along the lines of “I stayed at your hotel a couple of weeks ago and had breakfast at the lounge on my floor. I did not pay for breakfast. Sorry.” There was no name or return address on the envelope or note. First, I think it was impressive that this person did this; we did not have any records of a walkout. And second, the employee that opened the envelope was completely alone at the time and could have easily pocketed the cash but instead she brought it to my attention for review.