Posted By: SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts
Interview: Jay Gillette, Manager, Risk and Environment
Jay is a risk management and environmental specialist with previous experience in the Royal Canadian Navy and the greenhouse gas management industry. He has developed and implemented risk management and information management systems for businesses, including governance policies, standardized workflows, inventory databases, and sustainability reporting.
Jay encourages business efficiencies by ensuring risks are proactively and accurately addressed. His work ethic, organized behaviour, and his ability to get along well with his colleagues helps to shape his management capability and his leadership.
After his first career in the Royal Canadian Navy, Jay decided to pursue a career in business. After graduating from business school, he started as an intern but quickly advanced to more and more senior roles, while continuing to advance his formal education, focusing on risk management. He now works as the Manager, Risk and Environment, for SilverBirch Hotels and Resorts.
In his free time, Jay enjoys cooking, camping, hiking, and reading. Jay has lived in Newfoundland, northern and southern British Columbia, Alberta, and Nova Scotia.
SBHR: What value is most important when you think about your role as Manager, Risk & Environment?
JG: Engagement, with a focus on care. We have a duty of care that we owe to all of our guests and to each other, so ensuring a safe environment for everyone is of paramount importance for a risk manager. As I develop risk management at SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts, I keep a strong focus on this value.
Growth is also important to keep in mind. A growing company will change and with that comes a change in the risks it faces. To achieve successful growth, we need strong risk management practices. I need to ensure that we have the right programs and protections in place that allows our team to make informed decisions with minimized risk exposure.
SBHR: In your role you are working with many different teams. What value do you keep top of mind when juggling these different experiences?
JG: I have to appreciate the different perspectives that people bring to the table. To do this, it’s important that I really listen to my colleagues, and so I keep that in mind when meeting with different teams. That helps me to understand how people are managing risk and how we can get better.
Working with many different teams also has the added benefit of being exposed to a lot of great ideas, which I can then pass on. When hotel staff explains a novel way they deal with a risk, I can pass that knowledge on to our other properties. In that sense I help to facilitate and distribute strong risk management practices.
SBHR: what do you “value” the most in your role?
JG: The people I work with. Both in our corporate offices and at our hotels, we have a strong and willing team. I am able to do my job effectively because so many people around me do theirs effectively. Everyone in our organization manages risk in some form, so as the risk manager I see people as the key to our success in this area. It’s an incredibly huge benefit to be on such a high-calibre team and it’s what I value the most in my role.
SBHR: In your involvement with our company in respect to the environment, what value(s) has (ve) been most helpful to you in this process?
JG: When it comes to being stewards of the environment, integrity is vital. We need to ensure that we do the right thing, which is not only ensuring we meet all legal and regulatory requirements related to the environment, but also going the extra step. This can be in the form of extra testing, green teams at hotels, or policies that we develop around selecting suppliers. Our guests expect this integrity in us, and so we have an obligation to deliver it.
SBHR: Of all of our values, which one influences your day to day activities the most?
JG: I’d have to go with engagement, although it’s difficult to choose just one. Whether it’s working on strategies with my direct team, working with hotels to address risks to the guest experience, or tying the two together, being engaged and caring about what we do here has a direct effect on how well we perform. Being engaged in my work will have a direct effect on how successful and useful my day-to-day activities are and how those contribute to the success of SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts.
SBHR: What is the most rewarding experience you have encountered working in previous roles?
JG: In my previous role we helped advance technologies in industrial settings that often improved efficiency while reducing environmental impacts. It was great to be a part of positive change; we’re going through plenty of changes at SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts, and I’m confident it’ll be another rewarding experience for me.