Posted By: SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts
Interview: Susan Thomson, Director of Catering, Radisson Hotel Edmonton South
We make the company successful.
We will work towards growth of the business,
and we will grow as individuals too.
Although Susan was born and raised in Newfoundland she is actually the only “Newfie” in her family. Her parents moved to Canada from Scotland back in 1956. With a few years in Toronto and in Montreal, her Father was transferred to St. John’s. He and her Mother loved it there so much that when he was transferred again, he quit his job and found a new one so that they didn’t have to leave. With both Canadian and British Citizenship Susan decided to move to London England in 2001 where she had an opportunity to work for a small hotel/pub/restaurant company, Young & Co. Living in London for 4 years before returning to Canada was an amazing experience for Susan; she believes that the people, the travel and the history that she was able to learn about and explore was one of the best experiences she’s ever had. Susan returned to Canada in 2005 joining the SilverBirch Family, she boasts that it has been “a very exciting time to be a part of this organization”.
SBHR: What does Growth mean to you?
ST: Although growing revenue is a driving force for me personally and SilverBirch as a company, I strongly believe it is equally important that our associates have the opportunity to grow with us too. Whether it is empowering them to make independent decisions, encouraging them in an educational opportunity or assisting them with their succession plans; growth is what we need to do to help them be successful in their professional and personal lives.
SBHR: Why is the Growth value so important to you?
ST: It is what I measure myself against. I need to keep moving forward, trying new things and giving myself goals to meet and exceed. It is one of the reasons I decided to apply to get my CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) designation. I have been approved to move forward and will be writing the CMP exam this fall. Learning new things is something that I will continue to do, I was not always the best with change but I have come to realize that it is necessary and the surprising thing is that you never know where it could lead you.
SBHR: How does the Growth value guide you in your day to day life?
ST: It is important that we are always growing, otherwise we won’t succeed. Without an opportunity for growth our associates become bored and move on to other opportunities. Without growing our properties and what they can offer we risk losing our guests.
SBHR: Why do you think the Growth value is important to an organization?
ST: Having the opportunity for it is an amazing feeling. I am an example of how strongly SilverBirch feels about opportunities for growth from within. I began as a one stop catering consultant in 2005, now almost 8 years later and three additional roles along the way I have met one of my personal goals, to be a Director of Catering. The internal support I received along the way from colleagues and supervisors was instrumental to me reaching my “Growth” goal. When your associates know that they have opportunity within the organization, that they can move forward and achieve their own goals, you have a stronger team that are invested in themselves and the organization.
SBHR: Can you share an example of when you witnessed an associate exemplify Growth?
ST: Our property had a challenging year for the social market in 2012. We were lucky to have Nicky Gendron join our team as our wedding/social Conference Services Manager. Nicky took it as her personal mission to not just meet but to double the number of weddings in 2013. Not only did she achieve this goal, she has more than tripled it for 2013. This alone is an achievement to be proud of, but while doing this she also managed to be a full time student finishing a bachelor’s degree in hospitality in May of this year, and if that was still not enough she has completed a training course directed to the LGBT market and is currently finishing a course on having a “Green Wedding” while maintaining her participation in both our social and health & safety committees. Her dedication to both her profession and her personal growth is a perfect example of this value.
SBHR: Our Blog this month is about the SilverBirch Conference Centre® (SBCC). You have been working in our first SBCC now since its start. What do your customers love most about the SBCC?
ST: I think my favorite quote from one client sums it up in one word; she said that having an event in the SBCC was “Effortless!” There was no stress, no worries about menu selection, timing, the additional consumption costs, AV costs and add ons because it is all included in one rate. At the end of the day our job is to make sure every event is effortless to our guests!