This month, our spotlight associate is: Tracy Gates, Director of Sales & Marketing, Homewood Suites & Hampton Inn by Hilton™ Halifax-Downtown
SBHR: Welcome Tracy, tell us your story.
TG: My husband of 27 years and I are parents of two teenagers (18 & 13) and a dog. We are a family dedicated to soccer all year ‘round and all three are black belts in taekwondo. I have 30 years’ experience dedicated to the hospitality industry, (all within Halifax, Nova Scotia) which started when I was in high school as a part time room attendant. I have held a few positions in the industry including switchboard operator, coordinator for the GM, DOS and Director of F&B. There are two areas in the industry that I am passionate about, six years in Human Resources and 17 years in Sales. As a Human Resource Manager I had the privilege in receiving the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia’s award for exceptional contributions in leadership with working with individuals with disabilities. My sales experience consists of sales coordinator, tour coordinator, one stop shop, sales manager and director of sales. I have worked hard to get where I am and have been successful. My journey consisted of working for the Sheraton, Holiday Inn and Delta Brands. I have received a few rewards in my success in sales, such as being on the top 25 list for sales managers across Canada and awarded a Caribbean cruise and two all-inclusive trips to Mexico. I was also nominated the Top Sales Manager all across Canada with the Delta Brand and received their Gladys Isaac Award which was an honor. I consider myself a newer DOSM (Director of Sales & Marketing) with room to continue to develop even more with the Hilton & SilverBirch brand.
SBHR: Tell us about your job; give us ‘a day in the life’.
TG: With a tall chai latte with coconut milk in hand, I start the day off with a team huddle at 8:40am followed by the management huddle at 9am. Once the briefings are completed and the Sales team is focused, I traditionally touch base with my clients, work on marketing items required or attend in-house meetings including frequent one-on-one’s with my team members. Everyday at 11:45am the Sales team comes together for 5 – 12 minutes in our office to complete our daily workout regimen. Each month we have a different exercise which could consist of squats, knee lifts or stair climbing in our stairwells (considering we have 16 floors)…whew….tired just typing that. I value the speed and diversity of my role, each day is just a little different, which I love. I enjoy the quick turnaround and the fast paced style of the industry. My team and I are still growing together with 50% of us new to SilverBirch and Hilton so there continues to be lots of development/training. The day traditionally ends with me taking a little “homework” home, whether it is some light reading or something to research.
SBHR: What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?
TG: Mentoring and developing my team to be successful. If I have done my job right, my team will have the tools to be successful and ensure clear communication exists between my team and the other departments. By providing the right leadership I will have successful team members receiving their incentives regularly by having full coverage and understanding on their segments and they will be ready for advancement.
SBHR: Tell us one thing that most people don’t know about you.
TG: I participated in the Easter Seals fundraiser for Nova Scotians with disabilities called the Drop Zone which involves a 23 story rappel from the top of Halifax’s tallest downtown office tower.
SBHR: When traveling, for business or for pleasure, what’s your personal favourite hotel amenity?
TG: Honestly, I love room service. I have had the pleasure of working with a few fabulous Chef’s and have been spoiled, so I enjoy trying local foods- especially when it goes to something chocolate. Sitting cross legged on the bed, watching tv, enjoying my meal with no interruptions is something that does not happen often.
SBHR: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go, and what things would you like to do?
TG: I have just learned that my ancestry is 100% European. Now I understand why I am drawn to visit Ireland and Scotland; everything about these locations is exciting to me. I can’t wait to go exploring with a full backpack (now don’t get me wrong, we will be staying in hotels along the way). I want to visit tourist attractions such as the historic parks and castles but most importantly hiking into the small towns and visiting the pubs for great local food and drink. My Great Grandfather was a wood worker in Ireland and he carved a wooden plaque inscribed with the words of the Lord’s Prayer which he gave to the Queen as a gift. This carving is part of The Royal Collection that is currently being stored in the Stable Yard House in St. James’s Palace in London. I’d like to learn more about where his family was from.