Posted By: SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts
Interview: Jacqueline Huynh, Project Coordinator, Refurbishment
Jacqueline was born and spent the earlier half of her life in Toronto (with two years at Trinity College School in Port Hope). After moving to Vancouver in the mid 90’s with her parents and 3 brothers, her parents kept her teen years busy with Chinese school and Piano lessons after school and various activities where she gained a lot of team building and collaborative experiences. Jacqueline studied Microbiology and Business at Pepperdine University and the University of British Columbia. With the original plan to go into Medicine, she applied and got an interview with John Hopkins; it was during her interview that she realized her heart was not with the medical field. She later found her calling while interning at Polygon (a local developer and home builder), where she discovered the world of real estate and development. Polygon later hired her full-time where she worked for almost 2 years while obtaining her Diploma in Urban Land Economics. She then went on to work for another developer, Burrard International, and worked on single-family home developments in Whistler and Maui as well as a renovation project to the Crystal Lodge in Whistler, which lead to her current role at SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts. She is a major foodie and world traveller; she believes the experiences and the uniqueness of each culture help shaped who she is today. When not cycling or walking her beloved French Bulldog, Georges-Francois, you can find her in a party dress hosting a charity dinner benefiting the Cancer Society or Heart & Stroke Foundation.
SBHR: How would you describe the overall design aesthetic of our new Marriott properties? Is there a common design element in all SilverBirch Hotels?
JH: The Residence Inn Downtown Vancouver, Towneplace Suites Mississauga, and Fairfield inn St. John’s, all have colourful literal and imaginative artwork that celebrate the culture and history of its own city. Each SilverBirch property personifies unique design befitting of its location. Each new project gives us an opportunity to create the best hotel within its environment that provides a true sense of place.
Drawing on themes of local relevance, each property is designed to respect and complement the area. As temporary homes of business travellers, they must function effectively as workplaces; and they must offer a wide range of amenities for the discerning leisure traveller. We do not work to one design mold, but rather allow the process to be destination and customer focused as we grow into many new regions around Canada.
SBHR: What value is most important when you think about the design of a hotel?
JH: “Quality – Exceed expectations”
The Design & Construction team always gets excited when we hear feedback about how much guests enjoy the seating in the lobby or how they inquired about where they can buy their own Bluenose that they’ve seen at the Fairfield St. John’s. Knowing that we’ve exceeded their expectations just in the welcome zone, only makes us want to know what else they thought about when they toured the rest of the property. We also collaborate with key members from Operations, Sales & Marketing, Food & Beverage, and Information Technology to get their feedback and are always looking for new and innovative ideas to implement for the next project.
SBHR: what do you “value” the most in your role?
JH:I am lucky in which my responsibilities are not routine and predictable.
I get to work very closely with the Director of my department as well as many other critical members of the Design & Construction team, internally and externally. What I value most is the opportunity to work with a well-rounded group of talented individuals whom I’ve learned a lot from and am still learning from, and those lessons and challenges excite me.
SBHR: You must deal with a lot of suppliers, designers etc. Is there a particular value you look for in a good supplier?
JH: ‘Performance’ is a value important to the Design & Construction team, when working with the external team. Whether it is an art supplier, interior designer or FF&E purchaser, they must understand our intent and expectations, and be willing to work with us to achieve the end result.
SBHR: Of all of our values, which one influences your day to day activities the most?
JH: Integrity is a guiding principle very dear to me. My grandparents and parents have always taught us to be respectful to others and to do the right thing, even when no one is watching. It’s about knowing what’s right and doing what’s right in the position you are in. Ghandi said it best: “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. We need not wait to see what others do.”