Meeting MPI Toronto - March/April 2011 - (Page 5)
Never Underestimate the Value of a New Relationship
HAVE YOU EVER thought where you would be in your job if it weren’t for the relationships that you have built throughout your career? I think about it every day. When I joined Hillebrand Winery 10 years ago, I was fairly new to the hospitality industry. I began my career in sales and catering in 1998 with the Niagara Falls Marriott Fallsview. I felt so fortunate for this opportunity; not only was I going to be part of the opening management team, but I was going to be selling Niagara’s newest hotel. When the Marriott opened, I hit the ground running, and learning everything I could from my colleagues and peers; I began to make sales calls and build relationships with potential clients and industry partners. Little did I know how valuable these connections would be for me down the road. I started my position at Hillebrand Winery at the end of January 2001 and Peller Estates was scheduled to open in June of that year. Needless to say, I had my work cut out for me. Not only did I need to learn about wine (about which I knew very little, except that I liked to drink it), I had to write a business plan and budget, develop our group packages and experiences, hire a sales team, set up systems, and then move our department from Hillebrand Winery to Peller Estates, and that was just the beginning. At times I was overwhelmed and wondered, “Was this the right move”? I left a beautiful hotel where I knew what I was doing, where systems were already in place, where I had already developed a clientele, and most of all I was comfortable there. Was I up for this challenge? Yes… I was up for this challenge, BUT not without help. Once I was settled, I realized I had so many resources around me that I could reach out and ask for help. I had a wealth of knowledge just within our management team alone, but I had also built so many relationships from within the industry that, at that moment, I picked up the phone and made some calls. I first reached out to my supplier contacts and picked their brain about systems, office set up, hiring, job descriptions, etc. I asked them, “Where do I begin? What do I do first?” and within three weeks, systems were in place, hiring had begun, and finally we were on our way to looking like a real sales office. After feeling good about the office structure, I then had to tackle the task of creating our winery experiences. With Peller opening in June, our clients were going to expect something new and innovative. How do I know what our clients are expecting? So I went right to the source: I picked up the phone and invited 15 clients, all of whom I had a relationship with, to come to Peller Estates and tell me what they were looking for. From that informal focus group, I got my answers and created our experiences, knowing they would be compelling to our clients. Everything fell into place and all because I reached out to the people that I had built relationships with. And you know what? They were happy to help. So here I am 10 years later, and doing a job I really enjoy and working with people who inspire me every day. The one thing you might not know is that I would not be sitting here today if I had not had a strong relationship with the person who referred me for this position…Thanks, Alison!
I reached out to the people that I had built relationships with. And you know what? They were happy to help.
Peller Estates Winery & Hillebrand Winery email@example.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting MPI Toronto - March/April 2011
Meeting MPI Toronto - March/April 2011
Leadership 2011: A Special National Meetings Industry Day Feature
Collaboration = Unlimited Knowledge
Industry Book Review: Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill
Tempted by the Dark Side: Supplier or Planner?
Student Focus: A Fine Balance
Industry Partner Profile: Ottawa Tourism
People, Planet, Profit - The Next Step of Green Meetings
Building Human Connections - The Joy of Mentoring
Meeting MPI Toronto - March/April 2011