NEWH - Winter 2012 - (Page 20)

Q&A president of the South Florida chapter, and manager, hotel purchasing at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Why did you want to become involved in NEWH? I was still relatively new to the industry when Deborah Herman asked me to consider joining the South Florida board. e cross-networking aspect of NEWH really appealed to me. I love to network with FF&E suppliers and interior designers from my previous position at the Parker Company, as well as bring in OS&E suppliers and colleagues from my current role. I served as membership chair, then as secretary for a couple of years until other board members approached me about entering the succession plan to eventually become chapter president— something that I might not have considered on my own. It’s a good lesson for us all; to encourage someone to step up and volunteer, sometimes all you have to do is ask! One-on-one with Lisa Ghai Where is the chapter/South Florida headed? Right now, we’re slowly but surely coming back from a di cult couple of years. e economic downturn a ected our chapter and our region, as it did the entire industry, but we were very proud to be able to continue awarding scholarships to deserving students every year during that period. We have some di erent and creative events that we’re developing for next year. It’s going to be a lot of fun. How/why did you get involved in the hospitality industry? What has it done for you? When I joined the board, I was an entry-level buyer. I credit my board experience with giving me the con dence and leadership skills to progress within the company. In addition, I’ve made many useful business contacts, not to mention friends that I hope to keep for a lifetime. I got into hospitality procurement almost right out of college, with the Parker Company, and found that it was a niche I really enjoyed. In 2001, my husband and I honeymooned in Alaska onboard Royal Caribbean International’s Radiance of the Seas. It was love at rst sight when I stepped on the ship, and I joined RCL’s Supply Chain department less than a year later. Cruising is such a unique part of the industry—sourcing hotel consumables and replaceables for a eet of hotels that’s constantly moving around the globe is an adventure! What are some of the challenges the industry faces today? What are some of the major initiatives you have implemented as president of the South Florida chapter? Our chapter covers a large geographic area, and the members are spread out. We alternate our monthly board meetings between Dade and Broward counties, but sometimes struggle to reach a quorum. is year, we started holding our meeting via conference call every other month, and it’s been a welcome change. Most everyone can get to the phone, whether they’re on the road, still at the o ce, or lounging at home in their pajamas. And we’re that much more excited to see each other at the in-person meetings. e challenges are many and well documented, but for the U.S. in particular, I think we need to get people back into the habit of taking their well-deserved vacations. Our culture has become so interconnected and demanding. Hundreds of thousands of vacation hours go unused every year. I truly believe that people work more e ciently and are more productive when they take regular breaks to get away from it all. What projects are you currently working on at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.? What have been some of the highlights of the year? Our programming team hosted a wonderful tour of the Marriott Marquis here in downtown Miami; a bowling night that was all kinds of fun; and a scholarship awards dinner at MiamiDade College’s culinary school, with a welcome speech from chef Norman van Aken. We also had a great ‘Shades of Green’ sustainability panel discussion luncheon that helped attendees sort through the many di erent ‘green’ hospitality ratings systems. We’re excited to be taking delivery of our newest ship, the Celebrity Re ection, later this year. We’ve also started working on the next class of newbuilds for the Royal Caribbean International brand, Project Sunshine (the rst ship debuts in 2014). At the same time, we’re busy maintaining and revitalizing the existing ships so that no matter which one you select, you’ll be guaranteed an amazing vacation with the very latest dining options, entertainment, and amenities. What’s still to come? When you are not working or at an NEWH event, where can we nd you? We’re planning an event to honor our SOFHIE (South Florida Hospitality Industry Excellence) nominees in the near future, and we always close out the year with a holiday social at Smith & Wollensky on Miami Beach in December. It’s a great venue, and our community service team partners with the Children’s Cancer Fund to hold an art sale at the event. 20 My favorite places to be are on a cruise (any itinerary, but northern Europe and Alaska are my favorites), or relaxing at home watching football with my husband and our two miniature dachshunds. I’m also an avid collector of Barbie dolls—I have a room full of them. So I’m really excited about the Barbie Premium Experience that we’ll be introducing onboard the Royal Caribbean International eet next year! ❙❘❚

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NEWH - Winter 2012

NEWH - Winter 2012
Who’s Who
Conference Roundup
Sustainability: Point of View
Q&A: Cynthia Millow
Q&A: Lisa Ghai
Have You Seen?
Product Know How
On the Scene
On the Cover
Project: Hilton and Marriott Prototypes for Latin America
New Members
Project: Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort & Spa
Save the Date
Partner Profies
Ad Index

NEWH - Winter 2012