'Superwoman' Team members look to Karen Palache for leadership

'Superwoman' Team members look to Karen Palache for leadership

Monday, July 15, 2019

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THEY call her superwoman.

Karen Palache, the assistant water sports manager at Beaches Negril, is revered by her team members — the majority of them talented, outspoken and strong men — who look to her for leadership and guidance.

And she is not the least bit daunted by her role as second in command to the water sports manager, whom she supports, managing a team of 44 men and four females at the resort.

Palache shares that she has always been surrounded by males.

“I am the only girl for my father; I have two brothers and I was the true definition of a tomboy growing up,” she said.

As fate would have it, she is also the mother of two boys who are currently attending university.

“Many people say to me that it must be difficult managing so many males, and I will admit that it does have its challenges, but I always recall how I've done a great job raising my two boys now on the cusp of adulthood,” Palache said.

She shared, too, that it is important to sometimes be extra firm when the situation calls for it, but also be willing to listen, give advice and show them compassion as well. Knowledge of psychology also goes a very long way, she said.

The assistant water sports manager even gets a good laugh in whenever her team would have their usual man-to-man talks with her around, sometimes blurting out, after the fact, “Ms Karen, I forget you are not one of us!”

A scuba instructor-turned-manager, who has been in the profession for more than 18 years, for Palache, working in water sports is the real deal.

She has always loved the water, something she said was passed on to her from her German-born stepmother who taught her and her brothers to swim when she was eight years old. Palache recalled the first time she got her toes wet in the field after placing second in an environmental competition at age 19 — the prize was open-water dive lessons and certification. After this, her career path took a different turn, and she veered into sales for a few years.

However, an advertisement in one of the local newspapers seeking individuals interested in free dive master training, followed by a job offer as scuba instructor again whetted her appetite and she dove right in. This was where she learnt that Sandals Resorts had vacancies for female dive instructors. She joined the dive team at Sandals Negril in 2004 and a year later was transferred to Beaches Negril to lead the children's diving programmes.

“Karen is great at what she does. She has held the team together for quite some time in the absence of a water sports manager. Her tenacity and her commitment amaze me. Throughout each day she is in key locations to ensure that the water sports facilities are 100 per cent safe for all our visiting guests. Her team members respect her and she gets the job done,” Beaches Negril's Hotel Manager Noel Isaacs share.

A stickler for everything growth and development, over the years at Beaches Negril, Palache has racked up a lot of training hours and numerous certifications.

“The training manager here knows me so well, as soon as a new training opportunity becomes available she calls to tell me to come and sign up for it,” she revealed.

As she continues to make her mark and dreams of another great promotion in the field, surrounded by her team of male professionals, Palache would have it no other way.

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