Gordon-Morrison is Sandals Negril’s Manager of the Year

Career & Education

Gordon-Morrison is Sandals Negril’s Manager of the Year

Sunday, July 21, 2019

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NEGRIL, Westmoreland — She doesn't usually like the spotlight, but when she copped the coveted title of MVP (Manager of the Year) at Sandals Negril's annual Prestige Awards, soft-spoken Spa Manager Denise Gordon-Morrison soaked up some of the rays.

“I had no clue that I would've become Manager of the Year. In fact, it was the furthest thing from my mind, as I was just working the only way that I know how to work, and that is giving my all,” Gordon-Morrison explained.

In fact, the hotel manager, O'Brian Heron, commends Morrision for being a woman of work and not a woman of mere words.

“Denise epitomises a great leader. She will not publicise the challenges her department faces because she always has a solution. She doesn't talk a lot, she just executes,” he said.

Passionate about training and development, Gordon-Morrison feels that working at Sandals Negril has given her the opportunity to pour into people.

“It is never about me. When I heard my name being announced as Manager of the Year, all I could think about was my team. My aim is to lead a successful team through empowering those I work with,” she shared.

The mother of three spent over 10 years working on cruise ships as a nail technician, beauty therapist and assistant spa manager, acquiring a wealth of knowledge and making quite a name for herself. But her voyage did not always see her encountering smooth seas.

She did endure 'bad weather and shipwrecks' along the way, but she has never dwelled on fear, and is always encouraging people to keep going, stressing that they should never be deterred by obstacles.

A native of Oracabessa, St Mary, Gordon-Morrison grew up with her “Nana”, who is near and dear to her heart. Being born to teenage parents, it was the best decision at the time for her to be raised by the family matriarch who she said insisted that they attended and were fully active in the church.

While she did well academically, she did not enter college after high school.

“After high school, I was selling in the craft market. I was making so much money at the time that I put off furthering my studies. After a few years of doing that, I started a bar that was doing very well, but when I got pregnant, it dawned on me that I needed to go back to school, so I gave it up,” she recalled.

Beauty school then followed, which cemented what she already knew — that cosmetology is her passion. After building up enough confidence and experience, she soon opened her own salon, which became the go-to salon in Oracabessa.

“I was very professional and showed up for work every day, whether I had appointments or not, and when it came to customer service, I went above and beyond,” she shared.

About four years later, Morrison learned of a cosmetology programme in England, and decided she would take the leap of faith.

She closed her business, sold everything, and moved to England.

It was for this and other reasons that people describe her as a risk-taker, but she maintains that she is a faith walker.

“I am a woman filled with faith. My grandmother uses me as an example all the time. Once I decide I want to do something, I don't think about the challenges, I am just going for it,” she stressed.

By the time she got to England however, she realised she was not equipped to do Caucasian hair.

“I brought all my tools, my fancy curling irons and my hot pot. I was an amazing hairdresser in Jamaica, so I thought it would be easy for me, but I just could not do those types of hair. I had to come back home,” she shared.

Back in Jamaica for almost two months with no salon, Gordon-Morrison used the time to perfect her skills as a nail technician. She practised on just about anybody, for free most times, just so she could better herself.

Years later, after a short stint in Cayman as a therapist, she was back in England as a nail technician. This time, armed with her expertise to do well.

Over the years, Morrison travelled the globe working, but Jamaica called, and she finally decided to settle and raise her family here.

With all the knowledge she gained over the years, she is just truly happy to have ended up at Sandals.

“Sandals is big on training and development, and I am happy to be a part of such a movement. I get to do the things I absolutely love. I guess that is why I fail to see this as hard work,” the Manager of the Year joked.

“My dream is to one day open a beauty school. It is not even for the sake of making money, but I have so much knowledge that I would want to share with others. I'd want to train people and impart what I have learned over the years into them. In the meantime, Sandals is providing me with the opportunity to excel at what I do, and convey knowledge at the same time,” Gordon-Morrison said.

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