Career & Education

Manager of the Year

Shaneca Campbell shakes off near paralysis, cops high honours at Sandals MoBay

Sunday, August 27, 2017



She is a fighter; one who is determined to succeed despite life's challenges. Among her peers she is viewed as a survivor and as the epitome of a strong leader. It was therefore no surprise that Shaneca Campbell landed the title of Manager of the Year 2016 at Sandals Montego Bay's staff awards back in May.

“When I heard my name I was stunned!” Campbell said. “It was so unexpected. I immediately went into a panic attack.

“[But] I needed that award; it was the highlight of my year,” she added.

The esteemed manager of the Loyalty and Travel Department had faced many challenges over the year, including two burglaries at her home, suffering severe hip and neck injuries in a serious vehicular accident, and being told that she may never walk again. However, she was determined not be defined by her circumstances and never allowed her physical inabilities to cripple her ambitions.

Through physical therapy, exercise, and the support of her family and colleagues, she somehow found the strength to utilise a walker and was back at work within four weeks. Six months later, after continued medical follow-ups and surgical operations, Campbell was walking around the resort with little to no help and greeting her valued guests with a cheerful smile.

The grit and vigour exemplified in that experience is what allows her to meet her sales target each month and maintain a productive work environment while sustaining a happy family life with her two children and husband.

“It was never an easy road for me. I grew up with my mother and five younger siblings so, as you can imagine, she had to be strong to provide for her family on her own. I think it is because of her that I have grown into the woman I am today,” Campbell told the Jamaica Observer.

Though she enjoyed school and maintained a high average throughout, after graduating from Ocho Rios High School her prospects of continuing education were dim. As such, the 17-year-old went on to become the second breadwinner of the household to assist with raising her brothers and sisters.

“My first job was working at a local furniture store for about four years, and then I eventually transitioned to selling clothing, jewellery and pretty much anything I could at the pier at the Tajmahal Plaza,” she recalled.

Campbell added that it was through these experiences that she discovered her passion for both sales and tourism.

It was during a casual conversation with her peers at work that she learnt about the hospitality training programme — an unpaid six-week mentorship programme — at what was once Sandals Dunn's River. Hungry for an opportunity to join the luxury included resort, but hesitant to abandon her full-time job, the young Campbell agonised over what could be the right move for her professional career.

Weeks later she decided to register for the programme and was immediately successful. From there she was placed in the “Soon Come Back” department (now called Loyalty and Travel) where she worked assiduously to make an impression on her then manager. Before even completing the programme, she was offered the post of agent, tasked with securing future bookings from guests prior to their departure, thus assisting her team to meet and exceed their sales marks.

Still recognising the importance of an education, through the Sandals Corporate University Campbell became certified in leadership (Harvard Management Certification), sales, and customer service, and also pursued studies with the Guild of Professional English Butlers. The experiences propelled her to become not only one of the most-rounded candidates in her department, but also the top sales agent and acting supervisor after only five years.

The star performer was eventually transferred to Sandals Montego Bay, which meant moving her entire family from St Ann.

“It wasn't the easiest transition, because all I knew was St Ann. I tend to be quiet and introverted so I just decided to let my work speak for itself,” Campbell divulged.

As such, she threw herself into her job, implementing new sales techniques and later winning the General Manager's Award for October 2012. Three months later, she landed the position of department manager — a post she has held and excelled in for the past five years.

“I have watched Shaneca blossom in her role,” reported Dawn Smith, hotel manager at Sandals Montego Bay. “Certainly, she was soft-spoken when she just joined Sandals Montego Bay, but she was loud in her intentions to groom the team members and improving herself as a manager and as a person. She is an awesome individual and a valued member of our team here at Sandals. I look forward to seeing her continued growth within the company because I know she will do well.”

“Sandals has allowed me to evolve and to find my voice. Mentorship through my superiors, such as Ms Smith and my general manager, Carl Beviere, has helped me to find a balance between being a stern leader and an empathetic one on which my team can rely. It is because of them that I wish to pursue hotel management as my ultimate career goal,” Campbell stated.

She is currently pursuing studies in operations management through Sandals Corporate University with hopes that one day she will become a hotel manager who will motivate and inspire her team members to follow their dreams and to not be deterred by life's hurdles.

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