Careers & Education

Sigourney's journey - From tele operator to sales exec

Sunday, July 08, 2012    

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"SOMETIMES, rather than trying hard to make things happen, it's best to try hard at what you love and allow things to happen."

These are words Sigourney Smith, 26, lives by. They have helped the Sandals Royal Caribbean (SRC) team member over the years, propelling her towards her current success.

When Smith joined SRC in 2007, her intention was to make enough money in order to go back to school. But shortly after settling in as a telephone operator, her then boss Howard Brown realised that her skills and personality could be better utilised at the front desk.

Never one to turn down an opportunity, Smith embraced the change. However, despite the efficiency with which she managed her tasks as a front office agent, it was not where she wanted to be. Her passion rest with sales and she set about trying to live that passion.

"While I was at the front desk, I took time outside of my shift to cross-train with the director of sales and learn the operations of that department," Smith said.

When the junior sales executive resigned in 2010, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to transfer to the sales department.

"I knew I had what it took to be a great junior sales executive," she said.

But not everyone was convinced and Smith was turned down when she first applied. Still, she would not be put off and redoubled her efforts to learn all she could about sales while continuing to give 100 per cent at the front desk.

"It just wasn't my time yet," she said.

As fate would have it, the position became available again in 2011 and deciding to take the advice of those who believed in her abilities, Smith again applied.

This time she got it and was determined to do a fantastic job.

"When I started working in the sales office in July 2011, there was no senior sales executive; it was just me and the director of sales so it was very hectic," Smith said. "However, I knew there were people who didn't think I could manage the job and probably expected me to fail, so I knew I had to hit the ground running and I used that knowledge as my motivation to succeed and to prove them wrong."

Later, she was encouraged by her mentors to apply for the senior position. Still, Smith harboured doubts.

"After only recently landing the junior position, I didn't want to seem greedy by going after yet another promotion and for the first time I wasn't as confident in myself," she said.

A turning point came when the resort's director of sales was called away for two weeks, leaving Smith to single-handedly manage the operations of the sales office in his absence. Suddenly, the woman who thought she wasn't ready for more responsibility was doing her work as well as that of her boss.

"During this time, I tried to stay focused and apply my usual work ethics -- to always do my job well and complete my tasks on time. This time alone in the office was what I needed to prove to myself that I was ready to move to the next level. I applied for the job and effective January 1, 2012, I became the senior sales executive," she said proudly.

Today, the sky is the limit for Smith, who balances work with her other roles as president of the resort's environmental club, public relations liaison for the sports club, and wife to husband Sadeke Smith.

She has noted her gratitude to Resort General Manager Louis Grant, who she said saw her potential and offered her the promotion, and her parents "who never put any limits on me".

Smith added her thanks, too, to individuals such as Julian Pink, executive assistant manager at SRC, for continuously shepherding her.

"Mrs Pink was one of the persons who really moulded me; she challenged me by giving me tasks to do and she always allowed me to use my initiative and complete my tasks without micro-managing me," she said.

Having already completed her associate degree in hospitality and tourism management at the Montego Bay Community College, Smith plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in hospitality and tourism management this September.

"I'm working towards becoming a director of sales for Sandals. Thereafter, I would like to try my hand at operations as either an executive assistant manager, a hotel manager or even a general manager," Smith said.

"One of the most important things that I've learnt is that there will always be persons who will say negative things about you or try to dampen your spirit, but you have to know who you are and be confident in your abilities. You [also] have to be resilient in filtering out the negatives and speaking good things into being," she added.



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