Driven to succeed
WHEN she started with Sandals Resorts in 1998 Suzette Bailey-Anderson knew that was merely her opportunity to get her feet in the door, and not her final destination.
More than 25 years later she is the assistant food and beverage manager at Sandals South Coast but remains confident she has even more heights to attain.
In her time at Sandals, Bailey-Anderson has been the embodiment of leadership in the brand, and she credits her discipline and early interest in the food and beverage industry to the lessons taught by her parents and grandparents.
She is convinced that in simple but profound ways, her parents and grandparents ingrained habits that are crucial to her present career.
“When I was child I was not fond of Saturday nights because this meant we had prayer meetings at home and I would have to get up early the next morning. We would also have etiquette lessons where we learnt how to eat at the dinner table, work on our posture, and were taught how to be poised.
“Eventually, I grew to realise this was positioning me, from back then, for the service industry,” a reflective Bailey-Anderson shared.
A lover of the culinary arts Bailey-Anderson always saw herself establishing a career in tourism. She noted that most of her time growing up was spent trying new foods and mixing various ingredients to make the perfect drink.
So it was no surprise to her family and friends when the Godfrey Stewart High School graduatewent on to pursue a diploma in food and beverage management at Montego Bay Community College.
According to Bailey-Anderson, there was an early interest in working with the Sandals brand but she was not placed there to do her internship.
However she did not give up hope, and through her determination she was soon able to join Sandals as a permanent staff member.
Bailey-Anderson was first employed at Poinciana Beach Resort by Sandals (later known as Beaches Sandy Bay) in 1998 as a restaurant hostess. Six months later she was promoted to maître d’, the equivalent back then to a restaurant service manager. In short order she was again promoted to restaurant manager.
She was a little daunted by that promotion as Bailey-Anderson thought she was too young to take on the position.
But her then general manager saw her potential and not long after, she was again promoted — this time to food and beverage supervisor. After gaining experience in that role and a certain level of comfort, she advanced her career and moved on to become the restaurant manager, in charge of the overall operations of the dining outlets at her resort.
Outside of managing the different restaurants Bailey-Anderson also had a passion for event planning and execution. She often found herself assisting the weddings, entertainment, and sales departments to execute their vision for various events.
“I learned to do floral arrangements and also found joy in the sand ceremony, especially designed for weddings. I had to get the sand from the beach and put it in the oven to get the desired colour. You never stopped learning, and there was so much out there for me to absorb,” she said with pride.
After dedicating 10 years to Poinciana Beach Resort by Sandals, Bailey-Anderson made the transition to Sandals Negril in 2008 as the food and beverage service manager.
Efficiently running a smooth operation with her team, it was evident that Bailey-Anderson had no plans to slow down. She received yet another promotion to assistant food and beverage manager, a position she would maintain when she transitioned to Sandals South Coast in 2017.
It is said to whom much is given, much is required and Bailey-Anderson has been going above and beyond the expectations of both her guests and team members alike.
She currently assists in leading the largest department at her resort and shared that while it is not an easy task, she has been diligent in her efforts to not only develop her team on a professional level but has also strived to instill some of the same valuable lessons that would have been passed down from her grandparents.
“The food and beverage industry requires a certain kind of passion, and those who have a desire for it must be open to the changes that come with it. It takes many sacrifices and a willingness to learn and grow. We are a part of a company that is big on challenging oneself and aiming for the utmost best — and with this you must put your best self out there,” said Bailey-Anderson.
Over her more than 25 years with Sandals Resorts, Bailey-Anderson has garnered many accolades across the various resorts at which she has worked, including the prestigious Manager of the Year award in 2018.
She also received a scholarship to do management studies at The University of the West Indies where she acquired a master’s degree in hospitality and tourism. She is now on the final leg of an associate degree in hospitality and business administration.
Through all of this hard work and growth Bailey-Anderson still found time to train and mentor many team members who have now gone on to becoming managers and leaders.
According to some of her current team members, while she may be stern they know that she has their best interest at heart. They also say that her desire to ensure tasks are completed to perfection is one of the driving factors in what makes their operation a success after so many years.
Though she has managed to soar with Sandals Resorts, work her way up the ranks, and build a successful career, Bailey-Anderson still thinks there is more to be done — and it is her goal to one day move on to the role of food and beverage director for the company.