Sandals hails team members receiving Heroes' Day honours
BIRTHRIGHT... recognised by St James Municipal Corporation

Sandals Resorts International (SRI) has congratulated three stalwarts of the luxury resort chain who were honoured for their outstanding contribution to tourism at both the national and parish levels during the honours and awards ceremony staged to mark National Heroes' Day last Monday.

Heading the list is Dawn Smith, general manager of Sandals Royal Caribbean, who received a Badge of Honour for Meritorious Service in the field of Tourism and Community Development; while Pauline Miller, room attendant at Sandals Montego Bay, and Audley Birthright of Sandals Negril were bestowed parish honours by the St James Municipal Corporation.

In extending commendations, Executive Chair of Sandals Resorts International Adam Stewart said, “We are extremely proud of Dawn, Pauline, and Audley for this most recent accolade bestowed on them. Collectively, they represent what is so right about our country and their commitment to enhancing the tourism product, the greatest single contributor to our country's economy is something to emulate.

“It continues to give me great pleasure to work alongside them every day, watching their growth and development and knowing that their genuine love for Sandals, our country's tourism product, and our beloved island of Jamaica continues to remain at the heart of who they are and what they do. Jamaica could not wish for a better set of ambassadors than these three and we are proud to have them as a part of our World's Best Team. Hats off to them today and beyond.”

Smith has had a long and remarkable career in tourism, having entered the industry in 1975 and being employed to Sandals Resorts for 33 years, during which she distinguished herself in enhancing the island's tourism product due to her penchant for hard work, setting and maintaining standards and training initiatives all aimed at improving the industry.

She now holds the title of general manager, having first joined the Sandals family as a front desk agent at the then Sandals Carlyle, and has steadily advanced through the ranks, holding posts ranging from reservationist, executive housekeeper, front of house manager, rooms division manager and hotel manager. Her excellent track record and innate ability to inspire and motivate her team also saw her becoming a highly regarded and trusted leadership consultant and advisor to both the company's late founder and chairman, Gordon “Butch” Stewart, as well as his son Adam Stewart, who succeeded him as executive chairman.

“I am humbled to have received this prestigious national award,” Smith noted. “I have devoted my life to the enhancement of the industry and because I have received so much from it, I have always strived to give back in any way possible, particularly in the area of training and developing the skills of my team members. This would not have been possible without the assistance of so many great Sandals leaders, who have helped me along the way, particularly our late chairman, Gordon “Butch” Stewart and our Executive Chairman Adam Stewart.”

At a community level, Smith, who is also a justice of the peace for the parish of St James, is a staunch supporter of the work of the Sandals Foundation, the charity arm of the company, participating in numerous community outreach initiatives and assisting with the mentoring programmes. In the wider community, she is an advocate of dispute resolution and acts as a counsellor for numerous individuals and families.

Smith is described by colleagues as “enthusiastic and the consummate professional. A true leader in the tourism industry who inspires her team members, colleagues, and travel professionals”.

Pauline Miller, who received the Mayor's Special Award at a ceremony at the Montego Bay Civic Centre, has been a champion of the tourism industry for the past 18 years, all of which have been with Sandals Resorts. She has displayed exemplary standards as a member of the housekeeping team, which saw her winning the coveted title of Diamond Team Member of the Year twice, in 2007 and 2011 at Sandals Montego Bay where her unwavering dedication, professionalism and willingness to go beyond the call of duty has endeared her to not just her team members at the resort, but to the wider tourism community at large.

“This honour is not just for me, but my Sandals family as well, as without them this would not be possible. I am overjoyed to receive this great award,” Miller stated. “I was totally surprised when I was informed, as I never expected it. I have always just tried to work to the best of my ability and assist my fellow team members as much as I can. I have also sought to be a role model to other tourism workers and, as such, I feel very proud that my efforts have been recognised.”

Birthright, or “Barney” as he is affectionately called, who received the Sam Sharpe Award, has been with the company for 39 years. He started out at Sandals Montego Bay and transferred to Sandals Negril in 2007. He is currently the regional watersports manager for negril and south coast.

According to Barney, this award symbolises his commitment to tourism and to brand Sandals. “I am indeed honoured and humbled to be recognised for my contributions to tourism. I have a deep-seated passion for what I do, and I don't work with the hopes of being highlighted. I do what I do to ensure that everyone I come in contact with is positively impacted. I am dedicated to my family and to this brand and will always be guided by our late chairman's philosophy of giving the guests more than he or she expects. I am always committed to ensuring guests, team members, and persons I interact with always get the best version of me.”

SMITH... Badge of Honour for Meritorious Service recipient
Miller, like Birthright, recognised by St James Municipal Corporation

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