Talent Development: Interview with Jennifer DiRaddo, Manager of Campus Recruitment for FRHI Hotels & Resorts
The Young Hoteliers Summit Interview Series
YHS Team received the chance to interview Ms Jennifer DiRaddo ahead of her visit. Graduating with a B.Comm in Hospitality & Tourism Management from the renowned University of Guelph program, Jennifer soon realized her passion lay in Human Resources, and took a Certificate in Human Resources from George Brown College, Toronto. Being chosen as one of the top 30 under 30 by Ontario Hostelry Institute 2011, she joined FRHI Hotels & Resorts in 2011. The YHS Team was delighted to have the chance to ask Ms DiRaddo some questions about her career and her HR role with the FRHI team, last February 10th.
My name is Jennifer DiRaddo and I am the Manager, Campus Recruitment for FRHI Hotels & Resorts. Ioversee campus related initiatives and programs for our three hotel brands and work closely with our regional campus champions to share best practices.
2. Why did you choose to enter the hospitality industry instead of other industries?
It is a dynamic industry where I get to combine all of my passions for travel, food & beverage andmeeting new people. Each day is different and it is a constant learning experience.
3. Did you see differences working in HR for the restaurant industry, and today for a hotelbrand?
The main difference was going from a local company to a global company. My operations backgroundprovided the foundation which assists me in my HR role today.
F&B is still one of my loves and is incorporated in the hotel environment, so I have been able tocombine all my passions while working for FRHI Hotels & Resorts. It is about new experiences, meeting new people and continuous growth.
4. Knowing that the FRHI Hotels and Resorts brand is expanding rapidly, what do you see askey to attract and retain talents for your brand?
Under the FRHI Hotels & Resorts portfolio we now offer four brands in many locations and so theopportunities to learn and grow within one company are endless. Being a part of this transition is a very exciting time to be with the company. If you want experience with new openings, transitions or working in an international location FRHI is a very attractive option for you. We also offer meaningful value and unique experiences to our colleagues. We invest in our colleague's development and empower them to find their career path and achieve their goals.
Our programs for interns and graduating students help to bridge the gap from school to work andprovide access to a network of top industry leaders. We look for top talent and help them unlock their leadership potential. The exposure this gives them is the gateway to a career as a leader with FRHI Hotels & Resorts.
5. Recruiting from campuses all around the world, do you feel culture has a big impact onwhat graduates are looking for in a potential employer?
We recruit from the top hospitality schools globally and cultural differences definitely come into playwhen attracting talent from these different countries. We notice differences on what they place importance on when looking to launch their career. Some are very focused on international opportunities, in some cases title is very important and for some they are interested in simply getting their foot in the door. The departments of preference can also differ from one country to the next. As our programs aim to tailor to the individual we can usually address what things each culture is looking for. Especially as we have such a diverse portfolio of properties and brands available for them to explore.
6.. FRHI Hotels & Resorts have a high number of women at executive level like Jennifer Foxand Jane Mackie: do you consciously work for a gender balance in your recruitment?
At FRHI, we are always striving to conscientiously employ a workforce that is reflective of the societiesand communities in which we operate. While we certainly strive for gender equality, we understand that understanding that each of us is unique and we appreciate and recognize individual differences along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or other ideologies. We promote a culture that celebrates and respects each other's differences - showcasing, sharing and learning new customs as we grow globally.
7. During your career, what was the biggest challenge you faced?
Moving from operations to human resources was a challenge. You need to be willing to take a stepback sometimes in order to take a step in the right direction. I decided to go back to school, get more specialized human resources education and it has really paid off.
8. If you were to be graduating from a hotel school in 2014, what would be your next step?
I would research many companies and find ones that fit with my values and beliefs as well as mycareer goals. Network is also important! Talk to people who work at the company to get a good idea of the culture and work environment. And travel if you have the opportunity!
9. Lastly, can you give some advice for a young hospitality student that wants to besuccessful in the industry?
Be willing to take an entry level role if it is with the rightcompany and then prove yourself and work your way up! It is important to understand operations and have a good foundation before moving into other roles. It will give you good perspective and credibility.
You need to be passionate about this industry to be successful,it is not easy but it extremely rewarding if it is your passion! Try to surround yourself with as many mentors as possible and build your network. The more advice you can get and the more you can learn from other people's experience the better.
To gain the respect of colleagues you are working with or leading be sure to be humble, listen andabsorb all you can from them before going in and trying to change everything. You will gain their respect and be able to make an impact much more quickly this way.
About FRHI Hotels & Resorts
FRHI Hotels & Resorts (FRHI) is a leading luxury hotel management
Friederike VON BUNAU
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