We like to think of our team as one big extended family – we all get on, encourage and support each other. Which is why we especially love it when we get to help the younger members of our team with their career progression through hospitality.
In our new feature, ‘The Hidden Side of Hospitality’, we look at some of our incredible team members, their stories and experiences, to shine a light on just how diverse and eye-opening working in hospitality can be – whether that’s as a stepping-stone onto different things or as a passionate career itself.
Today, we meet Harriet McHugh, who started with us when she was 17 helping the team with various tasks. She’s since progressed through the team and is now a Sales and Events Assistant. We’re so proud of how hard she works to achieve her goals – she’s had quite the challenge to overcome…
Q: How long have you been working at Healing Manor and how old were you when you first started?
I started at Healing Manor in December 2021 when I was 17. Then I was given a part-time job with the hotel in March 2022.
Q: What role do you play in the Manor’s incredible team?
At first, I started out helping cut allergen cards out and other smaller tasks the team would give me. Over the months I have taken on more responsibility, taking appointments, and dealing with enquiries etc. I am now starting full-time in July as a Sales & Events Assistant.
Q: Had you worked in hospitality before joining Healing Manor?
Yes, I have, my mum owned cafes and ran charity events a lot when I was younger. Also, during my first year of college I had a part-time job with a local cafe. From there I moved over to other hospitality businesses until I started my extended placement with college, joining Healing Manor and a local cafe to complete this.
Q: How did you feel about the job when you first started?
The hotel’s reputation made me want to prove myself, however I was very nervous and quiet on the first day. I was also excited; my college course had given me an interest in events, so I knew working for the Manor was an amazing opportunity.
Q: How do you feel being a part of the team has changed you as a person?
I think working with the team here has made me more confident. I have learnt new skills and have finally started to feel like I am heading somewhere. I suffer from seizures, which took all independence away and my confidence dropped massively. I felt like a burden every time I had a fit. The team has made me feel supported and cared for. Every Monday when we test the fire alarms, the team kind of kick me out of the hotel as sound can be a trigger for a seizure. When it rained this Monday, the team gave me a hoodie and let me go in sit in one of their cars – it’s the little things that really make the difference. The support showed is what makes me feel valued as a member of a team.
Q: And how do you feel about it now – has working in the industry changed your opinion or given you a different perspective/insight?
Working at the Manor has given me a different insight to the industry. I came into the job not even knowing how to plan or run an event, my college course gave me an idea, however it did not show me that it is a demanding job and can be slightly stressful at times. I adore the work I do, and even though I know how stressful and difficult it can be, it hasn’t changed my opinion negatively.
Q: What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about working in hospitality?
That it is easy work, especially if you have not had experience in working in these types of roles. Trying to chase customers for information can be either super easy or one of the most difficult parts of the job.
Q: What skills has the experience given you that you perhaps did not have before? And which of those would you say are transferable and why?
I have learnt how to communicate and organise myself, and my customer service skills have developed a lot since I started. I struggled to even call a takeaway for myself but now I can speak to strangers without stressing, about their events or enquiries. These skills, especially the customer service ones, are transferable, I know I could go into another role in the future and be confident of what is expected of me.
Q: How has working in the hospitality industry aided your personal and professional development?
My role at the Manor has helped me gain confidence and feel like I have control again – I have responsibility and the team rely on me. This has made me develop both personally and professionally. I am confident I can take what I’ve learnt forward on my career path.
Q: What has been your favourite part of the job, why so?
I think my current favourite part of the job is when I’ve been first point of contact for a wedding enquiry put down their deposit. It’s exciting to know I helped them get started on their big day.
Q: What does your future look like at Healing Manor?
I would like to continue as an assistant for a year or so and then progress over to a coordinator. The team pushes me to work hard and be the best I can, they support me in every step, so if that is what I wanted and saw for myself then I know they would help and provide guidance.
And a few silly ones…
Q: Favourite dish
I think my favourite dish of all time is a classic Stew and Dumplings, whenever that is planned for a meal, I look forward to it all day!
Q: Favourite dessert
My homemade profiteroles. I did professional cookery for a year, and I am thankful for learning how to make that dessert.
Q: Biggest food dislike
I absolutely despise ketchup. The smell, the look, I just cannot be near it.
Q: Favourite drink – non-alcoholic and alcoholic
As I am lactose intolerant, my favourite non-alcoholic drink is lactose-free chocolate milk.
Q: Favourite song
Hard to choose a favourite song however, I think my current favourite song is Kingdom by Joy Crookes.
Q: Biggest pet peeve
I think my biggest pet peeve is when others are lazy. I am always doing something, even outside of work, whether it is cleaning or studying. Others not doing as much as me stresses me out a little bit!
Interested in joining the team? Take a look at our vacancies.