Gomi Suppiah is Hilton’s Regional Director of Brand Performance Support for the Asia Pacific region based in Shanghai. She is a finalist in the 2016 BMW Hotelier Awards in the Corporate Hotelier of the Year category. After 27 years with Hilton, Gomi knows a thing or two about working your way up. She started with Hilton in Kuala Lumpur in 1990, as variously a Reservation Agent, Tour Coordinator, Assistant Manager, Executive Floor Manager and Assistant Front Office Manager. As her career and responsibitlity progressed through Operations and Business Development, she subsequently moved with the company to Vietman, India and now China.
Here is an insight into her career and how to take advantage of the opportunities the hospitality industry offers .
1. Can you give us a brief insight into your education and career path?
I was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and upon finishing school at a local convent under the guidance of Irish nuns, I’d hoped to pursue further hospitality education in Switzerland. At that time, though, such a formal course all the way in Europe was prohibitively expensive, so I had to find other alternative options in order to continue pursuing my dream. I decided then to read a course in Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations – all of which are skills that can be applied in hotels.
Once I graduated, I started my career journey in the hotel industry at the very forefront of daily interactions with guests and customers – as a phone operator. After three years, my mother encouraged me to pursue other roles, so when a friend who had recently moved to Hilton in Kuala Lumpur told me about a vacancy there, I seized the opportunity right away.
In 1990, I took up the Reservations role at Hilton and I have not looked back since. Even without a hotel degree, I have been able to gain new experiences and perspectives, but also to learn from the deep expertise of valued mentors and fellow team members within the Hilton family – a truly global family of more than 160,000 in 104 countries! I’ve been truly fortunate to walk this journey with them for 26 years and running.
2. Can you share with us what you feel has been the most valuable part in your career development to date that has enabled you to get to where you are today?
What I’ve valued most in my career at Hilton so far are the limitless opportunities to learn, engage, to train and be trained – in my current role in Brand, but also in terms of personal development. Growth happens in multiple directions, so you are constantly stretched – both as a learner and a mentor to others.
Furthermore, the constant support and opportunities presented by the senior leadership team at Hilton – be it in Shanghai, Singapore, or in McLean where our headquarters are – have affirmed my role and contributions in the company, and helped me to get to where I am today.
This cohesive culture at all levels in our global company is reflected in the recognition that Hilton has received as one of the World’s 25 Best Multinational Workplaces in 2016. To me, this is an incredible testimony and inspiration to continue delivering great environments, rewards and careers.
3. Congratulations on being a finalist in The BMW Hotelier Awards 2016. How are you planning on leveraging this opportunity to inspire the younger generation to work harder at developing their career in the hospitality scene?
I would like to share with our youth today that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it, and there is no better time to excel and succeed in hospitality than now. With the unprecedented level of interconnectedness, the world truly is your oyster, and I feel this more keenly than ever when I interact with my fellow Hilton team members from various cultures and languages. There is so much to learn from each one of them, so I’d urge more young people to dive into their hospitality careers with that global mindset and spirit.
I’d also say that there are few other sectors that thrive so much on the vibrancy and energy of passionate people from all backgrounds – from chefs who create new, innovative dishes to reservations team members who take pains to accommodate different schedules thoughtfully. United by our single-minded vision to be the most hospitable company in the world, our Hilton team strives to serve with heartfelt empathy across such a wide range of functions, so there is always room to learn new skills or venture into roles that you never thought you’d take up.
Ultimately, I’d like to show by example that a hospitality career opens doors of possibilities that go well beyond your individual limits – by exposing you to new perspectives and abilities, but also empowering you to touch lives and impact the communities around you. Hopefully, through my role at Hilton, I’ll be able to contribute to our goal of opening doors to 1 million youth around the world.
About the BMW Hotelier Awards
The BMW Hotelier Awards is now in its third year and is the only accolade in Asia, which honours the dedicated professionals of the hotel industry. The annual rendezvous is an overdue recognition bestowed upon those individuals, who are the best in their field. In 2016 it expanded to include the ASEAN region for the very first time, as well as adding the APAC Corporate Hotelier of the Year category. On December 15th, the Gala Awards Ceremony will be held where all 34 winners for both Greater China and ASEAN will be announced at The Parisian Macao. Tickets for the ceremony can be purchased from http://www.hotelierawards.com/awards-2016/tickets/