Dina Tokusheva, 25 years old, Assistant Groups & Events Manager
I graduated with a Bachelor degree in International Business, Hotel & Resort Management and Diploma of Hotel Operations from Les Roches Switzerland and Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School. I started my career as a banquet attendant in Sofitel Sydney Wentworth and then at Fairmont Resort in Blue Mountains. I came back to Kazakhstan in 2017 as part of the pre-opening of the St. Regis Astana as a banquet supervisor.
Studying and working abroad gave me a chance to further my language skills, experience in different working environment and an array of friendships and contacts to take with me. But I always wanted to come back as I see there is a great deal of opportunity to be part of the emerging hospitality scene in the country.
When I attended this education fair during 8th grade, the idea of hospitality caught my attention. It was a crazy idea during that time, but I pursued and I was determined to get into an international hospitality school.
About work in hotel
Since I started to work in a hotel, I was always working with events from service in banqueting to organizing worldwide forums. It is such a fast-paced environment, the adrenaline rush just keeps you going. At the end of the day, the guests become your family, you build a long lasting relationships and loads of great memories. In events we create history, it can be a history of one couple, family or a worldwide political event. It is always fascinating to be part of something that is more than just a regular job.
Women in hospitality
The hospitality industry’s mindset has always been progressive when it comes to women in leadership. For me, there is nothing a woman cannot do that men can.
The challenge comes not because of my gender but because of my age. There is there stereotype that exists that when you are young, you don’t get to have a say on things because of your lack of experience. And that has to change because the young generation now is well-travelled, more open minded and has so many things to offer on the table.
I think in the 21st century the successful woman is the one that can keep a great balance between being prosperous person and wife and mother. To be a successful woman both in career and in life, you need to be solid in the decisions that you make. When you have established yourself as grown women and have learned your own lessons – then you can teach your future children.
To believe in what you are doing otherwise it will be hard to commit. You’ll never make it past the entry-level job if you don’t feel strongly committed to what you are doing.
Diana Zhakanova, 26 years old, Assistant Marketing Manager
I graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration in Small & Medium Enterprise Management from Les Roches Jing Jang in China and Les Roches Marbella International School of Hotel Management. I started with my first internship in food and beverage department for 6 months at Renaissance Hotel, Shanghai and then later on the JW Marriott in Hong Kong. I joined The St. Regis Astana pre-opening team as Food and Beverage Administrative Assistant and then later moved to the Marketing Department as Digital Marketing Executive.
The opportunity came when the St Regis Astana opened. I felt it was time to go back home as this was for me the best way to get a full-on experience in. This is an exciting time to be part of the industry in Kazakhstan.
I have always wanted to open my own restaurant. There is this social and organized chaos in a restaurant ambiance and I was drawn to it. So taking up hospitality is only imperative. I researched on the best schools and when I informed my parents they were hesitant at first, not because of the course I decided to take, but because I will be living overseas.
About work in hotel
When I was starting, I was with the Food and Beverage department and that was an excellent playing field for me as I have learned the ropes and has helped me a lot on getting perspective on restaurant operations. You meet all kind of people and personalities – you learn a lot about people especially when they are hungry. And then later I moved to Marketing which is interesting as it allows me to be creative and it goes hand in hand with my training in F&B – understanding that, let us say for example, for a restaurant to be successful, it requires a lot of good marketing.
Young women in hospitality
Most people do not take me seriously because of my young age. They would always like to speak to someone in senior positions despite the fact that our experience working with different environment, culture and nationalities have allowed me, at least, to have an understanding of my working environment. But at the end, they are surprised on the efficiency and the problem-solving skills that we have.
As hotelier – with its long working hours and the demands of the job, finding a partner or someone who understands the nature of your work can be quite a challenge. The job also requires movement from one hotel to another, from one country to another and your partner has to understand that. And also now I enjoy a lot having time for myself and investing for my career development.
You have to have a lot of patience and to love what you are doing.
Aliya Zhakenova, 25 years old, Sales Executive
I graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Arts with honours in International Business with French at the University of Notthingham in the United Kingdom. I later did my Masters in Science in Luxury & Fashion Management at Skema Business School in French Riviera, France. I stayed in France for another two years to work in luxury retail industry before coming back to Kazakhstan.
I have been away for almost eight years and even if I have been into many places, cliché as it may sound, but there is no other place like home. In my own little way, I am able to share my international experience in my workplace.
I came back to Kazakhstan and began to look for a place where I can work and use my knowledge of luxury, international business, including my fluency in six languages. The answer came when I was invited for an interview at The St. Regis Astana. It was love at first sight when I visited the hotel. It was the hotel that inspired me to become an hotelier.
About work in hotel
Most people when they hear sales, all they think about is selling. But there is a lot more than that. It is about creating trust, loyalty, and building great relationships. Sales people are in a unique position to offer curated experiences to guests as we know their preferences thus providing memorable and exquisite stays. I know I did a great work at the end of the day when guests come back to the hotel again and again.
Young women in hospitality
Our age is a factor that limits us to be part of a decision-making discussion. We are lucky that we work in an environment that allows us to be involved in every step of the decision-making process as it is important to reinforce your presence and decide who listens to you.
Marriage doesn’t define your success. Once you feel yourself comfortable in your life, fulfilled with your career and happy – then that is success. It is not in my style to hurry up with marriage, only because I do not want to stay alone. I feel good being on my own and the only way I see my marriage if it will be someone who will make me feel even better when we are together.
Enjoy what you do. The job demands a lot from you and requires a lot of time so you have to be dedicated in everything that you do.