Hilton promotes two Seychellois women |21 June 2023
Stephanie and Grace: “We had to prove ourselves all the way…now the sky is the limit”
Two Seychellois women, namely Stephanie Volcère and Grace Estrale, have recently been promoted by the Hilton Group of Hotels.
Stephanie is now front office manager whereas her colleague Grace has been promoted to assistant front office manager.
Both ladies have said that now that they’ve proven themselves, the sky’s the limit.
Stephanie Volcère – front office manager
Hailed from Mont Buxton, Stephanie is another example of hard work and determination. Her latest promotion comes after spending 15 years in different tourism establishments.
“After I finished my A-Levels in 2008, I joined Air Seychelles the following year as a flight attendant for five years. After the five years, I went to work for one year with Registration Office and started to study Law. But then I realised Law was not for me and I decided to go back to the hospitality industry. An opportunity came to work at North Island in front office as a guest experience host, acting as a personal assistant to the guests. From there I moved to reservation, sales and marketing and stayed in the job for five years. Then I moved to Maia Luxury Resort and continued in the sales and marketing department. I then moved on to become an assistant to the manager of a private chalet.”
After so many years in the hospitality industry, Stephanie decided to start a family and had her son. For two years she stayed with her son and it was also during the pandemic. “In July 2021, duty called and I joined Hilton as a guest experience & assistant front office manager and was promoted as the front office manager,” shared Stephanie.
Stephanie shared that 15 years in the tourism industry has been quite journey.
“I am someone who likes to meet people and I am adventurous. Remember I had an office job and it really did not fit me. In my job I have both – the admin part and I get to meet people and get to make dreams come true. This is what kept me going.”
“When I became a mum I was considering going to an 8 to 4 job! I was thinking it was going to be difficult. At first, to be honest, it was. When I worked shift, I had lots of support from the family and the father of my child and as you go along things start to settle down,” shared Stephanie.
How was it joining the industry as an assistant front office manager at a fairly young age? “It was indeed a time to remember. I didn’t go to a hotel school, basically I had no certificate or diploma. All the time I had to prove myself on the job and it was twice as hard. When I joined Hilton, I did have a lot of help from the other leaders in management and we were only few women as heads of department. We had the microscope closer and we had to be firm in our operations,” shared Stephanie.
During her time with Hilton, she did a leadership course in partnership with Harvard and other mandatory courses and, being a mum at the same time, she really had to juggle everything.
In 2022, Stephanie received the Female Leader of the Year 2022. “The hard work paid off for us but it is not the end. Having two female leaders in a department sometimes, it is not easy to adjust and even though we say we have a 9-hour shift, we end up working 10+ hours as we have to finish what we have started.
“My advice is that there are lots of opportunities all over Seychelles – new hotels are opening. The sky is the limit if you join the hospitality world,” concluded the guest experience manager.
Grace Estrale- assistant front office manager
Grace is another young lady who is pacing her way up in the tourism sector. She comes from Beau Vallon and her story is quite an exciting one. “After graduating from the Seychelles Tourism Academy in early 2016, with an advanced certificate in reception, operations and services and diploma in reception, operation and services (City and Guilds), I had a few interviews with various organisations… but I was not successful. I stayed home for a few months, then in August Hilton organised a job fair for their three properties. I went to the job fair but was not really keen. Soon after I got a call to come for an interview. I was interviewed by two other strong women of Hilton, Vanessa Albest and Doreen de Letourdie, who was the HR manager at that time.”
Grace learnt that she was successful and started as a resort host immediately. “My initial plan after STA was to work for a few years then to apply for the hotel management course. But things did not go as planned and after two years I got pregnant (2018). After giving birth and coming back to work, I had to reroute my life and I chose to grow my career with Hilton. I indeed got lots of opportunities from my previous supervisors and managers.”
“I was then promoted to senior resort host for about a year and then I was about to get promotion in 2020 but with the pandemic everything was postponed. Late 2020 I got the promotion as front office supervisor.”
Another promotion came into her basket as senior front office supervisor in 2022 and this year got promoted as assistant front office manager.
“Being only 25 years old, coming back in the hotel industry as a young mother and be a female leader, I had to prove myself and I had to cover for shifts etc. Walking through of being a female leader, there are many instances where we are undermined. When you bring in new ideas, sometimes you do get challenges to implement them.”
Now, Grace has just started a leadership programme and dealing with people with different ages and cultures is the biggest challenge.
Both ladies shared that they miss a lot on their children’s development and family events.
“Sometimes we do get emotional while thinking about these, but at the end we are doing this job to provide for a better future for them.”
What next for the two ladies? Grace said her goal is to become a front office manager and she prefers Seychelles.
Stephanie noted that definitely the next step for her will be aiming to be operations manager or keep moving forward in the company.
They both thanked the hotel for allowing them to grow and with the structure they have in place, you can have the opportunity to develop.