A Day in the Life… Leigh Watson, director at Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel
This month, HRNI speaks to Leigh Watson, director at Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel in Enniskillen.
Leigh Watson, director at Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel, Enniskillen
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
I hold the role of company director, responsible for human resources at Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel. I am a co-director with my sister-in-law, Jacqueline Wright, who is responsible for finance.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
I have always worked in the hospitality industry, part-time whilst completing my OND in Hospitality Operations at the College of Business Studies, Belfast and while doing my BA in Catering Administration at Jordanstown. I worked for the late Raymond McClelland (chef proprietor) and his wife Anne, in the Schooner Restaurant in Holywood, where I can honestly say I learned the best of practices for food and beverage service and why quality produce is so important. I joined the Inn on The Park in Dungannon with the Waterson Family as restaurant manager in the late 1980s and loved the variation in business of a hotel. I worked for short periods of time in other establishments whilst at university including the Chatsworth Hotel in Worthing for a work placement and learned something valuable in each establishment that I can still apply in today’s hotel environment. I came to Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel in 1991, on marrying the late Rodney Watson, MBE.
WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST
PARTS OF YOUR JOB?
The best part is working with and being part of a great team of people who make Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel a fantastic success. The worst part of the day is the challenging conversations that can occasionally arise, but these are all part of the day-to-day running of the hotel!
WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT THE SECTOR?
Many people still aren’t fully aware of the long-term career opportunities in the hotel industry and the life experiences and benefits it can offer! Too many people withdraw themselves from the industry having successfully completed courses in the colleges that, as a result, leaves the hotels, bars and restaurants in Fermanagh recruiting against each other for the same pool of local staff. This in turn, prompts us to recruit from outside the County out of necessity rather than choice.
OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY
It’s so varied! At present I am reviewing and updating our company induction programme and preparing for job chats and annual appraisals. I’ve also been sourcing sales training and planning health and safety refresher courses. We are currently in the midst of a refurbishment programme so I’m attending project meetings as well as our daily operational meetings. Each day I will meet with staff and managers, talking, listening and learning. I love the opportunity Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel gives me to meet and work with a variety of different people every single day.
PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR
CAREER TO DATE
Every day is a proud day for me. What sticks out for me on a business level was achieving our Investors in People award and AA and NITB 4 star status at Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel. Without a doubt, on a personal level, the day Rodney got his MBE for service to the industry was a very special day. I am hoping for many more proud moments in the future with Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel.
BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED IN THE LOCAL SECTOR
Living, working and relaxing in the scenic Fermanagh Lakelands is a great pleasure, which I’m sure many other people will agree. It allows me to get hands on knowledge of our local customer base and to know what is happening in the area in terms of developments and marketing opportunities for Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK?
I enjoy walking my dog Halle Berry, trying yoga and following horse racing with the Watsons at Springfield Stables and chilling out with a ‘wee’ gin and tonic; not all on the same day of course!
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF NOT MANY PEOPLE
My dad refers to me as a ‘storm trooper’; I’ll let you try and work that one out for yourself!
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