From Chef to Business Development, Joanna McGuiness takes the next step in her hospitality career

In the modern age, being multiskilled and having a varied job background can be very advantageous for your career development. Just ask Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney’s new Business Development Executive (BDE) for meetings, incentives, conferences and events (MICE), who never saw a career as a hotel Sales Executive a possibility. However, Joanna has been able to utilize her existing skills gained in the hospitality industry to propel herself forward and develop her career within hotels.

In light of this recent appointment, I sat down with Joanna to ask her about her transition into this new role and her journey so far at Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney.

Joanna has been able to work towards attaining the Business Development role after being nominated for employee of the month twice in 2019. She showed continued success in providing client satisfaction and sales results. But before we look forward, let’s look back at where her journey here all started.

Joanna joined the hotel in the role of Conference and Events Coordinator, working closely with the Banquet and Sales team. She worked tirelessly to develop her skills in the planning and coordination of functions and events from the influx of enquiries Joanna received. 

“I started my career as a chef, and my interests soon lead me to run the production and delivery of events from the kitchen. After almost 10 years working as a chef, I moved into Management and Sales for events, working for a catering and events company in England in a Sales and Management role.”

With her background in hospitality, namely working as a chef for almost 10 years, Joanna felt this assisted her tremendously.

She was able to apply her experience from the practical side of events to her newfound work in the coordination and planning of them.

Joanna started as the Conference and Events Coordinator at the hotel in 2017, which propelled her career in the hotel industry. Fast forward two years and Joanna was promoted to C&E Executive, allowing her to move further into the management of MICE within the hotel and have more of a leadership role in the department.

“I was given the opportunity to take on the role of Conference and Events Executive, where I had the chance to develop my skills further, take on more responsibilities in overseeing all of our events, and contribute my ideas and initiatives.”

Her continuous efforts resulted in her being a standout candidate for this Business Development Executive position, and as of September 30th, she officially fulfilled the role. Joanna tells me she didn’t imagine she’d be working as a MICE BDE, with her early career dreams in the culinary world.

“I have always had an interest in the hospitality industry, especially in cooking and events. Growing up, I aspired to work in the catering and events industry, however, I never imagined I would be a Business Development Executive for MICE. For me, it was more of a gradual process and growing into the role.” 

In terms of being ready for the new challenge, Joanna knows she is equipped with the capacity to perform well in this new position; with the right tools in hand for growth for both herself and the company and supportive leadership to guide her.

“I think this new role will allow me to continue to develop my skills in negotiation, planning, and management, and I am looking forward to the challenges that it brings. I am also looking forward to working further with Marketing in implementing strategies and initiatives to develop new business going forward.” 

Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney

And what advice does she hold for anyone looking to have a career in meetings and events?

“The best part…is that no two days are the same. Being able to produce a successful event from the stage of enquiry to completion, seeing initiatives and strategies succeed, and setting and achieving goals brings a lot of job satisfaction. It is an industry that is always changing and developing.

“Every client and event is different, and it is the perfect career for someone who can think outside the box. Be creative and find the best solution to suit both the business and the client. The events industry allows you to work alongside a great team and see things from different perspectives.”

If you would like more information on jobs available within our hotel, click here. For more insight on developing a hotel career, visit our other blog posts on working in hospitality here.

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