When it comes to success I sure don’t have all the answers, so I reached out to people who I think are very successful to get their take on this topic. But, before you read any further, the first and absolutely most important step to take when it comes to success is to define it. Success could mean giving up all your worldly belongings and meditating on top of a mountain, or finding that gorgeous trophy husband who spends his entire day cooking, cleaning and eagerly anticipating your arrival. It’s all in how you define it. Here are a few secrets from successful people in my life: (more…)
Confessions of CEO
Mandy is a third generation Victorian, and the third generation to run her family business. She is currently president and CEO of Accent Inns, a hotel chain with six properties in BC. Mandy is passionate about community and sits on a number of boards. She was named one of Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 Under 40. A true Vancouver Islander, Mandy loves nothing more than being outdoors - either on her mountain bike or with her two young children.
Confession: I love BC Ferries
How I love thy chocolate buffet filled with Roger’s chocolates, decadent cupcakes, chocolate mousse cups, Florentines, four different kinds of chocolate cake, Grand Marnier Mountains, and - oh my, I must go back for more!
I love the serenity of the Seawest Lounge, the chaos of the playground, the flat screen TV’s playing the hockey games, the coffee machines (Dear Lord, thank you for blessing the BC Ferries with Americano machines that make divine coffee for us unfortunate coffee snobs of the world).
I love the Smart Start breakfast (it’s actually good!), the wireless internet, and best of all, the fact that I can get my toes done while en route to a business meeting in Vancouver? Heaven. (more…)
25 years ago my dad Terry made the drastic decision to take a complete left turn in his career, leaving the construction industry to dip his toes into the fun, vibrant world of tourism. Where was I during this chaotic time in his life? Did I even notice what was up with my dad? Well, I was an oblivious little 12 year old, being chauffeured around in the back seat of station wagon, and you know what? I did notice something weird happening. My dad started humming. He’d hum in this high pitched, off key sort of jubilant way. When I’d say to him, “um, Dad? You’re like totally embarrassing me in front of my friends?!” he wouldn’t know what I was talking about! “I’m not humming” he’d protest! (more…)
I’m in love. I’m exhilarated. Optimistic. Refreshed. And yes, a little out of breath. As usual, rain or shine, I’ve biked into work this morning, and feel awesome and excited to start my day. Who am I in love with?? Don’t worry honey, yes, it’s still you, but my new bicycle is the hot new love of my life. It’s a girl-bike which means I can wear a dress, my uniform of choice instead of a business suit, and it’s a retro styled Amsterdam upright two wheeler, in raspberry with wood trim and leather seats. Mmm-hmm! (more…)
People always ask why we don’t do a free breakfast like other chains that include it. And it’s very simple why we do not: we offer high quality, affordable family restaurants at all our locations and we also have kitchenettes in many our rooms for those who want to bring their own (and all rooms have fridges).
Basically the bottom line is that we don’t want to offer anything unless we can be proud of it. Many hotels that offer these free breakfasts do so with low quality ingredients such as powdered eggs, nuked low grade frozen sausages (I can only imagine what goes in them) and other highly processed inexpensive and non-nutritious foods like donuts in order to keep their costs in line.
With our tag line being Quality Where it Counts we just can’t serve that crap to our guests! And, if we went and offered a higher quality breakfast (grade A eggs, real bacon…etc.) our costs would be out of line, we wouldn’t be competitive, and we’d have to raise our rates. Not cool. (more…)
So where did I leave you last week? I had no expectations of ever talking over the family business, I worked elsewhere before working for my dad, and I continued to learn the business from experts (other than my father) by continuing to work outside the family business. So now what?
Learn All Aspects of the Business. Finishing an undergrad at McGill University marked my return to Accent Inns. With a Psych Degree under my belt and no brainwaves about what to do with it, I humbly accepted a job in the family business. Luckily I didn’t have to clean rooms again, nor go back to the front desk where I began. But there were other places I’d never tried, such as the sales team. Cold calling was such a great skill to learn that I recommend it to all the young women that I mentor. Learning to pick up the phone, walk confidently through a door that says No Soliciting, squelch that fear in your stomach while you bravely make the ask and fine tuning those public speaking skills. No matter what job you end up in, you’ll always have to convince someone of something. Sales experience rocks. (more…)
I personally love family businesses, and not just because I am in one! I love how it can give people the opportunity to fast track themselves to their full potential. I love how family businesses seem to have more values, ethics and personality rather than the faceless “Big Boys”. I love how family relationships can turn exponential when a father becomes a friend, a colleague, a business partner.
Of course, family businesses can go the other way. I can’t think of anything worse when family relationships turn sour because of the business. I’m a firm believer that the family has to come first. As for myself; we are a 3rd generation family business and I confess, we’ve gotten darn good at succession issues. I continually get asked how we did it, so here are my Secrets to Successful Succession, keeping not only the business in tact but more importantly our relationship. (more…)
Confession: Last Wednesday was the highlight of my career
Our company Christmas party was held last week and, believe it or not, I think it was the highlight of my career. I realize that is saying a whole lot. I’ve been fortunate enough to have been recognized recently for a few professional awards, but last Wednesday night takes the cake.
First, a little history. The Christmas party I’m talking about is for all of Accent Inns general managers, sales people, everyone who works here at Head Office and the folks that have retired with us. I organize the party completely because it’s my way of thanking everyone for taking such good care of me throughout the year. This year I decided it was going to be a surprise, just to keep everyone guessing. (more…)
Confession: I don’t tip doormen.
True, I don’t often stay in places that have doormen, but when I do, I bristle at the fact that people give them neatly folded bills just for opening the door. And yet I enjoy overtipping when the service dictates it, such as my hairdresser coming in on her day off to hide my grossly grey roots before I head off to an important conference.
One essential service that I feel is drastically under tipped is the housekeeping department in hotels. We’ll tip the waiter who plunks a coke and cheeseburger in front of us, the cabbie who took us 4 blocks without uttering a word, the concierge for picking up the phone and making us a dinner reservation… but the housekeeper who busts her butt meticulously cleaning our room most often gets only her wages. (more…)