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Confessions of CEO

Mandy Farmer President and CEO of Accent Inns
Mandy Farmer
President & CEO
Accent Inns

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.

 
 

Timesavers, Juggling ideas and other secrets

Friday, February 3rd, 2012
Victoria BC hotel chain CEO Mandy Farmer, multitasking at home

Mandy Farmer multitasking at home

Hot on the heels of my secrets to success blog post, here’s a random smattering of shortcuts and tricks of the trade that I often employ to help me get the most out of my day. Please note some of these are desperate measures and are not to be used daily!

For instance, the first one – Dry Shampoo – should only be used on occasions when you are really pressed for time or just can’t stand the thought of wash, rinse, repeat, blow-dry, style, hairspray routine. Just sprinkle this dry powder on the roots of your hair and voila! No need to shower, but maybe an extra layer of deodorant wouldn’t hurt. (more…)

 

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Secrets to Success

Monday, November 28th, 2011
don't tell anyone the secrets to success

sssshhh it's a secret

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…)

 

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Ode to the BC Ferries

Friday, August 26th, 2011
BC Ferry photo

BC Ferries, one of the best trips you'll ever take

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…)

 

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The Ups & Downs of Being a Female CEO

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Confession: I’ve cried in a business meeting

Accent Inns BC hotel chain CEO talks about crying

Confession: I've cried in a business meeting.

You do not know what shame that confession brings me.  My only consolation was that I was 7 months pregnant.  Well, the first time it happened.  The second time I have no excuse, other than being female, and in the corporate world tears are not  cool. And that brings me to my topic today:  the  ups and downs of being a female CEO. (more…)

 

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Confession: Today is our 25th anniversary.

Thursday, June 30th, 2011
Accent Inns anniversary rubber duck

Accent Inns 25th anniversary rubber duck

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…)

 

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I’m in love

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
Mandy Farmer loves accent inns bike friendly hotel program

Mandy Farmer loves her new bike

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…)

 

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We Don’t Serve Crap to our Guests

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011
Free Hotel Breakfast - you get what you pay for

"Free" hotel breakfast? I'd rather eat at a restaurant, thanks.

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…)

 

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Family Businesses: The Secrets of Successful Succession Part 2

Monday, March 7th, 2011
Mandy Farmer shows off the new look of Accent Inns

Mandy Farmer shows off the new look of Accent Inns

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…)

 

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Family Businesses: The Secrets of Successful Succession Part 1

Monday, February 28th, 2011
Mandy Farmer, President of Accent Inns

Mandy Farmer, President of the family business

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…)

 

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CEO Throws Surprise Christmas Party

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
Mandy Farmer at the Accent Inn Management Christmas party

Mandy Farmer surprises the team at the Accent Inns Management Christmas Party

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…)

 

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