Congratulations Renata on reaching 21 years service at Ashorne Hill. That is a massive achievement for anyone in any business. Let’s find out a bit more about your time at Ashorne Hill.
Your name: Renata Homer
Your job title: General Manager
Wow, 21 years at Ashorne Hill. Tell us a bit about your story? How you joined Ashorne Hill and how you ended up as General Manager.
When I was 10 I wanted to be a chef and then when I was 14 I went to work as a banqueting waitress in a local hotel. Before I knew it I had graduated from Manchester Polytechnic in 1990 with a Degree in Hotel and Catering Management and a place on a graduate development programme with De Vere Hotels. I joined Ashorne Hill in 2001 as their first Conference Manager, when Ashorne Hill was only just taking the commercial venue seriously. My role has changed every few years and I’ve had plenty of development whilst the venue business has grown from strength to strength. I became General Manager in 2013 and life has certainly not been boring since then!
There must have been many, many special moments in those 21 years but can you highlight a couple of your most treasured achievements?
The venue business has grown considerably in those 21 years and it has been great to be part of the Business Management Team for the last 13 years being part of the strategic development for Ashorne Hill. I’ve enjoyed being part of the investment decisions and the recladding of the clasp building in 2011 with a new patio, extended restaurant and balconies has resulted in something special. Most recently I was one of the few people (and the only sales person for 6 months) that kept Ashorne Hill afloat during the covid closed period which on and off was nearly 12 months. Getting back to business has been challenging but the future is bright. I definitely feel blessed to be part of the current security of Ashorne Hill.
Ashorne Hill’s mission is to create growth through people, you’ve developed your career at Ashorne Hill, can you explain a little about how your career was allowed to grow at Ashorne Hill and how other people looking to start a career in hospitality can benefit from the development opportunities that Ashorne Hill presents?
The approach at Ashorne Hill has always been about helping people make a difference. My managers have always encouraged and allowed me to flourish and I have been given many opportunities over the 21 years to step into more challenging and rewarding positions. My own philosophy is that I want to make the people who work for me the best they can be and I don’t want to hold anyone back from reaching their own personal potential. I am really proud that a good few of my team have actually been promoted into higher roles (now my direct reports) and this follows down the ranks. We are not for standing still at Ashorne Hill and if we can develop individuals and departments to make a difference then I’m happy. I believe that our nurturing approach allows people to grow.
Recruitment in the hospitality sector is really tough at the moment. If you were to give some words of wisdom to graduates/college/school leavers who were considering embarking on a hospitality career, what would they be?
Hospitality is a rewarding industry and extremely diverse. It is more than just a pub, a restaurant or a hotel. It is not about the building or the hours, but about the environment, and being with people. There are admin roles, marketing, sales, operations, accounts and all set in a people focused place. You don’t need to have a hospitality degree, you just need to love working with people and there will be somewhere for you. It is a busy environment but with development, desire and a bit of common sense progress is achievable.
And to those same graduates/college/school leavers, why should they consider starting that career at Ashorne Hill?
Ashorne Hill is an independent facility and is not constrained by group rules and regulations. That means that we can be flexible and work on an individual basis to meet their aspirations. Staff retention at Ashorne has always been high and despite covid challenges the fact that we have many people who have worked here for over 10 years speaks volumes for how we treat our people. We are a team, a family and everyone shares a love of Ashorne.
What does the next few years hold for Ashorne Hill? And how is venue and the learning team set to develop in the next few years?
Although we have a strong core team Ashorne Hill has not been untouched by the covid curse of being understaffed. Business growth is in reach and with a full team in both venue and the learning side of the business the potential is so exciting. We have a plan for growth and it is great to be part of that vision.