Sandals trains tourism leaders

by Mar 14, 2022Pulse

More than 50 team members, including some from the Sandals Resorts International’s Executive Leadership Team, recently participated in a world-class culinary training and knowledge exchange, part of the luxury resort chain’s continued commitment to leadership development through its Sandals Corporate University (SCU).

The course was provided through a collaboration with the Florida International University (FIU) and South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF®). According to Adam Stewart, Executive Chairman of Sandals Resorts International (SRI), the knowledge and training gained will be shared with the 15,000 SRI team members across the Caribbean to positively impact the ‘Sandals experience’ of the more than one million guests the company serves per year.

Group photo with members of the Florida International University Chaplain School of Hospitality and Tourism Management along with members from Sandals Resorts International who participated in a week-long Leadership Development and Training Programme in collaboration with FIU, South Beach Food and Wine Festival (SOBEWFF®) and Sandals Corporate University (SCU).

“Teaming up with FIU, SOBEWFF® and industry-leaders like the Dean of FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Michael Cheng, and James Beard Award nominee, Elizabeth Blau was an exciting experience for the over 50 Sandals Resorts team members we brought to benefit from the week-long training which included seminars ranging from strategic leadership, global hospitality and food and beverage innovation trends,” said Stewart.

He noted that, through the SCU, Sandals is always committed to new and innovative ways of team member engagement and training.

Topics covered during classroom-style training seminars held at the FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management included ‘Farm 2 Business Culture and Cuisine Dinner Activity’ presented by Chefs Nick Mautone and Fernando Saralegui; ‘Services Marketing Tactics’ taught by Sherry Andre, PhD and Brian Connors; and ‘Global Hospitality Trends and Innovations’ lectured by Christopher Muller, PhD and Brian Connors.

“Alongside our executive team, we had chefs, food & beverage directors and bar managers participating,” said Chief Operations Officer, Shawn Dacosta.

“The exposure to the designated sessions and the festival was a great experience but our attendance was geared at creating a memorable learning experience for our team members, as well as leaving armed with knowledge that is going to help further strengthen their growth and development and also our Sandals brand,” Dacosta added.

Bar Manager at Sandals Ochi, Ricardo Henry who was also in attendance, echoed the sentiments of the Executive Chairman and Chief Operations Officer.

Sandals hotel managers and general managers pause for a smile during a cook-off.

“I feel privileged that SRI continues to find creative ways to train its team members which leaves a memorable experience while inspiring us to do our best. It’s no secret that SRI is an industry leader in culinary practices. However, the sessions reminded me that it is important to continually learn and develop new skills to operate more efficiently. I started with the company in 2004 as a bar porter, then was promoted to a bartender and later made a bar supervisor. Now, I am a bar manager receiving training at an international, world-renowned school and festival,” said Henry.

The group also benefitted from team-building exercises in the form of cook-offs and cocktail mixing which illustrated Sandals’ competitive nature in the marketplace and the beauty of teamwork.

 “The cook-off was a blast. What made the activity especially noteworthy was seeing the team working together to accomplish a common goal despite us being from various Sandals Resorts. It was commendable how the professors were accommodating and helpful, they enhanced our learning experience. The team dinner at Bourbon Steak House was also a plus, the experience compared to a Sandals banquet event which only confirms that Sandals is always ahead in service delivery,” Henry added.

Recounting her experience, Director of Food and Beverage at Sandals Barbados Resort & Spa, Sherri Natram-Bradford said the incorporation of SOBEWFF® allowed the group to experience new trends in the industry and gave her ideas on how to enhance what her assigned resorts currently offer. 

“It was great to share this experience not only with our Food & Beverage colleagues but with general managers and hotel managers. Hearing insights and stories from each other reminded me that we share the same vision and as a team anything is possible. Through this learning experience we also met experts in our industry like Christopher Muller, Brian Connors, Elizabeth Blau and Chef Nick Mautone and built new relationships that will be beneficial to our development,” said Natram-Bradford.

Andre Bolton, Assistant Food & Beverage Manager; Bar Manager Cheryl Cunningham; and Executive Chef Delroy Haye pose with cocktails after a wine and spirit training session at the FIU Chaplain School of Hospitality and Tourism Management during the 21st Staging of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF®) recently held in Miami, Florida. The training session was organised by the Sandals Corporate University (SCU) in partnership with the Florida International University (FIU) and SOBEWFF®.

Executive Chef at Sandals Negril Beach Resort and Spa, Delroy Haye, said his appetite for learning was satisfied by the experience.

“I always crave new opportunities to engage in learning and training. It is an honour to know that Sandals takes pride in administering these innovative training programmes for team members. I’m thrilled that I was selected to participate in this initiative and I get to walk away with a certificate of completion and an awesome experience. Sandals Corporate University rocks,” Haye said.

When asked to sum up their experience Henry, Haye and Natram-Bradford agreed on the word “priceless” and exuded gratitude for opportunities where team members from various Sandals Resorts come together to learn outside of the resort environment and share in world-class experiences.


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