Keeping the team spirit alive and aflame

A seasoned professional in the hospitality and tourism industry, Ms Pauline Cheung’s extensive portfolio includes leading the global sales offices and heading the group revenue department of the Park Hotel Group, one of Asia-Pacific’s top hospitality brands and adjudged Best Regional Hotel Chain at the 23rd TTG Travel Awards 2012. Ms Cheung is responsible for daily sales and revenue strategies, aside from taking on an advisory role in setting sales discipline and strategies for execution. As group director of sales, Ms Cheung is also instrumental in building the group’s branding through trade events to develop business partnerships for the expansion of the market share of each hotel.

How did you start out in the industry?
I started my career at an inbound travel agency in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, the owner closed down the business when he and his family moved to Canada. However, one closed door led to another opening and I had the opportunity to work in a hotel as a sales executive in charge of corporate sales.

If you had to start over in your profession, what would you do differently?
I would still gladly enter the sales profession, as there are not many jobs out there where you can make friends while gaining knowledge about different industries and cultures around the world.

What are the core values of your organisation and how are these communicated through the services that your group provides?
Customer First and Employee Care are our two most important core values, and these are exemplified in our brand promise: “Where every encounter is a discovery of love”. This means that we provide loving hospitality to our guests, build and maintain strong working relationships with our business partners, as well as create inclusive and harmonious work environments for our staff.

How do you encourage creative thinking within your team?
I encourage brainstorming and inculcate the thinking that only an unspoken idea is a bad idea. On top of coming up with sales strategies, as a team we also get to brainstorm for fun events such as conjuring ideas on how to entertain our partners and customers at our annual road show dinners. For example, we had our colleagues perform Michael Jackson’s signature dance moves and even Chinese opera singing!

What advice would you give a woman entering into a leadership position for the first time?
For ladies, my advice is to make use of your feminine element yin (which implies softness and gentleness) in order to develop a passionate and caring team. Do your best to take care of colleagues, partners and guests.

How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
My team is my greatest motivation — and by working together closely with them I am able to stay driven constantly.

What do you do to ensure that you continue to grow and develop as a leader and as a person?
I engage and share ideas with my team regularly, hoping to inspire them and to be able to grow together with the company. I also strive to set good examples, demonstrate ownership of our projects and simply be part of the solution. On a lighter note, besides staying focused at work, I take time to just enjoy life and experience happiness. In other words, work hard and play hard.