These interviews are part of a series that highlights new hires within the industry. Have you recently started a new role or do you know someone who has? Submit your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phillip Blane and Adela Toto were recently named general manager and director of sales and marketing for Kimpton Glover Park Hotel.
1. What are you looking forward to the most in your new role?
Phillip Blane: I’ve worked my whole life in hospitality and while every day is different, which is part of the fun, it’s also always about caring for others. In my new role I get to work with a fantastic group of people in a wonderful environment while caring for others, so I truly enjoy looking forward to every day and getting to come to work in a role that fulfils me.
Adela Toto: The hospitality industry is all about the people, but it’s also about connecting the dots with those people and the hotel. In the past weeks, I’ve been able to work with our teams to identify so many wonderful opportunities to marry the two, and I’m very much looking forward to working with my team to bring these relationships to life.
2. How do you think past experiences have prepared you for this role?
PB: I’ve had two key experiences that I draw on for this role. One was managing two senior care centers and the other was owning and running a restaurant. Senior care facilities have quite a few similarities to a hotel (engineering, accounting, sales, food & beverage) and of course some that aren’t, but fundamentals are comparable on many levels and I’m grateful to have that experience to draw from. The restaurant gave me the opportunity to run a business with an owner’s eye and learning to cope with an unbelievable amount of stress. I learned that I truly loved the hospitality industry because despite all of the headaches that came with the role, the passion and connection with guests and staff were irreplaceable to me. I suppose you could say it toughened my skin while softening my heart.
AT: I have been lucky to work with several different brands, distinguished hotels, international markets and many different cultures. Overseas, I worked heavily with the accredited Diplomatic Corps in Tirana, Albania where my property became a home base for many state delegations including Former Secretary of State Clinton and her staff. This experience working with different cultures and governments puts me in a unique position to work with our diplomatic community and embassies based in and around Glover Park.
3. How did you get into the industry?
PB: My first “real” job was a summer gig working at The Gap. After that I found myself bartending in a posh London restaurant and loved every minute. It took me less than a nano-second to figure out where my future was going.
AT: I fell into the industry. Shortly after returning from an exchange program in Germany, I graduated with a degree in Economics. I was excited to start working and at the time a five-star Starwood property was opening, and I jumped at the chance to work with them. I picked up the phone, called the general manager and a week later I was offered a job as a management trainee. I really rolled up my sleeves for eight years, learning everything I could about the hotel business and loved every minute of it.
4. What are you hoping to achieve in your new role?
PB: I think Glover Park Hotel has a unique advantage with its design, location and neighborhood. It truly stands out from the run of the mill generic hotels that are popping up everywhere. While I was a restaurant owner, I developed a sense of pride that came from being a hidden gem and an authentic taste of the city - the type of place that out of towners wanted to go to because it wasn’t touristy but authentic and local. I want to continue to foster Glover Park Hotel as a special, non-pretentious place for everyone, including our neighbors. There’s nothing better than poking my head into our on-site family style Italian restaurant Casolare, and seeing guests and neighbors alike enjoying a glass of wine and bowl of pasta on a Tuesday night, or spiffed up joining us as they celebrate a bat mitzvah, graduation party or rehearsal dinner with friends and family from out of town.
AT: I’m excited to connect with guests and clients of the hotel, and ultimately create unique experiences on property that keep them coming back. I look forward to working with my team to deliver excellent, personalized service and long term connections within the community.
5. What do you enjoy most about the industry?
PB: People, people, people! Every day I get to meet new people from all over the world. I get to work with colleagues who become friends and then feel like family. How awesome it that?!
AT: Hotels are home to diversity! No two people or days are alike.