Naria Lord (Picture by Sandy Pitt.)
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When Naria Lord left Queen’s College, she had no idea what career she wanted to get into. She just knew she couldn’t go into a career that required her to sit for eight hours and stare at a computer.
“When I left Queen’s College I still didn’t know what I wanted to do. I just knew I was good in relation to management courses. I also knew I didn’t like a desk job. I like to be all around the place interacting with people. I like to be on my feet,” she recalled.
“So when I left school, I was trying to decide what I could do that would allow me to do that. I spoke to my guidance counsellor about it and she brought up this programme called the Tourism Management Special at the University of the West Indies. But I had to go to the Bahamas for two years to complete the degree at the Centre For Tourism Institute,” she said.
Naria said that experience was an amazing one, and one she needed in order to help her chart her path in life.
“The overall experience of living on my own and having a change of environment is something that I really needed. I grew up so much more,” she added.
Upon returning to Barbados, Naria got straight into the hotel industry.
“I knew I had no choice but to go into a hotel. So I did my internship at Barbados Hilton. Then the second internship was at Ocean 2. Funny enough, Ocean 2 was supposed to be my first internship, but I switched it.
“It worked out how it was supposed to. During my internship at Ocean 2, after the second month, they asked me if I would like to stay on in a full time position. The transition wasn’t hard because during the internship I was doing the actual work,” Naria said.
And since getting into the tourism and hospitality industry Naria has been shining.
The front desk agent at Ocean 2 Resorts And Residences was the recipient of the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association (BHTA) Employee Of The Year Award 2018.
Naria, with a ready smile and chuckle, said she was not expecting it.
In fact, she said she wasn’t even aware of the award initially.
“I was just at work and I received a call and the lady said I was called in for an interview with the BHTA. It was then I was made aware that I was nominated as one of the top five people to receive the Employee Of The Year.
“I won Employee Of The Year for 2017 at Ocean 2 and that’s how I was nominated. The training manager would have done a write-up about me in relation to my attendance and how many times I was employee of the month during the year, and she also spoke about my accomplishments during the year and so on. She also spoke about the ideas that I would have implemented during my time here,” the 24-year-old explained.
Naria said she was elated when she was announced as the winner.
“I wasn’t in the island when I found out I won. I honestly didn’t really expect myself to be the winner. When I was in the interview and they mentioned it was between five people, I was like, ‘ok, yes, I have perfect attendance but I don’t know how other persons’ work ethic is at the various properties. But based on how I presented myself and spoke to the judges, I guess I won them over,” she said, followed by her infectious laugh.
EASY interviewed her in one of the beautiful rooms at Ocean 2, and Naria said she was thoroughly enjoying her job, which she has held for the last three and a half years.
“During my time here, I learnt some social skills. Although I’m an extrovert, I had difficulty speaking to people, especially strangers. Now it’s totally different and that helped with my development. Gradually, seeing guests come back, I developed relationships with them; so they became like family. And it makes the job a bit easier. It’s a great experience for me and I really do love coming to work here,” she added.
Naria said she also got immense joy from making guests and her colleagues feel comfortable and at peace.
“Every day I come to work, I ask people how they are doing because you just don’t know what they are going through and what they had to go through. I’ve encountered people that sold their home or changed their jobs just before they came. Or even people who had deaths in their family. So when they come here they come to get away and just relax. Even without hearing their stories, I try to make sure that their stay is the best possible,” she explained.
And she is now working at advancing in her chosen career.
“Currently, I would have been placed in doing duty manager shifts which is going to require me to grow in that leadership role. I’m both excited and anxious about it. I think once I have the confidence I will get it done,” she said.
As for any challenges, Naria said “there are none”.
“With every challenge I see a solution. Once you’re willing and committed, I think any challenge that comes, you can get over it,” she said.
And her most memorable experience to date, she said, would have been the marriage proposal she helped a nervous guest pull together recently.
“They were here for three days and one day he came down to the desk and told me he wanted to propose to his girlfriend that evening. I was just completing my shift . . . . I knew I had to get him sorted out. In the end, I left there well into the night, but it came off great. She said yes and he was very thankful, especially since it was so last-minute. I knew I couldn’t leave that day until everything was sorted out and perfect,” she said while reminiscing on the memory. (DB)