Leading up to Hilton’s 100th anniversary in May 2019, Hilton Surfers Paradise General Manager Fiona Pryde tells her personal story in new book by author Chip Heath and co-author Karla Starr The Hilton Effect.
Across the past Century, Hilton has grown from a single hotel to more than 5500 hotels and 15 brands in 109 countries and territories including Hilton Surfers Paradise. Pryde shares the effect Hilton has played throughout her career in hospitality, dating back to when her journey was inspired when she was just 15-years old. “In 1992 I found myself heading from Ipswich to Conrad Jupiters on the Gold Coast for my school work experience placement. Conrad Jupiters was a Hilton Hotel at the time, and I was completely in love with the energy, excitement and magic of being in a hotel,” said Pryde. “As a result of the placement with Hilton, I not only fell in love with hospitality, but also the Gold Coast.”
After finishing school, Pryde quickly realised that her summer job as a lifeguard was not enough to pay the bills so embracing her love for hospitality, she once again signed up for work experience in a hotel. “After a week or so of unpaid work experience, I was offered a casual job in Banquets and so my career in hospitality began an I’ve never looked back!”
Pryde’s extensive career with Hilton has seen her work across various departments, from food and beverage to front office, and sales and marketing and revenue, giving her an all-encompassing viewpoint on the required elements to run a prosperous hotel. Pryde says the strong leadership she was privy to in her foundation years with Hilton has contributed to the backbone of the service she now mirrors to her 130 Team Members, offering a workplace with strong team connections and a hotel where guests are valued. “Feeling valued and appreciated comes through in the little things and it comes from having truly authentic leaders,” Pryde said.
“I encourage our Team Members to create space for the things that matter most to them and I understand there is no such thing as work and life, there is just life and this creates an environment for them to perform at their best. I am thankful to my leaders at Hilton that have done the same for me and given me this leadership mantra. For me, Hilton has always been an aspirational brand and it has impacted my career as I always want to be better. Throughout its 100 years, Hilton has been renowned for innovating, changing and growing and I like to think I am always looking to do the same.”
Not only a hotelier but a wife and mother, The Hilton Effect has further rippled through the Pryde family with her husband, also a Hilton Team Member. “My husband, Wayne, also works for Hilton as Cluster IT Manager for four of our hotels in the Northern Territory. Upon my appointment to the Gold Coast, Hilton allowed Wayne to work remotely from our home on the Gold Coast. This gave us the flexibility we needed to raise our beautiful boys,” Pryde said.
Just like Hilton did for her, Pryde now hopes to inspire our youth to build careers in hospitality, as well as inspire families to visit the Gold Coast. “I feel incredibly humbled to play my part in honouring the proud legacy of Hilton and I feel a deep sense of responsibility in ensuring that young people are given an opportunity in hospitality, especially guiding our future leaders.”
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