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'A typical day in hospitality? I don't think that exists!'


IHG’s graduate scheme aims to guide talented young leaders from supervisors to future business leaders. It’s known as the ‘IHG Future Leaders programme’. We caught up with Sam Swaffield, a Future Leader graduate of 2014, about his experiences.

Sam’s career has gone from strength to strength and at 23, he is IHG’s youngest operations manager in Australasia – so he’s uniquely qualified to talk us about this!

Sam Swaffield - Operations Manager, Crowne Plaza Auckland


Hi Sam, what’s a typical day like for you?

A typical day in hospitality? I don’t think that exists! I tend to take my weeks one at a time at the moment depending on the operational demands of the hotel. I absolutely love any time I can spend with the team and colleagues so I make sure I allow myself plenty of opportunities to get involved.

What’s your favourite thing about the job that you do?

I get an absolute adrenaline rush when I am standing in the lobby talking to guests and staff seeing all the pieces of the puzzle coming together. I like two different smiles in hotels - the first one being that of a satisfied guest, and the second being from colleagues when they are loving what they’re doing.

Sam’s hard work has been recognised this year. He recently picked up the Outstanding Young Executive Award at the 2015 New Zealand Hotel Industry Awards.

Congratulations on the award Sam. What do you think were the key skills and attributes that helped you win?

Thanks! I’m a firm believer in the fact that “I am, because we are”. I've been presented with amazing opportunities in the last couple of years and all I’ve had to do is make the most of each one. Being hungry to learn and working in an industry with extreme passion helps you get a long way.

What did it mean to you to win the award?

It was incredibly humbling to be nominated amongst such great company. To be recognised by my peers and then to be recognised by the industry was an amazing feeling.  It still hasn't quite sunk in yet that I was fortunate enough to win and it makes me very thankful for the support I've had over the years.

How do you think the Future Leaders Programme helped you on the road to success?

Absolutely it did – I would credit my 12 months in the Future Leader Program as the perfect platform to jump off. I'll always view it as the perfect opportunity to turn enthusiasm and passion into development and growth. The best element of being a future leader is the ability to learn and adapt to new situations every day. We’re exposed to so many leaders and areas of the hotel and you get to choose which aspects of leadership and skills you want to take on board for your own growth.

What’s the key thing that you’ve taken from the whole experience?

I know there is still a lot of the journey to go, and like all opportunities and recognition. It’s all about reflecting on what worked and growing that to get to the next step. While the award is a lovely reflection of the work so far, it is more of an encouragement to continue to push boundaries and take on more opportunities.

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