Car bump meant she missed award ceremony
Bubbly Caymanian Ainjalina Schvartz deservedly won a Stingray Award for Accommodations Employee of the Year 2011 in June… but an unexpected, and potentially dangerous, mishap meant she missed the ceremony.
“I was so excited – I’d never been to anything like this so I bought the dress, the shoes, got my makeup done, got my hair done. But on my way there to pick my mum up as my date this big old Chevy truck stopped right in front of my little baby car and my car got totalled.
“Luckily I wasn’t hurt and I crashed outside a friend’s house; it was around 4.35 and the police blocked the road off right in the middle of traffic hour – I was upset I’d ruined everybody’s day.” The subsequent gathering of police statements kept the Ritz-Carlton employee away from the ceremony – not exactly the night she had planned. But the Newlands resident, whose parents hail from the Brac and Trinidad, was happy nonetheless to receive the award.
“It was nice to get the call – it had been a horrible night but then something special happened.”
Ms Schvartz transferred to rooms control from her previous job at the front desk. It is a job that involves booking, checking availability and logistical challenges plus longer hours.
“I’m in the back so dealing with upgrades; you have to go over each individual reservation and who needs what. It is challenging but after I do this I will know all of the front desk [skills].” The ambitious 19-year old first planned to be a vet but didn’t pursue the career after not enjoying some of the realities of that industry whilst on an internship. She then went on to Sotheby’s where she attended the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman for a red dress event.
“I applied for the front desk but was put in the call centre for a year then the front desk, then I became a learning coach and then it’s rooms control where I have been for five months. It was either real estate or hospitality because I love to talk – I get that from my dad and if you know Trinis they love to talk!
“The tourism industry has long hours and you have to work hard but I love it. There are so many opportunities. I wish more of my friends would come and more Caymanians would come. Like any business you have to start somewhere but it is so easy for Caymanians to move [jobs}. Once you have learned something, move to the next point. It is what I am doing and I love it,” said Ms. Schvartz, a UCCI graduate.
She added that it was never boring because no two days are the same. There is, however, a certain section of Caymanian community that has a nociperceptive of the service industry.
“They have this thing where it’s like a servant because it is service. That you have to slave away. But it is so rewarding here; you meet so many incredible guests. There’s always something spectacular going on, maybe a group, maybe a famous person here and it brings a smile to your face.
“It’s unfortunate that Caymanians think of it [negatively] but you won’t always have to work those shifts. You have to grow eventually and become more steady. And to grow and move around this is a perfect industry. I could get a job in London, Alaska, any of our associated chains. They are all interconnected and you can work anywhere that you want. You don’t have to just stay in Cayman or get stuck in one job within the hotel. “
It’s down to how much you push and what you want to get.”
She added that a lot of parents push children toward accounting or the finance industry but that there are many opportunities available for ambitious Caymanians within the hospitality and tourism industry.
“I wish more Caymanians would come here; there are so many expenses involved in a hotel so why would you want to pay permits on top of that when a Caymanian could do the job? It is super-fun; not your everyday job where you sit down, typing numbers.
“In the hotel we have over 70 nationalities; you meet people from all over the world, learn about different cultures. I would love to go and visit these places. I will always keep coming back to Cayman which is my home but the Ritz-Carlton has given me the base to explore. I love it.”