Rising star flying the flag for Caymanians in tourism

Stingray Award winner profile: Alexandra Bush

For Alexandra Bush, going to work is not a chore, but a hobby.

The 23-year-old meetings and special events manager at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman won the “rising star” award at the Cayman Islands Tourism Association’s Stingray Awards.

She’s been deeply involved in events like the Cayman Cookout, where she ran the Burgers in Paradise event at Rum Point, as well as planning weekends for visiting companies at the hotel.

It’s hardly a nine-to-five routine for the former St. Ignatius student, who often finds herself working long into the night on weekends while friends are out having fun. But she loves what she does and wants to inspire more young Caymanians to get involved in the tourism industry.

“It is just so rewarding. I don’t think about how I am not getting off at 5pm. My job is my hobby, it is really rewarding and every day is different,” she said.

She doesn’t know precisely where she wants to go in her career, but says she is keen to do whatever she can to help build the Cayman Islands as a tourist destination.

“I don’t have a specific target, I just want to do everything I can to push tourism for this island. I would really like to see more Caymanians involved in the tourism industry.

“I think some people just don’t know enough about it. You can do everything from business and human resources to event planning and accounting or making pastries. It’s not just waiting tables.

“I’d really like to spend some time making young Caymanians more aware of the opportunities in the industry.”

Alexandra, known as Lexie to her colleagues, trained in international hotel and tourism management at the prestigious Johnson & Wales University in North Carolina. She worked as an intern at the Ritz-Carlton during holidays and started full-time at the hotel in 2011.

Her job involves planning events for anything from a handful of people to groups of several hundred visitors. One of the things she enjoys the most is working with the corporate incentive groups that visit the hotel.

“There’s usually a person that you work with for up to six months before the event and you really get to build a strong relationship,” she said.

In any given month she can have between 10 and 15 events to organise.

She said she was surprised and very happy to get the Stingray award.

For her colleagues it was less of a shock.

Tami Corday, her boss at the hotel, said, “Lexie is an integral part of the meetings and special events team, she exemplifies what it means to be a lady of the Ritz-Carlton.

“Her motivation to succeed combined with her drive to deliver exemplary service makes her very deserving of the rising star award.

“Lexie is a shining example of how young Caymanians are making a significant impact in Cayman’s hospitality industry.”