Man with a mission - André Hamilton
There are many persons who drift aimlessly through life, allowing its wind to take them where it may, while others seem to have been born with a proverbial GPS for their lives. Sandals Royal Caribbean's Team Member of the Year, André Hamilton, is one of the latter.
At only 23 years old, Hamilton has already amassed three and a half years of solid hospitality experience. Having joined Sandals as a Club Sandals agent, Hamilton has been placed on the front line of guest services, gaining exposure to the concierge, front office, and butler-service operations of the luxury-included brand as well as an understanding of the roles of various attendant departments.
Growing up on Victoria Street in Georgian Town in Falmouth, Trelawny, Hamilton remembers watching his parents struggle to make ends meet. "Both my parents were vendors in the market and they had to sacrifice a lot to make a living for our family," he told Flair.
The last of six children, his parents' struggle became his motivation and has constantly pushed him to strive for excellence. "It is important to me to make my parents proud and show them that I appreciate their efforts," he noted.
Doors closed, doors opened
As a child, Hamilton had a passion for aviation and often dreamt of becoming a pilot. After graduating from Cornwall College, he was accepted to the Emerald School of Aviation in Miami, Florida. However, he was unable to attend as his family could not afford the tuition.
"Naturally, I was disappointed, but I was not about to have my spirits crushed or put my life on hold, waiting on the perfect opportunity," said the determined Hamilton. "I would create a new opportunity for myself and when I saw an ad in the local paper for a concierge agent position at Sandals, I was intrigued and saw this as another opportunity." The position required two years of experience, which Hamilton didn't have. "But I wasn't deterred. I sent in my résumé, confident that they would see beyond my lack of experience to my hunger for knowledge, my determination, and my potential to be a true ambassador."
Hamilton started working at Sandals Royal Caribbean in October 2011 and from that very moment, his professionalism and enthusiasm for whatever he was doing became apparent to those around him. "He definitely stood out to me," recalls Dezreen Reid-Stewart, Elite Services manager at Sandals Royal Caribbean. "I was very confident in leaving him in charge of the department whenever I was away, and he managed the entire operation superbly."
Hamilton is not one to sit on his laurels, however, and when a management-training programme came up, he jumped at the opportunity. "I applied to be a part of this programme as it would fast-track my development within the company, and I got very far in the interview process, I was this close," he said with a gesture of his hand.
However, the timing wasn't right. "I didn't make it into the programme, but seeing how far I was able to go, provided enough motivation for my next move."
Just as he had done before, Hamilton sought another opportunity, applying for a supervisory position in the resort's hectic food and beverage department. He was confident that increasing his knowledge within this critical division would give him that competitive edge to achieve his goal of a future executive position, within an industry he had come to love.
"As a Club Sandals agent, I really learnt what it takes to deliver exceptional service as well as the best recommendations on all that Sandals has to offer," said Hamilton. "But once I had exhausted all opportunities within Club Sandals, I started to yearn for that new challenge."
The stars have undoubtedly been aligned for Hamilton with the creation of a new position, that of Elite Services assistant manager. Hamilton's experience as a Club Sandals agent and a supervisor, along with his butler training, made him a top contender for the position.
Today, with his pilot ambitions on hold, Hamilton is less concerned with flying. As the first ever Elite Services assistant manager, he dreams of soaring within the industry and with the vision he has for his life, the blue print that he's constantly expanding and the fertile launch pad that is Sandals Resorts, he is well on his way to doing just that.