Sun | Nov 19, 2017

Shaneca Campbell: Rising above the obstacles

Published:Sunday | September 10, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Shaneca Campbell shares a cheerful smile at her desk.
Shaneca Campbell (right) gives multi-repeat guests Gregory and Jennifer Williams more information about the new Sandals and Beaches, where they can plan their next visit.
Shaneca Campbell (left) gives a few pointers to her newest member of staff, Rosheena Dawkins.
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Shaneca Campbell is a woman of faith and passion, who is determined to succeed despite life's many challenges. Viewed as a survivor by her peers and the epitome of a strong leader, it was no surprise when she

landed the title of Manager of the Year 2016 at Sandals Montego Bay's staff awards.

"When I heard my name I was stunned!" Campbell reminisced. "It was so unexpected. I immediately went into a panic attack. I needed that award; it was the highlight of my year," she ended.

Manager of the Loyalty and Travel Department at Sandals Montego Bay, Campbell had faced many challenges over the years, including two burglaries at her home, suffering severe hip and neck injuries in a vehicular accident, and subsequently being told that she may never walk again. However, determined to not be defined by her circumstances, Campbell never allowed her physical inabilities to cripple her ambitions.

Through physical therapy, exercise and the support of her family and colleagues, she found the strength to utilise a walker and was back at work within four weeks, though she was advised otherwise by her doctor and loved ones. Six months later, after continued medical follow-ups and a few operations, Campbell was walking around the resort with little to no help and greeting her guests with a cheerful smile. It is this grit and vigour that allows her to meet her sales target each month and maintain a productive work environment while sustaining a happy family life with her husband and two children.

 

No easy road

 

"It was never an easy road for me. I grew up with my mother and five younger siblings, so you can imagine that she had to be strong to provide for her family on her own. I think it is because of her that I have grown into the woman I am today," Campbell explained.

Though she enjoyed school and maintained a high average throughout, after graduating from the Ocho Rios High School, her prospects of continuing her education were dim. At 17 years old she become the second breadwinner in her household, assisting her mother in raising and providing for her brothers and sisters.

"My first job was working at a local furniture store for about four years, and then I eventually transitioned to selling clothing, jewellery and pretty much anything I could at the pier at the Taj Mahal Plaza", she recalled.

Campbell noted that it was through these experiences that she discovered her passion for sales and tourism.

 

Hungry for an opportunity

 

It was during a casual conversation with her peers at work that she learnt about the Hospitality Training Programme - an unpaid six-week mentorship programme at what was once Sandals Dunn's River. Hungry for an opportunity to join the luxury resort but hesitant to abandon her full-time job, the young Campbell agonised over what could be the right move for her professional career.

After giving it much thought, Campbell finally decided to register for the programme. She was successful, and was placed in the 'Soon Come Back' department (now called Loyalty and Travel) where she worked assiduously to make an impression on her manager. Before even completing the programme, she was offered the post of agent, tasked with securing future bookings from guests before their departure, assisting her team in meeting and exceeding their sales marks.

Still recognising the importance of an education, through the Sandals Corporate University, Campbell became certified in leadership (Harvard Management Certification), sales,

customer service and also pursued studies with the Guild of Professional English Butlers. All these experiences allowed her to not only be one of the most rounded individuals in her department, but also the top sales agent and acting supervisor after only five years.

The star performer was eventually transferred to Sandals Montego Bay, which meant moving her entire family from St Ann.

"It wasn't the easiest transition, because all I knew was St Ann. I tend to be quiet and introverted, so I just decided to let my work speak for itself," Campbell admitted.

She threw herself into her job, implementing new sales techniques and later winning the General Manager's Award for October 2012. Three months later, she landed the position of department manager, a post she held and excelled in for the past five years.

"I have watched Shaneca blossom in her role. She was soft-spoken when she just joined Sandals Montego Bay, but she was loud in her intentions to groom the team members and improving herself as a manager and as a person. She is an awesome individual and a valued member of our team here at Sandals. I look forward to seeing her continued growth within the company, because I know she will do well," shared Dawn Smith, hotel manager at Sandals Montego Bay.

"Sandals has allowed me to evolve and to find my voice. Mentorship through my superiors such as Ms Smith and my general manager, Carl Beviere, has helped me to find a balance between being a stern leader and an empathetic one on whom my team can rely. It is because of them, that I wish to pursue hotel management as my ultimate career goal," Campbell stated passionately.

Campbell is currently pursuing her studies in operations management through the Sandals Corporate University with hopes that one day she will become a hotel manager who will motivate and inspire her team members to follow their dreams and to not be deterred by life's hurdles.