Working with any Sandals or Beaches is synonymous with career growth and constant learning throughout ones tenure. For Kemorine Beeput, front office manager at Sandals Negril, the opportunities she has been presented over the past 20 years has empowered her to strive to attain her fullest potential.
Having entered the industry in 1999 as a National Youth Service (NYS) trainee, the Hanover native was determined to make a mark as a tourism professional and this she did with passion and commitment to being the best at her craft.
“I am coming from a poor background, so, upon leaving Rusea’s High School, furthering my studies was never within my radar. I tried to venture into entrepreneurship, which didn’t work the way I had hoped, and that pushed me into seeking training with the NYS,” she shared.
Following the initial month of residential training, Beeput was placed at Sandals Montego Bay. Having her eyes set on building a career in tourism, she challenged herself to learn as much as she could from some of the best in the company. This proved well for her and at the end of her five-month training, she was employed full-time to the company’s flagship resort.
Two years into her new found career as a waitress, Beeput was presented with an opportunity to go closer to home, and took the offer of a transfer in a similar role, to sister resort, Grand Pineapple Negril. This she said, was where she went full throttle, helping out in various departments and immersing herself further in hotel operations.
“When I arrived at Grand Pineapple, I was encouraged to spread my wings. I worked in different areas within the Food and Beverage department and this helped in giving me a solid footing as an all-rounder.”
While working as a waitress, the self-proclaimed kinesthetic learner shared that she attached herself to persons who honed the craft and were willing to teach. With an affable personality, it didn’t take long for her to be recognised as a viable prospect for cross training within a different department. Entering the fold during this critical time in Beeput’s career was her first mentor, Belinda Henlon, the resort’s then front office manager.
While working at Grand Pineapple, Beeput’s personality and attitude didn’t go unnoticed by guests and team members alike, including Henlon who was observing her with a keen eye. Guests would constantly mention Beeput in five-star reviews on platforms including Trip Advisor. Coupled with her academic exposure and industry experience, the chance for future growth into other areas of the hotel operation was inevitable.
“When Belinda told me that come the next Sunday morning, I would assume duties at the front desk, I was terrified yet optimistic. With no formal training in this area, I drew on my ability to watch and learn. I charged myself to master the software in the shortest possible time,” she shared.
“Within my first few years at Grand Pineapple, I learned the rudiments of front desk operations, reservations and night auditing. Following my stints at Sandals Montego Bay and Grand Pineapple, I embraced other opportunities to work at Beaches Negril as front desk agent, Sandals South Coast (then Sandals Whitehouse) as front desk supervisor and Sandals Negril in the front office operations. I also was offered a chance to travel to other Caribbean islands to work through Sandals but I was reluctant to travel outside of Jamaica as I had a young family to care for.”
Even so, Kemorine continues to heap praises on the many other opportunities available for those entering the industry. “For me, Sandals Resorts is the benchmark for growth and development. Whenever you are with this company, you will be pushed to grow whether you want to or not. It is simply inevitable. Through the Sandals Corporate University, mentors, and the learning and development department, every team member is empowered to grow and become a better version of themselves.”
While sharing that she is yet to embrace the possibilities of working for the company outside of Jamaica, Kemorine was quick to give advice to those with aspirations of entering the industry and spreading their wings throughout the region. “Know that this industry is dynamic. You have to be yourself, be willing to take criticism, listen and learn from different persons, and know that every area within this company calls for teamwork and commitment to being your best each day.”
Sandals’ commitment to succession planning is also a feature that inspires Beeput as she has herself benefited over the years, moving continuously up the career ladder to her current role as front office manager, a post she has been holding for the past two years.
“Because I have benefited from so many star players in this company, it is a personal mandate of mine to train my team members to be better than I am. Whether other departments choose to recruit them or team members choose another area to grow, I am motivated to building them not just for the tourism industry but for life in general.”
While she boasts of her more than 20 years of practical experience, having team members with the theoretical training creates a synergy that can only grow the brand. “I pride myself in showing the younger generation the value of being able to learn, unlearn and re-learn within this ever-evolving industry. I encourage them to always ask questions. Don’t be complacent and maintain a sociable personality as we are a service-driven industry.”
When asked what advice she would give to persons looking on, she shared, “love whatever you do and bloom wherever you are planted. Learn new things and never limit yourself whenever you are faced with new challenges. I didn’t choose Sandals and Beaches they chose me and I have not regretted a day during this journey.”