The Central Laundry located at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, the largest of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean, is currently managed by Shernet Bailey, a 34-year veteran with the organisation. When the resort first opened its doors in 1989, this hospitality industry leader was one of the first employees to form a team of housekeepers.
34 years later and this astute leader continues to mentor men and women within her reach to become the best that they can be within the industry. The mission she shares is one of fulfilling her mandate of being the consummate professional and the ultimate team leader within the organisation.
“Working with Sandals has taught me a level of professionalism that is synonymous with the brand and over the years, I have grown and developed both personally and professionally in my career. “I came into the industry straight out of York Castle High, and with a strong mindset that I learned from my dressmaker mom, I knew that in order to be successful, I would have to put in the work in order to grow, and that is exactly what I did,” Bailey explained.
While being comfortable with her growth in the organisation, Bailey was quick to share that this opportunity to be the leader for more than 60 staff could not have been possible without her mentor Michael Gayle, former Executive Housekeeper at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort.
“Mr. Gayle saw the leadership potential in me as a new team member and his encouragement to challenge myself with new courses coupled with the motivational drive that he gave me, helped me to reach out of my comfort zone and become a strong leader,” Bailey shared.
She also added, “Based on what I’ve learned from my mentors and the numerous training courses I’ve attended, I believe that as a leader, you must be firm and fair in all your actions and conversations, and show your team that you lead by example.”
General Manager Ramel Sobrino explained that he has known and worked with Bailey for many years and she has displayed excellent leadership traits and mannerisms.
“Shernet is one of those people you could classify as ‘old school’ as she has gone through challenging times and never loses her cool. She is a team builder who has done so much to groom staff members from her area to eventually become leaders in different places throughout the industry.”
Bailey’s colleague and team member, Josie Ann Earle, a 20-year veteran and a leader in the department also shared, “Shernet Bailey is a trainer and a leader. She has shown us the path for development and in her daily operational activities, she takes time to share with the younger leaders what it takes to become a strong leader. I have learned a lot just by being a member of her team and the values that I have been using in my daily operations are those that I have developed from her and the many leadership courses that I have done with the organisation.”
Supervisor, Dave Silvera a 16-year leader agreed that his leadership strength and style were a direct replica of what he has copied from Bailey. “Ms Bailey is a motivator and a disciplinarian. She is never afraid to share with her team her expectations within the department, but also she is willing to help and guide each member to be the best leader in their respective area. Whenever someone comes to this department, they are always allowed to strive as we are encouraged to get enrolled in the many online courses within the organisation, and also given the chance to lead small groups within the department.”
Having established herself as a leader within the Sandals organisation, Shernet has been tasked with leading teams and departments at other Sandals and Beaches resorts in Jamaica, and also throughout the Caribbean region.
While the grandmother of two shares her story, she was very deliberate in encouraging others within the industry to ensure that they keep their focus on family as they choose to build their careers. “My mother was my major motivational force and now that I have my two grandchildren, they have been a contributing factor that encourages me to take my vacation times to accommodate them. I always share with my team the value and support of family and have us try and emulate that family strength within the workspace.”
In sharing commendations for her team, Bailey continues to empower the leaders in her department by encouraging them to use the learning and development tools available within Sandals Corporate University. “These courses worked well for me and I am always encouraging my team to take every opportunity to get certified in various areas and empower themselves,” Bailey noted.