Sitting inside the lavish grand ballroom of Sandals Montego Bay, at Sandals Resorts International’s first-ever Loyalty and Travel Prestige Awards, Tennille Rowe had to pinch herself to make sure she was actually there. She, the girl who was raised in a one-bedroom dwelling; who left high school with no Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate [CSEC] subjects because her mother couldn’t afford to pay for the exams; herself, a mother of six who went to work with no breakfast and home to no dinner more times than she cared to remember.
“I never went there thinking I was going to win anything,” said Tennille, a loyalty and travel consultant at Sandals South Coast. “I was just happy to be there, finally. I had waited so long to be a part of this team.”
Even as a child Tennille was always a go-getter, but despite her strong-willed, persevering spirit she couldn’t change the scourge of poverty in which her childhood unraveled. “When I started having children of my own, however, I made a vow that I would do everything in my power to give them a better life than the one I had.”
While she prayed for God’s blessing, Tennille worked odd jobs. “Even while I did those jobs, I always desired a skill that could increase my earning potential,” said Tennille. That opportunity presented itself when she went to the Courts furniture store to make a purchase.
“I remember being so impressed and immediately inspired by the experience I had with a customer service representative, that I inquired how I could get a similar job at Courts,” said Tennille.
Tennille reflects that the training she received at Courts is what ultimately set her on a path to become the salesperson she is today. “I took advantage of every training opportunity offered there,” she said.
Still, traffic into her branch was slow and this impacted her earning power, so Tennille went in search of another opportunity, this time within the hospitality industry.
FOURTH TIME’S A CHARM
With more than five years of sales experience under her belt, Tennille started her Sandals journey back in 2006, not in sales, but rather as a cocktail waitress in Negril. Soon after, Tennille left Sandals to pursue other job opportunities in sales, but eventually found her way back to hospitality and the Sandals brand when she took on a role as a bartender, again in Negril. “I felt that hospitality was a big piece of my life’s puzzle but still, something was missing.”
During the next two years as a bartender, Tennille developed an interest in the resort’s loyalty and travel department and learned as much as she could about the department from the outside. She attempted to join the loyalty and travel team three times and though all attempts were unsuccessful, she remained undeterred. “I was serving up cocktails while dreaming of selling vacations,” she shared.
Tennille’s love for sales persisted and during her time in Negril she also grew to love the tourism and hospitality industry. She knew therefore that the loyalty and travel department would have given her the perfect opportunity to marry the two.
She recalls how one morning, while on her way to work, she crossed paths with Sandals South Coast’s loyalty and travel manager, Russell Jackson and they got to talking.
“I told him of my interest in joining the team and my passion for sales and he promised that should an opportunity arise in his department he would let me know,” Tennille recalls.
Remaining hopeful even after weeks passed, finally, the news she was anticipating came and she was rearing and ready to go.
“I was over the moon when I found out that I had secured the position at Sandals South Coast and that someone was taking a chance on me,” she added.
Since transferring to the loyalty and travel department at Sandals South Coast in August 2021, Tennille has been on fire as her Corporate Group Manager, Brandon Laing so rightly puts it.
In May 2022 she made history in the company with the highest number of sales ever on a particular vacation product. By August she broke that record while single-handedly surpassing the resort’s target for that month.
Selling vacations in these economic times is no easy task, yet Tennille makes it look easy. She’s the consultant who consistently reaches and exceeds all her targets every month.
Tennille’s work ethic is one that has been noticed by her peers and guests alike.
“Since joining our team Tennille has been very impressive! She is a go-getter. Her professionalism is commendable and I know that with the hard work I see her put in every day, she will continue to excel,” said her manager, Russell Jackson.
As Sandals Resorts International expands throughout the region, Tennille has her eyes set on further personal growth and development and qualifying herself through the Sandals Corporate University (SCU) in hopes of one day extending her tenure to work at the company’s many resorts across the Caribbean. “I’m planning on taking full advantage of the many offerings of the SCU to continue to improve my skills.”
Despite her busy work schedule, Tennille also finds time to excel at being a full-time mother to her six children. “Working at Sandals has drastically changed my life for the better, this career move has allowed me to deliver on the vow I made to my kids so many years ago; to give them the life I never had growing up,” Tennille shared.
Through the haze of her myriad of thoughts and reflections, just as her focus slowly returned to the grand ballroom of Sandals Montego Bay, Tennille could hear her name being called and her resort, Sandals South Coast, being chanted. Apparently, she had just won the awards for Ultimate Loyalty and Travel Team Member and Top Credit Card Approver across the entire company. To say this was a surprise and that she was completely beside herself with shock and joy would be an understatement. But as Tennille stood there accepting her awards, all she could think was that ‘this feels right, finally, she felt complete.’
Today though, Tennille isn’t resting on her laurels and past successes, she goes to work every day and still gives it everything she has. Her advice to women and particularly, single moms like herself is to always try, always persevere and always put God in everything. “At my darkest moments, I’ve asked God to bless my life,” says Tennille, “I always thought he would send someone to give me a fish, but instead he taught me how to fish and for that I’m eternally grateful.”