Introducing… Donnie from the Events team
Donnette, affectionately called Donnie, has been working at the Grand Cayman Marriott for the last ten years. Dabbling in a number of different roles from helping out at the Front Desk to assisting the General Manager, she found her true calling as part of the Events team when she was planning her wedding in 2010.
Currently she is an Events Manager and coordinates and plans details for all types of events, including conferences, weddings, anniversaries, large incentive trips, charity events and business meetings (just to name a few!) You can tell that Donnie loves what she does and finds it a pleasure to come into work everyday. She said: “It is not a job. It is really easy to come into the office and get things done. I love the challenges because you learn from them and it stimulates growth. I love the people that I work with because it doesn’t feel like work. I spend more time at the hotel than I do at home. So I am lucky that the people I work with are like family.”
After graduating college she did a one-year internship at Marriott in Denver, Colorado. It was at this point that she knew that she wanted to continue her relationship with the company. She sent her résumé to a number of Marriott hotels all around the world. The Grand Cayman Marriott was the first to respond to her application. Hailing originally from Jamaica, it was an easy decision to make because of proximity. But at the time, she didn’t think she would be staying for long. She laughed: “Cayman should have only been an adventure – it should not have been ten years of my life! I only had the intention of coming here for a season to develop my résumé and then move on. But it didn’t happen that way. I found love and I fell in love with this island.”
Along with love, what really convinced her to stay in Cayman were the amazing professional opportunities that working at this particular property offered. Initially she was supporting the Front Desk, where she excelled as a Guest Service Agent. She was then promoted to At Your Service Supervisor and a few years later moved into the role of Executive Assistant to the General Manager, a position that Donnie proudly held for five years.
She elaborated: “Within this company, if you have the desire to grow you will be nurtured. You are given the resources to be able to pursue the area that you want to go into. I always got a lot of support from the Leadership team; they definitely encourage and push you. They saw the potential in me even when I was unsure. It is so nice to be part of such an amazing team. They are inspirational!”
So why now Events? She knew that she wanted to go into Events after she got married. She fell in love with the whole process – from the planning and brainstorming of ideas to the orchestration and execution of the event on the day. She admits that it not difficult to ‘sell’ the idea of having an event at the resort – the property truly speaks for itself. She continued: “Sometimes when I have meetings or I am showing a client around the hotel, I step onto the beach and think to myself how lucky I am to be doing what I am doing. I just bask in the beauty of what the island offers.”
And with the recent transformation, the resort continues to up its game. She said: “It is so easy to promote the resort with all the beautiful offerings that we have. I love seeing how we have transitioned – it is almost like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. I am so proud to be part of the end product. I also like to compare it to winning the Oscars; the hotel is breaking all records within the region and we are being recognized for our innovation with numerous awards. People have always known about Marriott on the island but now we have a presence and the reception so far has been amazing.”
She continued: “What I love about coming into work in the morning is stepping into the lobby and seeing people making use of all our spaces in Anchor & Den. That is exactly what we wanted for our transformed space – to make it accessible for people to gather, meet friends, work, relax and reconnect.”
She maintains that when you live in paradise it is hard to feel stressed out, even after a demanding day in the office. She concluded: “Coming from another Caribbean island, I definitely notice parallels with living in Cayman. People are so friendly here and the lifestyle is relaxed. And everything here is convenient and close by. Plus I love this island because I found my true love here, my partner in life – it will always have a special place in my heart!”