‘If the number of hotels in the pipeline are not screaming opportunity, then you’re not listening’, says IHG’s Pavithran Nambiar and Mardi Sparrow.
Pavithran (Pav) Nambiar is General Manager and Mardi Sparrow is Area Director of Human Resources at IHG’s InterContinental Adelaide.
The pair was on campus on 26 February, to briefly outline their careers and spell out the opportunities on offer in hotel management in general and with InterContinental in particular.
‘Tourism is booming, I’ve never seen anything quite like it - we’re talking about needing big numbers of qualified and experienced hoteliers in the years ahead’, says Mardi Sparrow.
‘Our challenge is to get you up here faster, and if we rate you as 70% ready we will put you in the job and back you with the programs and people that can support you’, she says.
Pav and Mardi shared quite similar career trajectories in the early days, with Pav describing himself as ‘an accidental hotel manager’.
He started out after school studying medicine, but decided it wasn’t for him. He took a job in a pub and loved it. After seven years working in pubs and restaurants he joined the hotel industry, initially as Food and Beverage Manager at Novotel St Kilda (Melbourne) in 2001.
Pav worked in hotels in Australia and India for the next 17 years, and was part of the opening team for India’s first international convention centre in Hyderabad. Before joining InterContinental Adelaide in February 2018, he had spent close to a decade with Accor and eight years with Marriott, more recently as General Manager of the JW Marriott Juhu, Mumbai, a 355 room property in India’s financial capital.
His advice: ‘Say yes to opportunity and say yes to a job that you’ll learn from’.
‘All of you here have a great advantage with a foundation from which to grow your careers’, he said.
Mardi Sparrow has been with IHG since June 2016, in the role of Director of Human Resources. Over the past two years, she has moved to an Area Director of Human Resources role and currently supports six other IHG properties around Australia in the Human Resources function.
She also started her career in pubs and restaurants, spending 10 years of her early career in Sydney, moving up the ranks as a Supervisor and Manager in stand-alone properties.
She made the move into Human Resources, when the opportunity arose to manage the human resources function for the 1000 Food and Beverage volunteers at the Athletes Village for the Sydney Olympics.
Hotels were the next step and she has worked for several hotel chains, Raffles in Singapore and the opening of a Radisson in Bangladesh among highlights.
She is soon to take on her next role, as Area Director of Human Resources at Intercontinental Hotel Osaka, where she will be part of the project team to roll out IHG’s Human Resources practices across Japan and assist with the opening of two new properties.
ICHM graduate Holly Madsen was appointed to the position of Future Leader at the InterContinental Adelaide as recently as late January.
Photo: From Left: Pavithran Nambiar, Lauren Frater, Annabelle Coats, Emily Hosking and Mardi Sparrow