‘Everybody has a story and we’re in a business where storytelling is very important.’
This is according to Sarah Derry who was on campus on 15 August to present to students and run a masterclass, generally, ‘to let everyone know who we are and what we are about’, she says.
‘AccorHotels’ story is of a chain that is big and getting bigger; growing at such a rate that the numbers change on a monthly basis.
‘Currently there are 20 brands under its umbrella—4100 hotels in 95 countries, 794 of them in 21 countries throughout Asia-Pacific. The properties range from budget and economy, to midscale and upscale, through to ultra-luxury brands.
‘An AccorHotels property is being signed every second day somewhere in the world; 311 are in the pipeline in Asia-Pacific alone. The group employs close to 250,000.
‘We have a big need for really great people’, she says.
Sarah’s own story began with a Communications Degree, which was followed up by a road trip to Sydney. Unclear about what she wanted to do with her life, she first worked as a telemarketer before chancing on a job in a hip bar at the Sheraton.
Her first taste of hospitality and she was sold.
Sarah gradually stepped up and into the field of Human Resources, studying for the qualifications she needed all the while. She went on to take on roles in education, marketing and recruitment.
She was Regional Director Human Resources Asia-Pacific for Starwood Hotels and went on to set up her own Human Resources consulting firm, People Reaching Potential. After 10 years she took up the role with AccorHotels and is relishing it.
‘It’s the connection between people that makes Accor really special.
‘We are gradually gaining recognition as a leading employer in an industry that just keeps moving forward’, she says.
Her advice: ‘Be ambitious, be authentic, keep learning and be prepared to put your hand up, rather than waiting for someone else to give you an opportunity’.