Nestled right next to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve is a small oasis of paradise, where amazing women work very hard to ensure that your stay at Sun City is memorable, and a break away from home that is just as cosy as home.
The demanding hospitality environment requires passion and motivation at each level of the organisation, and female employees are known to support and guide their colleagues as well as nurture guests. This Women’s Month, we chatted to some of the ladies who keep the cogs of this Sun International resort running smoothly.
Sue-Ellen Kamba is an Executive Housekeeper at the outstanding 340-bedroom Sun Soho Hotel and Casino at Sun City Resort. A versatile, focused, and motivated individual, her vision of success is to rise above the competition in every way. Sue-Ellen describes her greatest strengths as the ability to direct others, make timely decisions and ensure that all housekeeping processes run at maximum efficiency.
“My aim is to ensure that we play a key role in the success of the running of daily operations and well-practiced hygiene and Covid-19 protocols in rooms, public areas, back of house and the casino with intentions to create an environment which encourages safety, teamwork, energy and creativity.”
Sue-Ellen, a mother of two boys who enjoys the outdoors, began her career as a receptionist at City Lodge while she studied further, which led to her being accepted into the fraternity of the Housekeeping Association of South Africa. After stints at Peermont, and again at City Lodge, as well as Marriott, she found her home at Sun City in late 2020.
Her advice to others in the hospitality industry is that “humble beginnings take us far so always do anything and everything as though someone is watching (because they are) and be the best in all you do.”
Making certain that guests have an enjoyable time on the casino floor is Kgaugelo Mphahlele, a mother of two boys who also is the Gaming Floor Supervisor at Sun City Resort. She explains that, working as a female gaming floor supervisor in a hotel that is seen as a superb tourism destination for South African and international tourists alike, is a privilege as she experiences the wonder of meeting people from all walks of life, and gets to make them feel at home.
“As a supervisor, I’ve learned that it is important to involve the employees themselves in the process of deciding about good and excellent customer service – it is the employees who are in direct contact with clients and meet them most often.”
Being highly motivated herself, Kgaugelo’s advice to others in managerial roles is: “Motivate those that work with you and actively listen to their contributions, no matter how big or small, because they are your team and quality of customer service is jointly achieved.”
Michelle Dutton has worked her way up the ranks from 16, when she started her career as a temp coordinator booking conferences and events in Durban, to her current position of Food and Beverage Manager at the Soho Hotel at Sun City Resort.
Michelle decided from a young age that she wanted to be in the hospitality sector and signed up at the International Hotel School in Durban. At first, Michelle had no desire to work in food and beverage, as she enjoyed the analytical aspects of Front Office and Revenue more.
Then came a trip to Florida in the US, where she was employed at a private golf estate, and she never looked back.
“I can say that I am happy that my heart took over. My food and beverage career has taken me to places I would never have thought possible, and it has given me the opportunity to meet the most amazing people, apart from the team members I have worked with. I have met Barak Obama, when he was rallying to be president, late TV presenter Isabel Jones, and in my internship, I can remember cooking fried eggs for Derek Watts — sunny side up if I remember correctly.”
Michelle has always believed in working with her team, and getting things done, whether rolling up your jeans in a lock down flood, clearing dishes during breakfast service, or just listening to a colleague who is having a rough day.
Her advice to others starting out their careers is to “follow your passion and your heart will guide you — because your heart will often know what is good for you, before your head.”
“We are immensely proud of all our female employees. They bring with them an ability to nurture, to help others grow and, in so doing, help us all grow” says Brett Hoppé, General Manager of Sun City.