Being a female supervisor, corporate chairman or industry boss is the norm in the twenty-first century but what are the qualities a woman needs to possess to be a successful team leader any different?

Venessa Maistry, restaurant manager at Vasco’s Restaurant in Hilton Durban, answered this question. “The key to leading a successful team is having the right attitude, respect, communication and integrity. This will inspire the team and great teamwork is essential for running a successful restaurant,” she said.

Maistry is one of the founding staff members who was employed at Hilton Durban at its opening in 1997. She steadily climbed the ladder to her present managerial position at Vasco’s – the exciting new buffet and a la carte restaurant within the hotel. The mother of two manages approximately fifty staff members, including those in room service and the coral lounge, with the help of one assistant manager and seven supervisors.

Maistry has been in the hospitality industry ever since her first holiday job after she matriculated in 1996 and has never looked back. “When I joined Hilton Durban in 1997 I started off in room service before being promoted to restaurant supervision, followed by conference and banqueting. Meeting so many diverse guests gives me a buzz and keeps me passionate about working in the hospitality industry,” said Maistry. “No two days are the same. Returning guests often become like family which is why it is so important to create a home-away-from-home for them. The diversity of cultures within
my team is also a source of inspiration,” she said.

Never one to be idle, Maistry said that she loves nothing more than tackling daily challenges hands-on. “Especially in the morning when 300 guests arrive for breakfast simultaneously,” said Maistry. Advising those who want to enter the hospitality industry, Maistry said, “The inspiration for ones career must come from the heart. One definitely needs to be passionate and dedicated and have the support of the perfect team. Unity is key,” said Maistry.