Park Inn Newlands appoints group’s first female GM
Carly de Jong is the general manager of Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Newlands, a position she was appointed to in August 2018. Having cut her teeth on global hotel brands, Carly remains one of the only female Radisson Hotel general managers in South Africa.
As one of eight brands within Radisson Hotel Group, the hallmarks of Park Inn by Radisson include colour, comfort and fun, as evidenced by the Newlands hotel’s vibrant décor, lobby bar and activity facilities. Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Newlands is also a staunch advocate of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing; currently the Deaf Federation of South Africa (Deaf SA) owns 51 percent of Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Newlands, which in turn offers support and career prospects to the Deaf and employs a Deaf staff compliment of 19 percent.
De Jong leads with humility, and is rigorous in her mentorship of both Deaf and hearing staff. ‘Both hearing staff and guests have benefited from our Deaf crew members who patiently teach sign language to anyone who wants to learn,’ she comments.
Prior to joining Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Newlands, De Jong worked for hotels in the CBD and surrounds in Cape Town. The suburban setting of the southern Suburbs, in her view, allows Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Newlands the freedom to be more creative in their offering of a more relaxed environment. ‘The inclusion of our Deaf staff also brings a different angle to our team at Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Newlands.’
After studying PR and business communication at Damelin College, De Jong moved to London where she worked at the front desk of a corporate hotel in 1999. A series of promotions followed until De Jong finally chose to return to South Africa, where she joined the Best Western in Zonnebloem, Cape Town.
Her first job with the Radisson Hotel Group was as service manager at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, the Group’s flagship hotel in Africa, in 2003; thereafter she joined The Bay Hotel (Camps Bay) as an assistant front office manager, followed by eight years at the Southern Sun Cape Sun where she advanced from front office manager to rooms division manager.
Returning to Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront in 2014, Carly found that the company had progressed greatly in its efforts to support and advance female employees. ‘More than half of the executive team at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront was female by then,’ she explains. ‘The Radisson Hotel Group embraces gender equality and diversity and supports these through numerous activities and initiatives.’
One such initiative is the System to Enhance Productivity and Service (STEPS) program, which involves workshops aimed at supporting female employees to build new skills and awareness of their talents, passions and capabilities, as well as emphasising growth paths, opportunities, the work/life balance, career management and impactful communication. In South Africa, women make up a mere 44 percent of the skilled workforce including managers, and so programs like this indicate Radisson Hotel Group’s wholehearted commitment to women’s empowerment. A STEPS graduate herself, De Jong adds: ‘I think there’s huge value in giving women clear career guidance to enable them to envision their career path.’
De Jong takes great pride in seeing women she employed climb the ranks in the hotel industry. As the GM of Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Newlands, her goal is to help other hotel employees achieve their career goals as she continues to grow in her position.