Working hard at my dream role

In our My Career feature, Corporate Sales Executive, Clayton Hotel Silver Springs Laura O'Mahony tells us about her role
Working hard at my dream role
Laura O Mahony Corporate Sales Executive Clayton Silversprings Hotel.

Name: Laura O’Mahony

Age: 25

Lives: Newly relocated to Wilton, originally from beautiful Bantry, West Cork.

Job title: Corporate Sales Executive

Salary bracket: €25 to €35,000

Education Background: Leaving Cert in Colaiste Phobal, Bantry, under the wonderful guidance of Principal Michael Milner who still keeps a close eye on me! BA-Business & French Degree with a Major in Marketing, University of Limerick. Last year, I completed a Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing. Currently part of the Sales Development Programme with Dalata Hotel Group.

Hobbies: Apart from being totally social media obsessed, my ‘real’ hobbies include fitness and kayaking. I’m currently training for a Quest Adventure Race in March, 29km of running, cycling and kayaking.

Describe your job in five words: Challenging, exciting, busy, results-oriented, fast-paced.

Describe yourself in five words: Motivated, enthusiastic, hard-working, driven, passionate.

Personality needed for this kind of work: For a job in sales, you need to be extremely outgoing and sociable and have the ability to build personal relationships with your clients. When you are meeting with people with such varied personalities every day, you need to be adaptable to deal with such different personalities because one of the most important characteristics needed to be successful is to be an excellent communicator.

You need to also be resilient, results-driven, organised, persuasive yet genuine and, some days more than others, patient.

How long are you doing this job? I’m a newbie — I started my role in Clayton Hotel Silver Springs in October, 2017. Even though it’s been just a few short months, I feel like I have always been part of the team there!

How did you get this job: I have always worked in the hospitality sector. From my part-time school and college jobs in a local bar and a hotel reception, it was from there my love of the hospitality industry was born. I was drawn in by the fast-paced culture of hotels and, as our CEO Pat McCann said during a recent interview: “Once the hotel business gets into your system it’s very hard to do anything else.” I was of the same belief.

Just as I qualified with my degree four years ago, I was very fortunate that at the hotel I was working in at the time, the Sales & Marketing Manager left quite suddenly and I was given the opportunity to cover for her while they found a replacement that had more experience, as just out of university, my experience was lacking. But what I lacked in experience, I made up for with passion, enthusiasm, fresh ideas, knowledge of the latest digital channels and trends and, most importantly, hard work (and a lot of late nights!). As a result, I was given the role of Sales & Marketing permanently. It was an amazing an opportunity and one I will always be grateful for.

During my first year of my new role, the hotel was in receivership and being managed by Dalata Hotel Group. During the year, I came to learn just what a progressive company Dalata was. It has the most up-to-date systems and technologies, an abundance of training and support available, an emphasis on employee wellbeing and a wealth of career opportunities due to the rapid expansion of the group (now the largest in the country).

The hotel was bought a year later and so I left the Dalata Group, but I knew my aim would be to work for them again. After three brilliant and rewarding years at the Westlodge Hotel, I knew I had gained as much valuable experience and progressed as far as I possibly could from an amazing team and yearned to advance further. I searched for positions on the Dalata Hotel Group Careers page (top tip right there), applied for a role and two weeks later I was the new Corporate Sales Executive for Clayton Hotel Silver Springs in Cork.

Even though I was, on one hand, over the moon at the thought of all the opportunities that would now be available to me in my new role, it was an extremely hard decision for me to leave the job I loved and had worked so hard at, but you can’t let your fears and apprehensions hold you back from achieving your goals.

Do you need particular qualifications or experience for this job: Generally, I believe you would need a business qualification but experience is so important for a role in sales.

Describe a day at work: My day to day activities usually vary which keeps it interesting! But generally an average day will include our morning managers meeting to communicate whats happening in the hotel on any given day, planning social media activity for the day, keeping our hotel website up to date. I then usually leave the office for a few hours for sales calls where I visit existing or potential clients at their offices. I get to meet some amazing people and build some really strong connections. Back to the office in the afternoon, I make some sales calls and plan and action further sales activities. And of course emails, always lots of emails! I may also attend a relevant networking events in the evening with my wonderful Manager, Norina.

How many hours do you work a week: Well, a normal working week is 39 hours but anyone that works in hotels know that there is no such thing as a normal week! Between networking events, sales calls, deadlines, etc the week can be busy but I love it.

What do you wear to work: Standard, smart business attire.

Is your industry male or female dominated? My sales colleagues at the Clayton Hotel Silver Springs and my counterparts around the country in other Clayton Hotels tend to be mostly women also, but I find the majority of hotel General Managers tend to be males. However, the clients that I work with and go out and visit are a mix of men and women.

Does this affect you in any particular way? No, not at all.

Is your job stressful? How? Rate it on a scale of 1-10: I wouldn’t say so much stressful as busy, there is always something to be done and it definitely keeps me on my toes! I would say 7.

Do you work with others or on your own? I work in an office of seven women who all get on really well, so as you can imagine it can get a bit loud and excitable sometimes, but it’s always great fun and a great atmosphere — it’s a great place to work.

When do you plan to retire or give up working? I still feel like I am only at the beginning of my career so couldn’t even think about retiring yet!

Best Bits: Getting out on the road and getting to meet some really great clients and building strong relationship and sometimes friendships with these people, you get to hear some fascinating stories and meet some very interesting characters. Also, another best bit would be the glamorous events and balls we get to attend — I just love an excuse to get all glammed up!

Worst bits: Managing my time when trying to prioritise getting out and meeting as many clients as possible, while trying to balance the day to day emails and administration duties that come with my job. I am always striving to manage my time better.

Advice to those who want your job: Work hard, be passionate and join as many organisations and local groups as you can to build up your contact base, be confident of your ability and give it 100%!

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