While having lunch at Saffron Restaurant, we talked with the General Manager of Four Points by Sheraton Bandung, Emi Rusmiati. She talked a lot about her career journey that was full of struggle until she could become GM in this hotel. Here is our interview:
Hello Mrs. Emi. So good to see you!
Nice to meet you too.
Congratulations on landing a position as General Manager in this amazing hotel. How do you feel about it?
Thank you! Honestly, I’m so excited about being a GM in Four Points by Sheraton Bandung hotel. After setting up my career for more than 20 years and had been working in 8 different hotels, I think this is an achievement I’m most proud of.
Wow, 20 years must give an amazing career journey for you. What makes you interested in hospitality?
That’s right. I could learn a lot from that 20-years experience, as I started from the bottom as well. From waiters to now, general manager.
The reason I wanted to have a career in this industry was started when I was still in high school. At that time, I once joined a family day hosted by Pan Pacific Hotel Jakarta. That’s the moment I for the first time see and enter a hotel which for me at that time was really big and luxurious. Apart from that moment, my brother happened to get married and get in-laws who worked as housekeepers at Hotel Indonesia. So, I had the opportunity to be invited to tour the hotel. It turned out that the people were all friendly and made me even more interested in working at the hotel.
How you begin your career?
I actually have never been to school or studied hospitality. So, when I first applied to Le Meridien Jakarta in 1994, I was still studying in Jakarta, majoring in Economics, not hospitality. I remember once during an interview to apply for a waiter, the F&B Director asked what capital I had to be able to work there. I answered innocently that I used to help parents set up the table at home because my family is quite large. Hahaha. Apparently I was accepted, maybe he was impressed with my innocent answers. A year there, I got a lot of knowledge about hospitality. Maybe because I am brave, I was always used as back up in various positions for employees who were on maternity leave. I was there for 7-8 years, began as operational staff to became a supervisor.
Then how you turned into being a sales staff?
I was interested in becoming a salesperson because when I was an operational staff, I saw the sales staff looked very cool. At 10 am when we are busy taking care of the checkouts, they look relaxed and stylish. Therefore, I want to be a salesperson. At first, I tried applying for the sales position at the same hotel but was refused. But I am the type of person who, if rejected, becomes even more zealous to prove I am capable enough. I finally took Cross-Training for a few months and get the opportunity to become a DOSM Assistant. Then to the reservation manager and finally the sales manager. Finally, I was accepted as a salesperson in 1997. It turned out that I have good skills and talent in sales. I often get intensive trips abroad because my sales reaching above 120%
What do you think is your strongest point?
I am the type of person who always uses the opportunity as well as possible. Often I accept work that other people avoid. For example, I once landed a position as DOSM in a hotel in Lampung, where most people refused. 1.5 years I was there, the hotel got the highest service charge in the history of the hotel. I am also the type of person who is quite reckless, but for the purpose of learning and developing myself. When someone doubts my ability, that’s when I’m motivated to get better and prove that the person’s judgment is wrong. Although, the struggle I faced during my career was also quite challenging.
So, what’s the reason you accepted an offer from Four Points by Sheraton Bandung?
The opportunity to grow in this hotel is big. I was setting up the market for Four Points Legian and successful. I saw this was my way to increase the branding of the Four Points. Then I volunteered to set up the market in Bandung. I already knew where to go, because I had previously done it for Sheraton Bandung.
What do you want to achieve with Four Points by Sheraton Bandung?
I want to be able to improve the welfare of employees, as well as their finances. And of course, I want to improve their skills. I would be very proud there is staff that could get an offer to work in a 5-star hotel because she/he was working here. I want to prove that people who work here have a good qualification. Other than that, I also want to make this hotel to remain the number one choice.
Other than being a general manager, do you have another goal?
I actually want to become a CEO of bakso restaurant. Hahaha. I see that business is really promising and not seasonal. I even went to a workshop of making bakso and mie ayam with my husband. So basically, I already had the knowledge to start the business. But, that is my future plan as I want to focus on being a general manager in this hotel. I still want to set up my career higher than now.
Do you work to live, or live to work?
Hard question. Hmm… I think both of them need to be balanced. I love seeing other people in my age enjoying their non-hectic lives. But on the other side, I love being busy with my work. For now, I’m still trying to balance work and life. I can say that 70% of my life is working, so for now, I will choose “live to work”.
Okay, thanks a lot for your inspirational chit-chat. Hope to see you again.
You’re very welcome!