Never in her wildest dreams did Claudia Adams think that she would be where she is today. From chambermaid to reservations manager at one of South Africa’s most prestigious hotels, her story is nothing short of inspiring. Newly promoted to her position at Sun International’s Table Bay hotel, she has shown that with passion and determination there is no limit to what can be achieved – even from the humblest of beginnings.
Raised by her granny in Wynberg and later Mitchell’s Plain, Adams was schooled at Glendale Secondary School after which she applied for work at The Table Bay as a chambermaid in 1998. Always willing to learn and go the extra mile, her superiors noticed her enquiring and enthusiastic nature and she found herself weaving her way around the hotel, working in various positions, from houseman, to the linen counter, to public area attendant and linen supervisor to housekeeping co-coordinator, reservationist, reservations administrator, assistant reservations manager and now reservations manager.
She says that each step in the journey has provided her with invaluable insights and knowledge into the inner workings of the five star Table Bay; insights that she perhaps wouldn’t have had had she not started at the bottom and consistently worked her way up the ladder.
“You cannot put a price on the great learning and experience to be gained from working your way through different departments. I have been exposed to diverse aspects of the hotel and enjoyed the privilege of mentorship at every level. This has helped me grow and develop to where I am today.
“I was lucky enough to earn the attention of Janet Samuel who was once the front office manager at The Table Bay. She saw the potential in me and invested her time to groom me for a position in reservations.
“Through Sun International, I was able to complete various training programmes including completing my Level 3 and Level 4 in Generic Management. This gave me a great foundation for development as a manager.
“My growth over the years is testament to the great emphasis that Sun International places on linking the aspirations of employees with the right training. This ensures that employees’ strengths and passions can be nurtured to develop meaningful career paths and enable them to reach their fullest potential,” says Adams.
As with most people stepping into new territory, she recalls feeling somewhat out of her depth when she moved into her first role in reservations.
“When I first started in reservations, my biggest challenge was figuring out how I would I fit in with the team; they were all so professional, well-spoken and highly educated. I on the other hand, came from housekeeping and knew very little about computers. The only experience I had with computers was during my time as a housekeeping coordinator. Of course, it was daunting but I was determined to learn. I wanted to grow within the company.
“Despite the challenges and feelings of unease at times, I have always loved working at The Table Bay where we are blessed with an amazing team and strong support structure. It is my home.” About her new position she says: “I am loving it. Of course it has its challenges but this is what I have worked so hard for. This is where I want to be for the next few years. With a great team and a great attitude, it is possible to overcome any challenge.”
Looking ahead, she has aspirations of being a hotel manager one day; “I love to interact with guests and I would like to be part of operations.” To young people who are facing challenges like she did in becoming employed and advancing in a career, she has this advice; “Make sure that you complete your schooling. A matric certificate is the first key to unlocking the door of opportunity. If you get a chance to study further, embrace it with everything you have. Reach for the stars and never ever give up. Life is full of opportunity and it is what you make of it. So, when you have an opportunity to learn, go for it. Don’t wait until it is too late.”
Adams is married to whom she describes as the man of her dreams. They have one son and have been blessed with a granddaughter whom she adores. Her spare time is spent with her family and doting on her three year old granddaughter.
“At least once a month, we make a plan to explore the sights and attractions of our beautiful city.”