Harriet James @harriet86jim
For how long have you been GM?
I have been a general manager for seven years now and in food and beverages departments for 20 years. This industry has encouraged me to be open and social; you get to interact with different cultures and backgrounds, which makes you appreciate and learn more.
How has been that journey ?
My first job was flipping burgers at Wimpy Sarit Centre, Nairobi, back in 1998. I then worked in different restaurants before owning a food court at Westgate that sold Ferrero Roche milkshakes that were first to be released in Kenyan. Later, I moved into hotels in Naivasha, Masai Mara, Middle East, Uganda, Zanzibar and now Laikipia.
Why is Maiyan a hot destination?
Maiyan offers a lot more than just a holiday destination. Laikipia is known for the mountains and hills and, at Maiyan, you get uninterrupted views of Mt Kenya and the Lolldaiga Hills. We also have courts for games such as basketball and tennis, outdoor and indoor children’s play areas with a child minder and other sports facilities. We have also offer modern conference facilities that can accommodate up to 160 people.
How much does it cost to visit?
For a family or group of 12, we are looking at Sh12,220 per person per night on full board with a private plunge pool and jacuzzi.
What is the best season to visit?
All year round, the views are spectacular. Laikipia county government recently released a destination Laikipia website and an app for mobile phones, which showcase all facilities, from the small nyama choma joints to big hotels. I would urge stakeholders to surpass tourists expectations, such as offering free upgrades and late checkouts.
What challenges have you faced?
Hotel owners should trust their managers and encourage them to maximise their input on improving the facilities. I am a better person today because my directors have trusted and encouraged me to perform. My director once told me, “The highest level of leadership is when you develop other leaders”. I encourage GM’s to grow our subordinates and encourage them, appreciate mistakes and improve.
Your parting shot?
Always treat your subordinates with care and make them understand when they are wrong and also learn and appreciate them when they are right.