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Does a career in hospitality appeal? Check out Jessica's story

Does a career in hospitality appeal? Check out Jessica's story

Jessica Rafferty - General Manager/Owner - The Crown & Badger

What did you want to be when you were 16?
An Architect. There was something about designing functional workspaces and changing people's lives that really enticed me. Helping to develop homes and cities while also being able to express creativity (in a very practical way).  By 17 I wanted to own 10 hotels and change the hospitality industry.

What did you end up doing when you left school?
That's a big one... when I finished University I was certain that New Zealand was too small for me. I worked in retail to save enough money and moved to Chicago to work in Hotels, once my visa expired I packed my bags and began an events and marketing job for a large pub in London.  I also worked on Richard Branson's private island in the British Virgin Islands looking after guest activities.

Describe a day in your life at work:
No two days are alike and that's what I really enjoy about my work. Usually, I'll spend the morning sorting emails and accounts then once the bar opens I spend my days developing strategy, marketing campaigns, staff training, working on health and safety and developing procedures. Sometimes I jump in the kitchen and help out the chefs, while other days I wait tables and work behind the bar interacting with customers. I work very closely on developing key staff members and working on our products - whether it's trying new beers, creating cocktails or putting together new menus. 

Why do you love your job/career?
I love that I get to make people happy every day. Customers come in and we spend time with them, make their days a little bit better. I also really enjoy the crazy hospitality people that I work with, we're a big family and that's something that's different to a lot of industries.

How did you get into your career?
I picked up a few hospitality bartending/waitressing jobs while studying and just kept going. Worked in all different areas of the industry from hotel reception, washing dishes, marketing and event management.

What qualifications did you study?
I did a Bachelor of Management Studies (BMS) with a major in International Management and Tourism Management.

Do you have any advice for getting into your sector?
It's about people, as long as you've got happy customers and keep them enjoying themselves while they spend time with you, then you'll go far. It's a people business, just make sure you're adaptable and can think on your feet because hospitality is a fast game!

What do you wish you had done differently?
Nothing, I like to live life with a 'no regrets' model. I've learnt from everything; perhaps there are times when I could have listened to others a bit more but I genuinely love everything about how my life has rolled out so far.

What would you say to your teenage self about defining your future?
Do what makes you happy. If it makes you happy, then do it. If a decision doesn’t quite ‘feel right’ then don’t do it.

Title Hospitality