Hessa Al-Mazrou is among the first few Saudi women to be appointed to the post of hotel general manager. This appointment was a first in Al-Hokair group and among the pioneers in the Kingdom’s hospitality sector. Heading the Suite Novotel Hotel in Riyadh, Al-Mazrou shares her story with us.
Tell us about yourself.
I was 21 years old when I was appointed as the first and youngest director at Al-Hokair group’s public relations department. I was also an activist in humanitarian and voluntary work. I have 13 years of experience in the hospitality field, promoting brands, strategic planning and development, managing occasions in addition to managing social responsibility programs, clients’ loyalty program and public relations.
Tell us about entering the hotel business.
The field isn’t completely alien to me, for I am the daughter of the tourist sector. I started working in the entertainment and tourist sector since 2004, and was promoted in the group with the expansion of the work. In general, I see women as representatives of the hospitality sector. I believe ladies have a hotelier’s nature because they are skilled in public relations.
How do you view the income rate of Saudi women in the hospitality sector?
I can’t give you an exact rate, but it isn’t that big. For the majority of women who work in this sector are administrators, not hoteliers. But we should take advantage of the current awareness and suitable environment, which allowed Hessa Al-Mazrou to become general manager; today statistics reach between 40 to 50 percent.
How did the opportunity to occupy such a post arise?
At the beginning I was told during meetings for hotel managers that I should become the first manager in the hotel, and one day Mr. Sami Al-Hokair called me and said, “Hessa, we will give you the post of general manager.” He was serious and he didn’t intend the job to be only an image. He asked me to start work in the hotel to learn the industry. I started working and training since December last year. The training period was given great care and the team supplied me with a lot of information even at the hardest of times to know all there is to know about hotel work.
How do you view the response after the announcement of your post?
Frankly, I wasn’t expecting that much interest from everybody, and I won’t be exaggerating if I say I got congratulation calls from inside and outside Saudi Arabia. I was happy with this response, but the best comment came from my mother who said, “I am proud of you!”
Which international personality has inspired you the most?
Steve Jobs. Because he was a person with many failures, but always believed in himself and he always thought out of the box. He is an innovator and had the ability to make people chase their dreams and I would like to follow his example.
What is your dream?
To become an inspiring story for young women.