As we count down to Women’s Day on 9 August, we invite you to meet the women of Cape Grace. Each with their own unique stories of trials, hope and triumph; these are some of the wonderful ladies who exude the warmth, and dedication we are known for.
From humble beginnings in small towns, these ladies have risen to achieve more than what they ever dreamed was possible. So what lead them to Cape Grace? For most, it was a goal they fiercely chased. Internships, entry-level positions and sheer determination got them in, but for all of them, it is their journey of growth within Cape Grace that we find so inspiring.
‘Having heard about the property in the industry, I knew that one day, this is where I would be,’ answered Samantha Butterson, our Front Office Officer.
‘I was introduced to the hospitality industry by chance as a student trainee spa therapist, whilst gaining experiential learning at the Cape Grace Spa. I had never imagined that this is where I will have my career developed’, added Hazel Roberts, our Spa Supervisor.
Yolanda Kemp’ – Head of Housekeeping’s story, while fraught with trials, is heart-warming. ‘I started at Cape Grace as the Contract Manager for cleaning, and four years later became Assistant Head Housekeeper. My manager saw abilities and potential in me that I had never even thought I had. I was afforded the opportunity to go to Disney World for three months after I started at Cape Grace, and with it, a lot of amazing training, courses and coaching sessions that allowed me to be groomed into the person I am today.’
Thandiswa Sitofile from our Front Office, has an equally remarkable story of growth. She grew up in a rural area and started out working as a waste sorter for a company that contracted to Cape Grace. ‘The company requested me to come to Cape Grace to stand in for an ex-colleague. That was the first time I’d ever seen or heard of a hotel.’ Sadly, Thandi initially did not think that she would ever be worthy of working for Cape Grace. ‘I had never seen such amazing people in my life, and didn’t think I was good enough to work for Cape Grace.’
However, she was approached by one of the in-house chefs who saw her potential and encouraged her to apply for a job in housekeeping, where she was appointed as a room attendant in 2004. Thandi craved more, and worked closely with our HR team to develop her skills and opportunities, taking courses and landing promotions. We are proud to say that she is now one of our two outstanding Front Office Supervisors.
As for what they appreciate most about their roles, the enthusiasm is palpable. Nosi Dyushu from our Reservations department enjoys assisting guests with planning their trips and hearing about how happy they are once their needs have been met. For Jineane Smal, our Functions Manager, it is the interaction she enjoys most. ‘It is great working with so many different people and personalities. While we do many similar events, none of the guests making reservations are the same.’ Sam shares the same passion for people. ‘I love the interactions. As a team, we respect each other and are close, like family.’ Hazel says that the peaceful nature of the spa and her amazing team are what she enjoys most about her job. ‘I am fortunate to be working alongside a very special group of women from all walks of life.’
Yolanda answers that, for her, Cape Grace is home. ‘The Hotel is not only interested in creating an experience for our guests but also for us, as employees. Cape Grace has a heart for people, their growth and development.’
When asked about which women inspire them the most, the answer is closer to home than what you might think. ‘I am especially inspired by single women,’ mused Thandi. ‘Raising children alone is never easy. It takes a very strong woman to do it.’ For Hazel, the answer is right here, at Cape Grace. ‘Taryn Lilley, the Cape Grace Spa Manager. She has taught me so much and took a chance on me from the very beginning and I can not thank her enough for the opportunity. She inspires me through her own ability to set goals and achieve them, consistently.’ Yolanda agrees. ‘I like to keep it local and close to home. Yolanda Cooke – Executive Operations Manager. Her passion for Cape Grace is shown in her dedication to the business.’
So what continues to drive these powerhouse ladies? For Thandi, caffeine is key. ‘Having a cappuccino brought to me in the morning gives a kick. But really, arriving to the smiles from Cape Grace staff everyday makes my day.’ Nosi comments, ‘I am motivated by my lovely daughter and also the future. My dreams are the future and my goal is to make them come true.’ For Jineane, the constant change keeps her on her toes. ‘I enjoy keeping busy and being involved in different projects. Having multiple deadlines to keep track of is what motivates me.’ Hazel hopes to inspire young girls with her story. ‘Your circumstances do not determine your future. My perseverance and absolute passion for what I do has made me successful. I live by this motto “If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough!”’
Thandi wraps up with some beautiful parting words. ‘As we countdown to Women’s Day, I would like to remind all women that hard work is the key. Believe in yourself. Seek advice and prioritise your education.’ Jineane echoes her sentiments, adding ‘Never underestimate yourself, and go the extra mile. Nothing ever goes unnoticed, so make everything count.’
We are so thrilled that these bold, courageous, warm-hearted women call Cape Grace home, and proud to continue to champion their success.
Samantha Butterson – Front Office
Thandiswa Sitofile – Front Office
Yolanda Kemp – Head of Housekeeping
Hazel Roberts – Spa Supervisor
Jineane Smal – Functions Manager
Nosi (Nosiphiwo) Dyushu – Reservations
Blog post by Tarah Darge