Greene King’s Alexandra Bower, guest speaker at the Big Hospitality Conversation

Alexandra, Talent Acquisitions Manager, captivated audiences at the Big Hospitality Conversation Careers Event in Liverpool this February.

The Big Hospitality Conversation aims to bring influential industry leaders from the top hospitality businesses together with young people, helping them to have quality career experiences. Additionally, the Big Hospitality Conversation gives young people a voice and gives industry leaders the opportunity to meet and understand their concerns and needs. This year, the event was a big success. Around 300 people attended, and they received over 200 pledges of new jobs, apprenticeships or work placements on the day.

As a leader in the hospitality industry, Greene King was naturally a strong voice and well represented by the energy, passion and experience of Alex.

We had a strong presence at the event, with Recruitment Manager Nicky Wright and Recruitment Advisor Lori Broadhurst both in attendance as well as Business Development Managers Owen Campbell, Ben Anguige and General Manager Bryn Speck interviewing.

There was even a cake made by the talented team at Lymewood Farmhouse Inns! During the event Alex spoke openly about her experiences in the hospitality industry:

I got my first job at the age of 14 as a potato peeler in a small garden centre in Nottingham. At the age of 16, I applied for a job at McDonalds because a few of my friends were applying there. At the same time I started college doing A levels in Law, Communications and General Studies. My attendance at college was poor, I think in fact only 20% at one point. That’s when I became pregnant.

This huge turning point in my life helped me focus my energy on what was important in life. It gave me a sense of ambition to achieve more than I had dreamed before, and it gave me a goal. I managed to turn my attendance around at college, went on to attend university in Birmingham achieving a 2.1 in Hospitality Business Management. I travelled 400 miles a week, worked a further 30 hours a week and brought up Callum on my own, well with a little help from my family and fabulous childminder”.

Following University Alex wanted to give her son stability whilst starting school and worked as a PA for the Managing Director at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Alex missed hospitality and whilst on maternity with her second child Libby she was headhunted by Premier Inn.

From there Alex made a decision that she wanted to work in the hospitality industry and joined Premier Inn, not realising at that point that she would spend the next 11 years working there.

Before my interview I was given some of the best advice I had ever received: ‘Just be yourself’. I took that to heart and I believe it helped me. During my interview I was asked what I would do if they were to offer me the role there and then, and without hesitation I said I would jump over the table and give them a big kiss!

The audience was fascinated as Alex then went into detail about the many roles she’d held in the business before arriving at her current position.

I started as a reception Team Member, moving to reservations Team Leader where I found my passion for talent management. I then took on the role of Sales Manager of a new hotel, however I missed the team environment and a year later I returned as a Housekeeping Manager. Moving on I became an Operations Manager and then moved to a Deputy General Manager. My next role took me out of operations and into Talent & Resourcing. The point is that I had a long and fulfilling career journey. My passion was always supported by the business and my line managers, and I was allowed to find the area in which I felt happiest.

Additionally, Alex told audiences a bit about Greene King and the many opportunities for developing an amazing career with one of the 18 brands we have throughout the UK. With over 3000 pubs, that means careers for 42,000 people.

It’s important for me that you know that Greene King believes in providing great opportunities for passionate people who have a great attitude. The main thing is that you want to work in a team and that you want to bring out the best in yourself and in others. If you have the ability to contribute, to treat others with respect and to take responsibility, you’ll thrive and you’ll achieve success.

The real surprise however came when Alex told everyone about how her son, now grown up, was following in his mother’s footsteps.

Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to work for and with some extraordinary leaders who believed in me and helped me get where I am today. I learned so much from working in this industry and developed so many skills, and that’s why 1 year ago I introduced my son, Callum, to the hospitality industry. He now works as a Kitchen Team Member. I encouraged him to join because I believe it’s a good foundation to nurture so many skills and it can take you to places and roles that you would have never dreamed of. That’s what I want to say to all of you as well. Don’t be afraid, jump in. All you need is to be yourself and to bring the best version of yourself to the business. We’ll help you transform that into an outstanding career.

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