It’s a pleasure to bring out the inspirational journeys of the much accomplished ladies from the hospitality industry. In fact it has been 8 months of IWH and we have connected with, learnt about and from many illustrious personalities. That has been our motivation; we have another such personality – Ms. Sanah Singh Tomar. I have known her for over 24 years; we were batch mates as well as hostel mates at IHM Mumbai. She was liked by all; be the professors, batchmates, seniors or juniors and was a favourite of many. Well spoken, well dressed and whatever ‘Well’ one can associate with a person; she was all that and more. I found her to be extremely diplomatic and matured beyond her years even then. She was a level headed teenager and now she is an excellence coach, a role befitting her personality to the T. She has been a role model and a mentor to many professionals.
Ms. Tomar is an experienced learning and development professional with over 2 decades of experience in the field of developing human resources in the corporate sector. Her expertise lies in Coaching for performance, Personal effectiveness, Well being, Creating impact in presenting and communication, Leadership- leading self and others and working collaboratively as a team. A graduate degree holder in hotel management from The Oberoi Centre for Learning and Development, followed by PGD (HRM) from Symbiosis, Pune. Topped with a diploma in L&D from the Indian society of training and development (ISTD) , ACC ICF (International Coaching Federation) certification from the Neuroleadership group, India and Coach Masters Academy, Singapore.
She is passionate about working with individuals to help them realise their potential and consequently achieve their goals. Being an experienced ICF certified Executive/well being coach has helped her do that. Over 5000 people covering a gamut of industries have been trained by her to date. She has conducted workshops for organisations as varied as Aon, American Express, Cognizant, Coca Cola, EY, Fortis, Genpact, HSBC, McKinsey, Pepsico, Wells Fargo, RBS, SRF & Sopra Steria to name a few.
Ms. Tomar has varied interests ranging from psychology to spirituality, from creative arts to well being and she brings these interests to every interaction to create highly engaging learning experiences for one and all. IWH experienced exactly that; we had a power packed and delightful conversation with her.
IWH: Tell us something about you, your growing up years, life through school, college etc.
Ms. Tomar: Born in the Middle East (Iran) to a set of well educated, forward looking and doting parents was the perfect start to my life. I was an extremely quiet and introverted child till I was sent to a boarding school (CJM, Shimla) close to my double digit birthday. Being a boarding school child taught me to be confident and self reliant.
IWH: What made you select Hospitality as a career? Was it easy making that decision?
Ms. Tomar: As a child I wanted to be a doctor just like my father, but my awful grades in Maths kept that as a distant dream. As a young adolescent girl the glamour of the airlines attracted me next and that’s what made me chose an education in hospitality. The decision to be a part of this industry was made easier for me my by elder brother who was already a part of it, owing to his passion for the culinary world.
IWH: What is your current role?
Ms. Tomar: I moved out of hospitality a decade ago and since then I have worked across industries having trained more than 5000 people in areas of human behavior, skills and knowledge. I am currently working as a consultant with a couple of organisations and running my own executive/ well being coaching practice. Serving people has been a key thread of my work life both in hospitality and as a coach. Writing articles and challenging myself physically are my new found interests.
IWH: How has your hospitality/ professional journey been so far? Pros, cons etc?
Ms. Tomar: The hospitality industry is designed to test young professionals on many fronts but the beauty is that if you are able to successfully stay on top of it, it can set you up for life. I owe a lot to my training and early work life experience in the hotel world to have given me the multiple hard/ soft skills that have been my pillars of strength till date.
IWH: Who has been your mentor or a role model? In what way has that person helped you?
Ms. Tomar: Not one but many people have played an important role in my professional journey. Right from school, college to OCLD and professionals I have worked with over the years.
IWH: What have been the high points of your career? Highlight at least 3.
Ms. Tomar: Life in IHM Mumbai was a roller coaster ride from the HIGHS of discovering how large a hotel operation really is/ wonderful friendships/ great faculty/ being a part of the most glamorous, talked about events in Mumbai/ a very conducive environment for performance to the LOWS of struggling in the BTK (basic training kitchen) and not understanding hotel engineering and maintenance at all. Becoming the college president in the final year gave me a real time flavor of what leadership can be and should be. Graduating to be a part of OCLD as a management trainee further strengthened qualities such as discipline, grooming, service orientation, attention to detail, humility and ability to work hard and long hours. From hotel operations, I moved into hotel training and since then I have been a learning and development professional.
IWH: What challenges have you faced as a woman in the industry? How did you deal with them?
Ms. Tomar: Work life balance is one of the biggest challenges women face especially when it comes to child rearing but a supportive family/ community and great HR policies can help women ease through those crucial years.
IWH: What do you think of IWH?
Ms. Tomar: A big thank you to IWH for bringing this community together and allowing us to share our adventures.
IWH: Your advice to the young professionals and students.
Ms. Tomar: Irrespective of where one works – Discipline, Dedication and Determination are key to performance. If you are passionate about what you do, the three mentioned before come naturally. To be able to balance professional and personal aspirations needs constant focus on both.
We thank Ms. Tomar for her time and the ‘many takeaways’ from her personal and professional life. One of them being creating balance in all things that we do.