I met Ms. Alka Patta in 2017, at an international summit in Mumbai, she was then the Rooms Division Manager at Radisson Blu. It was really nice knowing more about this dynamic lady, in fact I had heard of her from some students who had interned under her. They said that he was a role model, they learnt so much under her. Role model she has been for sure, mentoring her staff and being a voice for them. She is a people’s person, quite focused on her job and having strong leadership skills. She talks about her 25 years journey into the industry, IWH in conversation with Ms. Patta.
IWH: Tell us something about you, your growing up years, life through school, college etc.
Born in Agra, Uttar Pradesh and brought up in many cities as my father was is Railways and always on the move. I was brought up like a son in times when a girl was considered as a second gender. I remember my parents boasting that their daughter learnt to ride a bicycle in just one day. Climbing up the trees was one of the activities which would make mother go panic and would run after me to stop it. There are so many memories of my bold ways of handling situations. In class 7, I drove a Bajaj Chetak Scooter flawlessly way back in 1980’s it was very uncommon for the so called, second gender (a girl)
I did my schooling from various schools and did my Class 12 from DAV Nizamuddin East and got enrolled in Osmania University for Graduation.
IWH: What made you select Hospitality as a career? Was it easy making that decision?
My father got transferred to Agra again in 1990 and that’s when one of his colleague suggested if I would be interested to join Hotel Industry which I wasn’t interested in at all as the perception those days in small cities about hotels was weird. My father counselled me and I went for my first interview ever for ‘Job Trainee’ at The Welcomgroup Mughal Sheraton, Agra and got selected by my first Boss Mrs. Padmaja Iyer.
Since I wasn’t a pass out of any IHM, I was disdained and I decided to quit the place.
My parents cheered me up and I learnt to NEVER GIVE UP whatsoever the circumstances be !
Eventually, I became one of the favourites of my boss as she could sense my passion to learn and become the best.
I don’t regret the amount of hard work and testing times I experienced during the training. It helped me be what I am today – headstrong with Never Say Never attitude.
Hospitality as a career has helped me to understand people from different walks of life!
IWH: What is your current role?
My last assignment was with Radisson Blu as Room Division Manager and presently I am a Hotel consultant.
IWH: How has your hospitality journey been so far? Pros, cons etc?
The journey has been wonderful so far. I have worked with the best of people in the industry for last 25 years.
A special person needs a mention here without whom I would not be the person I am today and that is my husband and my boss, Jitesh Patta (General Manager with various properties) has been my Rock of Gibraltar.
The balance in professional and personal life while we worked together as Management couple has been incredible.
Right from classification of the hotel to the CSR activities, it’s been a learning and exciting journey.
We work on days when my other friends enjoy festivals.
Now our Daughter has joined hospitality and is pursuing her Final year from IHM, Pusa. Life comes a full circle.
IWH: Who has been your mentor or a role model? In what way has that person helped you?
My parents had been continuous support throughout. My father has been my role model and I learnt the values of hard work, determination and being passionate.
I lost them both 4 years back and the damage is beyond words.
IWH: What have been the high points of your career? Highlight at least 3?
When I worked in a project hotel and learnt the importance of a project handover to Hotel Operations.
When Management trusted my capability and gave responsibility to manage Room Divisions Operations at The Ummed, Jodhpur.
The 5 star classification of the last property I worked in where The Regional Director Mumbai, the Minisitry of Tourism , Mr.Vikas Rustagi, applauded and mentioned that I should go to the IHMs and give the students an insight of my career despite not being a professional degree holder and have reached where many degree holders dream of. Mr.A.K.Singh,Principal IHM Mumbai, who accompanied him immediately invited me to IHM Mumbai.
This was the most treasurable moment of my life.
IWH: What challenges have you faced as a woman in the industry? How did you deal with them?
Being a woman, you have to first stop thinking it as a challenge!
I have always been a straight forward person and my colleagues & subordinates clearly understands “work means work “. Stay focused!
IWH: If there was anything that you could change about your life or career what would that be?
I don’t want to change anything about my life.
I have always helped my associates to grow professionally and personally too.
Some forget who helped them grow but then I believe:
Do good and good shall come to you in ten folds.
IWH: What do you think of IWH?
Amazing thought that turned up into a reality. It’s a platform where we learn about wonderful women from hospitality. Their journey, joys and challenges: all at one place IWH. All thanks to Ms.Laxmi Todiwan. Cheers !
IWH: Your advice to the young professionals and students.
Follow your passion, Stay Focussed, Believe in hard work and to accept the failure but NEVER EVER GIVE UP!
IWH: Anything else you wish to share with our reader:
I am fortunate to have worked in City Hotels, Resorts and Time Share properties. There has been a huge learning that I’ll be grateful to every work place.
As Ms. Patta says, she has learnt so much from every organization that she has worked with; we too learn immensely from the people we meet and all those who touch our lives in many different ways. Life is to learn, absorb wisdom, and create synergy with people or the organizations that we become a part of. With our batteries recharged we bid farewell to Ms. Alka Patta and reminisce in the time that we spent with her.