30 Professional years and still going strong- interview with Mrs. Vaneeta Arora

 Risen like a Phoenix – Chef Reetu Uday Kugaji
May 14, 2018
Ms. Camellia Panjabi
May 17, 2018

30 Professional years and still going strong- interview with Mrs. Vaneeta Arora

We meet some people who leave a deep impact on our thought process and we can never forget their friendly and warm demeanor. Mrs. Vaneeta Arora, Director Housekeeping, The Park New Delhi, is one such lady. When I met her for the first time, that’s the kind of interaction I had with her. I was on my training assignment but every evening I finished my work I would rush to her office. Her office had a treasure of books, manuals and things that had great value. The best being ‘HER’; she knew so much about the hospitality industry, its growth, specially in the Delhi region. She spoke so much about the first few hotels. It was like sourcing rich body of information and knowledge from her archives.  Sitting at her office, she knew exactly what was up with her staff anywhere in the hotel, her network of information was one of the best I’ve seen. Above all was her humility, she probably gauged, what I had in my mind. I have been intrigued by anyone providing information that wasn’t there in the books. Unfortunately when it comes to hospitality there really isn’t much as hospitality professionals don’t write about their experiences. This has been the area of interest for me as I am into teaching, learning and development. It helps me immensely if I can share anecdotes. She was one such person who did exactly that for me, let me share one here,

I used the heart of the house areas (back of the house areas, where guests do not go) most of the times, going from my room to the training classroom.  The areas were maintained so well, they were more like art galleries than fire exits. Beautiful picture messages and timely reminders everywhere including the staff cafeteria.I believe reinforcements  and ready reminders drive home messages much clearer and louder. This hotel was doing it, I was certainly delighted. The garden concept used by housekeeping, making use of the bathtubs was one of the best I have seen. What thought, concept and use of the need of the hour… that’s sustainability! The hotel renovated some rooms and got the bathtubs removed, again a step in the right direction. What would have happened to the discarded bathtubs? They would have reached the junk yard and remained there for ages creating waste that wouldn’t decompose. Adding to the filth that already exists in such places. Instead Mrs. Arora came up with a great idea that was three pronged, one remove the bath tubs and help hotel save water, the cleaning time, cleaning agents etc. Two, not add to the pile of un decomposed junk and three; create beauty and life by using the old bath tubs as pots for planting different vegetables.  IWH interviewed Mrs. Arora.

IWH: Tell us something about you, your growing up years, life through school, college etc.

Being the youngest of all siblings comes with own set of privileges. I was the most pampered kid of the family. After completing schooling in Delhi and graduating from IHM, Pusa, got an opportunity  to work with the Taj. Later moved to Bristol, The Park and many other properties, I wanted to learn as much as I could; a lot of changes were coming about then.

IWH: What made you select Hospitality as a career? Was it easy making that decision?

Unlike what  people generally thought about hospitality, it  has a deep-rooted history, it’s the fastest growing industry of 21st century which also provided room for self-growth in multi-cultural environment and most importantly the dynamics of this industry is always fun and enjoyable revolving around the guest. It was an easy decision of taking Hospitality as career after passing out from the renowned institution, IHM Pusa.

IWH: What is your current role?

As Director Housekeeping at The Park Hotels, I oversee the housekeeping operations, safety and quality and team management. In short, I would say that I incubate the Aura of The Park, New Delhi.

IWH: How has your hospitality journey been so far? Pros, cons etc?

The long 30 years journey has been very exciting as well as challenging and a great learning experience. Being a Director of Housekeeping of a multi-faceted hotel brand has helped me grasp the pain points and requirements of our guests, owners as well as team members. All the owners and GMs that I have worked with have been very encouraging and always supporting.

IWH: Who has been your mentor or a role model? In what way has that person helped you?

For me, my biggest mentor has always been my team and my company’s leadership. They have taught me the mantra of success of any person is hard work, devotion, commitment and determination.

IWH: What have been the high points of your career? Highlight at least 3.

The last 3 position I have held as Corporate Housekeeper at JLL, Vice president Operations in Ideas and my present role as Director Housekeeping at The Park Hotels.

IWH: What challenges have you faced as a woman in the industry? How did you deal with them?

The biggest challenge is overthinking the differences and allowing that to distract us from the primary goals of creating a lasting impression for your guests, also putting the concept “Guest First”.
Hospitality is meritocratic,….deliver and you are golden!

IWH: If there was anything that you could change about your life or career what would that be?

If I need to change one thing, then I will not be where I am today. There are regrets, there are errors in the past, but I have learnt from them. It made me tougher, though the teachings were harsh. But that’s acceptable. Everything happens for a purpose. So, I would rule out the option of changing life / career. Just Learn, Accept and Move on!

IWH: What do you think of IWH?

The mantra being: Inspire. Enrich. Empower! of IWH is admirable and the team should continue to voice the experience sharing and knowledge of remarkable ladies in the hospitality industry.

IWH: Your advice to the young professionals and students.

Lord Krishna’s famous and oft-quoted advice to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, “Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma Phaleshu Kadachana, Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani.” which means “Do not let the reward be the purpose of your actions, as a result of which, you will not become attached to not performing your duty.”

IWH: Anything else you wish to share with our readers?

It has always been my dharma which Jack Ma has beautifully quoted “Help young people. Help small guys. Because small guys will be big. Young people will have the seeds you bury in their minds, and when they grow up, they will change the world.”

With this powerful quote from her she bids us goodbye,  we are even more charged and inspired by her journey and the body of work. Thank you Mrs. Arora, we wish you many more successful years in your professional journey as well as personal life.

Dr. Laxmi Todiwan
Dr. Laxmi Todiwan
Founder Indian Women in Hospitality. She is a Professor, Corporate Trainer, Motivational Speaker and a Blogger. A multiple award winning hospitality professional with a career spanning over two decades; people engagement, training and development are close to her heart. She writes for hospitality journals, online platforms and columns in the local newspapers. Married to a Master Mariner she loves to write on the maritime industry as well as the lives and relationships of the fraternity. She expresses her thoughts on her blog and website, www.theiwh.com

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