Starting out her hospitality journey in the housekeeping department at Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and Spa back in 2006, Butler Karen Wong has shown drive, commitment, resilience and true professionalism as she continues to make her mark not only in Antigua and Barbuda but across the Caribbean region.
On April 16th 2006, Wong was hired as a room attendant and quickly realized that she wasn’t going to
stop there. As she excelled in her department with aspirations of taking her career further along in hospitality, Wong modeled her behavior and work ethic to match the Sandals values and behaviours. In 2014, she cross-trained in all the departments on resort, with a quest to contribute in a personalized and significant way to the Sandals guest experience. This saw Wong applying for the position of butler shortly after cross-training in Human Resources.
Wong was successful and went on to begin her training with the Guild of Professional English Butlers and has been contributing to the growth and development of the butler department for the last 10 years.
“Being a butler has been a very rewarding experience. I am able to step out of my comfort zone by interacting and communicating with guests and people from different backgrounds. It has allowed me to boost my self-confidence and experience different places and cultures through travelling opportunities where I can share my skills and experiences with other team members. I am extremely grateful for this, especially when I see the growth and strides they are making,” Wong said.
With numerous awards and recognition under her belt such as being the first certified housekeeper to become a certified butler at Sandals Grande Antigua. She has also won, Most Environmentally Aware, Team Member of the Month, Prestige and General Manager’s Star Award and Butler Elite Excellence Award making Wong a star in her own right. She has travelled extensively, being the only butler from Sandals Grande Antigua to work at four different resorts within the Sandals chain.
Sharing the formula to her success thus far, Wong said, “being meticulous and paying attention to detail, I believe has given me a competitive edge. Going above and beyond while focusing on self-development and growth will always have big rewards in the end.”
Looking back on her journey with the regional resort giant, Wong is grateful for all the experiences that have contributed to her success not only at Sandals Grande Antigua but throughout the region where she gets to share best practices for her peers to emulate.
Sandals Butler Elite Manager, Donna Daniel, to whom Wong reports directly said, “Karen is an exceptional butler who takes pride in everything she does. She is one who goes above and beyond the call of duty. She is the true definition of a butler and what butler service represents for the Sandals Luxury ® included brand.” Echoing the sentiments shared by Daniel, the resort’s General Manager Matthew
Cornall added, “Karen is hardworking, dedicated and has always amazed me with her acute dedication to hospitality. Throughout her tenure at Sandals she has always dazzled her guests as a butler. She is in every sense of the word an ambassador for the brand.”
With the support of her peers and her commendable work ethic, Wong plays an active role as a volunteer with the resort’s philanthropic arm, the Sandals Foundation. She dedicates her time to helping and supporting many local community outreach activities across Antigua.
She was the first butler to submit and receive support for two consecutive Sandals team member projects including the erection of a farm fence at Buckley’s Primary School and the refurbishment of the Government Correctional Facility for Juvenile Delinquents. These projects were funded by the Sandals Foundation.
Outside of working, the mother of three still finds time for work-life balance by playing an active part in her children’s growth and development, teaching them the same principles that she has applied to her life.
Offering words of encouragement to youngsters in the community Wong said, “One thing I would like to let young people know is that no matter where you come from in life or what you’ve been through, keep pushing yourself as hard as you can for what you want. Don’t give up! Continue building confidence in yourself and find that special person or friend that you can be open with and who will encourage you along the path to greatness.”
Wong who has had an over 15 year career span in the Sandals company and hospitality industry said she still has a lot more to accomplish and is getting there one step at a time. She aspires to one day become a training manager and says she will continue to mentor and impact younger team members and equip them with the tools and knowledge she believes are important for building a career in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Congratulations Mrs Wong. Keep striving for excellence