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MEET NJAKES – PROVING THAT THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO BEING EXCEPTIONAL

Our Sales Manager, Njabulo “Njakes” Mabuza, is a shining example of how continuous hard work, commitment and a passion for learning and constantly aiming at improving, pays off. Last month, Njabulo was promoted to board member and shareholder level at Birchwood – one of the top achievements that one can attain as part of the Birchwood team.

Having joined us in 2007 as a Hospitality student, Njabulo learnt the basic “tools of the trade” with our team, where he exceeded expectations and in 2011 was offered a permanent position at Birchwood in our Sales Support division. We interrupted his busy schedule to catch up with him and reflect on his journey.

  • What school(s) did you go to?

“Crystal Park Primary and Wordsworth High School.”

  • Are you married? Kids? 

“Yes, with a three year old daughter.”

  • What do you like to do in your spare time? 

“Whenever I get that spare time, I  go to gym, travel, and go out socially with friends.”

  • What made you choose hospitality as a career? 

“The main reason was my passion for serving and interacting with people (a big part of my personality), but also my dream to run my own hospitality operation.”

  • Where did you study? 

“The International Hotel School in Sandton.”

  • How did you get the opportunity to join Birchwood as a hospitality student? 

“I had to do practical training as part of my course, in which I worked in every department of the hotel; from housekeeping, food and beverage to the front office.”

  • Since then, what titles have you held at Birchwood? 

“Sales Executive, Key Accounts Manager, Sales Manager, and now Board Member and Director.”

  • What do you attribute your growth through the ranks to? 

“I was never afraid to knock on doors. It had a lot to do with my love for what I do, the passion I possess for the industry, my positive attitude, and the fact that I have always had great support, and mentorship from people I reported to and the Directors here at Birchwood.”

  • What have you learnt during your time at Birchwood?

“Definitely never to underestimate the power of humble beginnings! I have also learnt the importance of a people-driven organisation to achieve results. Also, that hard work, determination and loyalty does pay off.”

  • Do you have any tips for anyone with dreams of working hospitality?

“YES, DON’T – if you don’t have the passion for the industry. If you do; however, never stop pushing yourself to perform every task at hand to the ultimate best of your ability, whether that being cleaning a room, serving a guest, or making a sale to a client. That will come naturally if you possess a passion for the industry.”

  • What is your favourite thing about working at Birchwood? 

“We have such an amazing culture of opportunity for growth, where every dedicated team member is fully supported and encouraged to grow . It is also such an “open door” policy environment here, where titles hold little if no value at all. It is such a people focussed environment that we all view one another as one family working together to achieve ultimate guest satisfaction.”

  • What is your favourite part of your job? 

“Working with the team I work with and closing a deal!”

  • Describe what your average day consists of? 

“A morning team meeting with the sales team, monitoring sales team activities, telephonic and in-person client interactions, and of course, closing a deal!”

  • What was it like being promoted to board/shareholder level? 

“It was a great honour, extremely humbling, and literally a dream come true for me.”

  • Where to next for Njabulo? 

“To ensure that I perform my role as board member to my ultimate best, adding valuable contributions which ensure the continued growth of the company. I would also like my Birchwood journey to be a testament and to encourage any/everyone who is planning to join the industry or who already is in the industry of the possibility of achieving greatness within hospitality.”

We are so proud of his achievements and look forward to many more years of laughs, growth and success with “Njakes” at the helm!