Fathmath Yashfa Hassan – Director of Retail at CROSSROADS Maldives

Fathmath Yashfa Hassan is the Director of Retail at the Marina @ CROSSROADS Maldives, the country’s first multi-island, fully integrated leisure destination. Nestled in the breathtaking Emboodhoo Lagoon in Kaafu Atoll, CROSSROADS Maldives is perfectly located just a 15-minute speedboat ride from Velana International Airport. Our team sat down with Yashfa to delve deeper into her career, and what the challenges she faced in her career.

Could you tell us a bit about your career thus far?

I’m currently the Director of Retail at The Marina @ CROSSROADS Maldives, where I oversee the day-to-day operations of the retail part of The Marina such as collaborating with our partners (tenants), visitors’ arrivals and departures, buggy service, events and activities.

When I joined CROSSROADS Maldives, I was initially appointed as Human Resources Manager at Hard Rock Hotel Maldives for two years. I’ve always been a people person, humanity inspires me and people inspire me, the main reason why I was in the Human Resources field for over a decade, where I progressed through various positions of HR Coordinator, Senior HR Officer, Assistant HR Manager, HR Manager and Director of HR at top resorts in the Maldives such as LUX* South Ari Atoll, Huvafen Fushi, Jumeirah Vittaveli, Amilla Fushi and Vakkaru Maldives to name a few.

For me, my tenure at CROSSROADS Maldives is one of the most exciting and unique pre-opening projects that I have ever done in my career. I never regret stepping down from Director of HR role from another resort to take the HR Manager role at Hard Rock Hotel Maldives as I could say proudly that CROSSROADS Maldives is an ideal workplace, an employer that develops its own talents to grow in their careers. I am so thankful to our Managing Director Mr. Tolga Unan for his guidance, leadership and encouragement for me to get out of my comfort zone and move to operation after two years.

Can you tell us a little about your experience in the tourism industry in the Maldives?

My entire career, I have mostly worked in hospitality industry in the Maldives, an industry that fosters so much of growth for me professionally and as a person. I have learned a lot of things and met a lot of people from different cultures and used this opportunity to showcase the beautiful Maldives from a local’s perspective.

Everywhere I work, I love being an ambassador of my own country. Human Resources being the biggest chunk of my career, I always had this feeling that I was a caring mother and a motherly shoulder to cry on when things are going tough to every single team member, whom I came across with. Helping and seeing each one of them happy is already a blessing for me in this industry.

In my years of experience, it became my goal to encourage as many female Maldivians to work in the resort industry and assure them that it is a safe place work. I also don’t like discrimination, so I tend to give equal opportunities to locals without previous resort experience; train them and let them be successful in their careers in the future. For me, their success will also be my success.

What do you consider to be your greatest personal success?

I believe, being a successful career woman and be one of those high-ranking Managers prior to building a family to settle in is my greatest personal success. I had this very rare opportunity to have my son living with me in the Resort as part of my employment benefit, while at the same time, I was earning.

My advice to other working Moms, consider everything around you (your family) when you choose a career to pursue, so you will have a work-life balance and self-fulfillment. Sometimes, we tend to focus more on our careers that we lose so much of our time building it too far and at the end, we forget our family, who is the reason why in the first place, we wanted to be successful in our career.

I sincerely hope that other resorts would give more focus on hiring people residing in the same Atoll so that local team members regardless of gender could see their families more often. Every resort should have certain quotas to have particular islands to focus on, when hiring people.

What are the challenges you face as a woman working in such a male-dominated field?

Ever since that I joined this industry, I never felt being treated differently compared to men. I was able to have both male and female mentors in the past, who coached me in various ways in order to grow myself professionally and as a person, and I will always and forever be thankful of them.

Being a leader today, I have learnt that you are responsible for your own growth. It’s your prerogative to decide if it’s the right job or workplace for you to learn new things or go into a different direction to try something new and more challenging that will fulfill your contentment. In this industry, you have to showcase yourself to everyone around you, keep your values and head high with your decisions.

What do you think the future holds for the Maldives’ tourism industry?

We have so many creative minds in our industry and I think doing things differently and being unique in its own ways will help us to sustain in the market. Bringing new great ideas to the tourism world with much higher level of new entertainments and activities to the Maldives is what I see for our future. We really need to bring the A-game now and change our mindsets towards taking new risks.

For me having things like, Go Carting, Carnivals, Water Parks, Visual Gaming’s, Kids Jungle Area, Island Paintball, or Island Zip lining to name a few, could be great deals for the upcoming attractions in the Maldives.

What’s the best advice you can give to those looking to join the industry?

Tourism industry is one of the greatest platforms to build a career that you love. There are so many opportunities to explore yourself and choose from. To begin with, it is worth pointing out that the tourism industry itself includes a huge number of different sectors, from accommodation and transportation, through to entertainment, travel services and the food and beverage sector. Before embarking into tourism field, it gives you a lot of time to learn as much as you can.

In fact, tourism jobs are accessible to those who do not have formal qualifications and if you are willing to enter into employment with an entry-level position, and then work your way up the career ladder by gaining relevant experience over the time. Save money while working so you can invest on online training and gain certificates, which are acceptable in the current world. It doesn’t matter, which gender or at what age you are, if you have the right mindset, you can be successful in tourism Industry.