Suzeena Ahmed – Event Manager at Kurumba Maldives

Suzeena Ahmed, who has been in the tourism and hospitality industry since she was 19 years old, worked hard from being a hostess to a successful resort manager.

You have reached great heights in your career in the tourism industry. How did it all start?

I have always been interested in hospitality, not particularly tourism. When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a cabin crew. And that’s what I studied, but I don’t think I put in much effort into it. Because I’ve gone to around five interviews and I kind of quit. At that time, I didn’t want to stay in Male`; I wanted to go somewhere and work. Wear a uniform and just earn money.

There was a girl I met from an interview, who used to work in Kurumba at the time. I actually reached out to her. I asked if there was a vacancy at the resort and she asked me to drop my resume to the HR. And two weeks later, I got a call. I got shortlisted to go to an interview. Obviously, I didn’t have any experiences. But from the way the interviewer talked, I kind of knew I got hired on the spot.

How was your experience at Kurumba Island Resort?

I had a tough time getting along because I was very new and I was just 19. In fact, it took me like 6 months to actually talk to someone because I’m not a very social person. I just go to work and come back to my room. So, I’m not someone who talks a lot. I’ve got a lot of opinions from people as well but I don’t listen to them. I do what’s best for me. I listen to what my heart says.

Kurumba is a great place. It has done so much for me. Of course, I work hard but Kurumba has given me a lot of opportunities. For example, sending me to seminars in Male`. I’ve been to 4 or 5 seminars. But there was this one specific seminar held by MAHRP that changed my life. They gave this book- I read it like 5 times! The book talks about how the mind works. Everything starts with a thought, the way you think. And I genuinely believe that. You can’t do anything if you’re not thinking, right? I also got the opportunity to go through management training.

Were there a lot of challenges in your journey? What was the biggest?

I didn’t have much challenges during my work. One challenge I had was that my mom didn’t want me to go. I had a hard time convincing her. I couldn’t do it so I asked my sister to convince her. It took time because we grew up hearing that when women go resorts, they become something that parents won’t be proud of. And I was young, I was only 19 at that time.

My biggest challenge was going through the management training. In 2017, that time I didn’t go through it. I thought I’ll just apply next year and I did. I wasn’t going to give up. If I didn’t make it the second time I would’ve applied again. So, I got through. The course gives a perspective on all departments, preparing you to become a manager and it sees if you have the capability.

How was it like working in a resort with people from different countries?

You need to have cultural awareness. I used to be very impatient. But when I was even coordinator, I met a lot of people from different countries, which taught be how to be patient. To work in the hospitality industry, you have to understand people. You need to keep your personal thing aside

What’s your advice to the young generation?

Self-awareness. Know what you want. Do what you love. Understand that it’s okay to have differences. We’re surrounded by social media and people want to be someone else, someone that they’re not. Why can’t you be yourself? Why can’t you try your gift? Everyone has one. Motivation isn’t something you can rely on. Build habits, build pillars.