5 Minutes with Ibrahim Moawad
We are delighted to announce Ibrahim Moawad, Director of Housekeeping at Swissôtel Makkah as one of the main Judges at the Saudi Arabia Housekeepers League of Champions. Ibrahim has worked up his way up the ladder and it is an inspiration for all his housekeeping colleagues and peers...
Here's a quick interview that we did to find out what it takes to get to his top position. But in short, hard work, loving your job and having the right mentors…
Q: How did you decide to involve yourself in the hospitality industry? And why?
Actually it wasn't planning to join housekeeping at the beginning as I started my career as English teacher, But when Four Seasons Hotels started to look for specific candidates to join their team I liked the challenge. It was difficult decisions to leave the teaching field and join Four Seasons as Room Attendant on April 2002. Most of the opening team was coming from all over the world. My well consistent performance allowed me to be chosen as a first promotion in the hotel only 5 months after the hotel opening in October 2002. I had finished perfectly all Four seasons internal and regional training so I was very eager for the next challenge. So I took another challenge with Hyatt Regency as Assistant Manager Housekeeping in 2007. Within a year's time, I was promoted to Duty Manager Housekeeping - Incharge of Housekeeping and Laundry. As I like taking challenges I decided to make a move to Hilton company which then had more than 1000 guest rooms. I was shortlisted in 2012 among more than 140,000 Hilton employees for the Blue Energy Award. My team stayed number one in terms of guest feedback consistently during 10 years. I took more than 200 Hilton online and regional training courses. I was in charge of quality assurance audits as well which gave me the chance to know all Hilton standard in all departments and not only rooms.
At the beginning of 2019, I found my next challenge with Accor International at Swissotel Makkah. My journey has been successful so far and I’m sure my team will continue to make our hotel preferred destination for the guests.
Q: How difficult has been achieving such a high position in this industry?
The most difficult thing is to prepare yourself with all the skills needed to be the department head. I was one of the youngest Housekeeping Department Heads as I was only 29 years old in a team where most of them were older than me and having years of experience in housekeeping. But my strength is that I keep improving my skills and never stop learning which makes me different than others. It’s enough to say the one who thought me how to clean floors is still a supervisor till now.
People are supposed to have a goal in their career, and since I joined the field, from day one, I had planned to be number one in five years and this was achieved as I had planned.
Q: Who has been your mentor in your professional career and why?
I’m lucky to be a part of Accor Makkah family. Now Mr Mohammed Siddiqi - Fairmont Makkah Clock Tower and Swissotel Makkah Cluster General Manger - is leading my daily improvements. Mr Siddiqi has built very strong teamwork and always leads by example, that’s why we have achieved all goals even months before deadlines. I' m really proud of working with such a well-known experienced leader. Mr Siddiqi is always very eager to teach and improve his team by sharing his experiences which allows and helps us to make the right decisions at the right time.
The one who really effected my professional career within Hilton company for many years is Mr Kamel Ajami - Vice President Operations KSA & Levant at Hilton. I was lucky working with such a legend like him, he has built my career in Hilton, he gave me another department to be under my responsibility as he trusted my skills and he sent me for many regional and international training. He taught me how to make a professional negotiation as a department.
Q: What do you think about the above? I think that we can write a nice inspirational story to get people to achieve their potential in any type of department within the hospitality industry.
The most important subject we should mention especially in Arab countries is that people shouldn’t feel shy about any kind of work. I was working as an English Teacher and that was a good job in the market with good money as well. But I decided to take up a new career. From day one I had a goal, then I worked on my future action plan to become number one. So lesson to be given is; proper planning leads to proper results.
Not only words, but I have also worked hard and I was working even harder without supervisors. I was the first choice for my management for every promotion because of my attitude, performance and management skills.
I never stop learning and take up all the challenge to date. I’m working as well to take the next step which I totally trust that I’m ready for.