BETHESDA, Maryland (April 28, 2011) – A rising star in the travel and tourism industry urges Caribbean youth to pursue careers in “one of the world’s most gratifying industries.”
Dwayne Skeete, 36, a former Guyanese high school teacher turned senior operations manager, has been building a career and impressing his peers at three Marriott hotels in the Washington DC metro area over the past few years.
CAPTION: Guyanese hotel manager Dwayne Skeete.
A University of Guyana graduate in environmental studies and tourism, Skeete migrated to the United States in 2005 shortly after losing all his possessions to an accidental fire.
Six years later after leaving Georgetown, Skeete – now senior room operations manager at the well-appointed Bethesda Marriott Suites in Maryland – is not looking back. But he does want to share some of his newly acquired expertise with his interested compatriots back home.
As to the benefits of his chosen profession, Skeete, who came from humble beginnings in Guyana, remembered, “Seven years ago while sitting in a classroom in Guyana, I could never have dreamt of being a senior operations manager at such a sophisticated urban hotel, and having the opportunity to tour the inner sanctums of the White House.”
Dwayne Skeete also managed the front desk at the prestigious 772-room J.W. Marriott in downtown Washington D.C. where among many other celebrities he personally attended to the needs of actress Vivica Fox and Bernice King, daughter of the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
It was not easy pickings for Skeete when he first arrived in the United States as he jokingly recalled how he would have to “look and jook” to type characters on the hotel keyboard at the front desk. He was soon promoted to run the Front Desk operation.
But his rise through the ranks meant adjusting to his adopted homeland. “Life in Guyana was at a relaxed pace. Here, opportunities don’t land in your lap. You have to be ambitious and not give up, especially when success could be just around the corner.”
Skeete, stressing the importance of taking an extra step, recalled how surprised a guest was when he, a manager, voluntarily took her bags to her room, duties she thought were only assigned to the bellman.
“Being proactive is important, and things are not always going to go right in this business, it’s how you react to challenging situations that makes the difference – how to make things better instead of complaining,” Skeete commented, admitting that the best part of his day is turning around a bad situation for the better.
“This is clearly the best industry in the world – it makes you a happier person,” he asserted, declaring that customer service, friendliness and caring for his fellow man are now ingrained in his every day, whether he’s on or off the clock.
Dwayne has his sights set on becoming a general manager for the company one day, and he also hopes to be a part of the team training staff for the new Marriott Georgetown which is set to open in his native land in 2013.