Recognition of Excellence 2014

My invitation to the 19th annual Recognition of Excellence Dinner

My invitation to the 19th annual Recognition of Excellence Dinner

On Wednesday of this week, tourism professionals from around the province gathered to celebrate at the Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council’s (NSTHRC) 19th Annual Recognition of Excellence Certification Dinner at Casino Nova Scotia. As I’ve blogged before, this event is my favourite of the year. This is the event where front line staff from tourism businesses around the province get dressed up, mingle with industry leaders, and are recognized for their experience and dedication to tourism in Nova Scotia.

With Jennifer Falkenham, TIANS Membership Co-ordinator and newly certified Tourism Trainer

With Jennifer Falkenham, TIANS Membership Co-ordinator and newly certified Tourism Trainer

Some of my favourite Tourism People - Danny Bartlett, past TIANS Chair and VP Finance of Bay Ferries, Belgravia B&B, Pat Sullivan, CEO of the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency, Ruth Mailloux, Suncatcher B&B, Ann & Larry MacCormack, Tulips & Thistle B&B and president of the Nova Scotia Bed & Breakfast Association

Some of my favourite Tourism People – Danny Bartlett, past TIANS Chair and VP Finance and Administration of Bay Ferries; D’Arcy & Anne McDonah from Belgravia B&B; Pat Sullivan, CEO of the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency; Ruth Mailloux from Suncatcher B&B; Ann & Larry MacCormack from Tulips & Thistle B&B and also President of the Nova Scotia Bed & Breakfast Association

The Casino is a lovely setting for this dinner, and it was fun to get caught up with friends at the opening reception, overlooking Halifax Harbour. We enjoyed an opening performance by John and Samantha Gracie before dining on a beautiful meal. The menu included a salad of baby leaf lettuce, flat leaf parsley, shaved carrot, garlic & shaved parmesan cheese, drizzled with a lime-corriander vinaigrette. This was followed by an entree of roasted chicken breast on soft polenta with green olive & sherry tapenade and seasonal vegetables. For dessert, we enjoyed triple chocolate mousse with fresh fruit.

John & Samantha Gracie perform at the beginning of the evening

John & Samantha Gracie perform at the beginning of the evening

The evening was especially special for me as I formally received my certificate as a Certified Hotel General Manager. This credential is recognized across the country, and it was announced last week that it will also be recognized by the American Hotel and Lodging Association. At the dinner, Wendy Swedlove, President of the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council (CTHRC) announced that soon, they will have a partnership signed which will mean this credential will be recognized internationally.

Wendy Swedlove, CTHRC

Wendy Swedlove, President of the CTHRC

Recieving my pin from Joachim Stronik, representing the Nova Scotia Government.

Recieving my pin from Joachim Stronik, representing the Nova Scotia Government.

Hugs from Glenn Squires, CEO of Pacrim Hospitality and Chair of the NSTHRC

Hugs from Glenn Squires, CEO of Pacrim Hospitality and Chair of the NSTHRC

There are currently only ten of us who have earned this credential in Canada, with five of us being from Nova Scotia. My other colleagues who received this credential on Wednesday were Jamie Bolduc from the Radisson Suite Hotel in Halifax, Phyllis Stephenson from the Best Western PLUS Chocolate Lake Hotel, Wes Surrett from Pictou Lodge Beach Resort, and Bernice Theriault from Drumlin Hills. Congratulations to each of you – I’m proud to be in such company!

I would like to thank Emerit, the CTHRC, and most of all the NSTHRC for your continued support and encouragement of all tourism professionals, but especially for the support you have shown to me.

My biggest supporter

My biggest supporter

 

With Scott Travis, General Manager of the Prince George Hotel in Halifax. Thank you Scott for your encouragement and mentorship!

With Scott Travis, General Manager of the Prince George Hotel in Halifax. Thank you Scott for your encouragement and mentorship!

With Lisa Dahr, Manager of the NSTHRC

With Lisa Dahr, Manager of the NSTHRC

The Truro B&B girls - Ruth Mailloux from Suncatcher B&B, and Ann MacCormack from Tulips & Thistle B&B

The Truro B&B girls – Ruth Mailloux from Suncatcher B&B, and Ann MacCormack from Tulips & Thistle B&B

With Danny Bartlett, VP Finance of Bay Ferries and past-chair of TIANS. This was his last event as part of the TIANS Board and he will be missed!

With Danny Bartlett, VP Finance of Bay Ferries and past-chair of TIANS. This was his last event as part of the TIANS Board and he will be missed!

The beautiful flowers I was given to take home at the end of the evening

The beautiful flowers I was given to take home at the end of the evening

 Belgravia Bed & Breakfast

Feeling Accomplished

CHGM

As of today, I get to add some new letters to my signature. I’m now Anne McDonah, BTHM, CHGM, TCM

To anyone who’s not in the Tourism Industry, as you read you’re probably wondering what all the acronyms stand for?

BTHM = Bachelor of Tourism & Hospitality Management (Co-operative Education Route and I also took a few extra courses and received a Certificate of Business Administration.)

TCM = Tourism Trainer  (Tourism Certified Manager)

CHGM = Certified Hotel General Manager (Those are my newest letters.)

The TCM which I received in 2012, and the sparkly new CHGM are the “Red Seals” of the Tourism Industry.

From the Emerit website, a description:

“Leadership, budgeting and planning, human resource management, and the ability to put customer service first–do you have the skills it takes to be an effective Hotel General Manager?

Hotel General Managers need to excel at motivating and inspiring employees, while constantly monitoring, evaluating and adjusting all aspects of daily hotel operations. From developing room revenue strategies to monitoring public relations, managing capital projects to creating a guest service culture, effective Hotel General Managers ensure that everything runs smoothly–and generates profit.

The National Occupational Standards for Hotel General Manager include skills, knowledge and best practices in the following areas:

  • Operations
  • Human Resource Management
  • Guest Service
  • Business Management
  • Marketing
  • Leadership 

Professional Certification for Hotel General manager leads to the Certified Hotel General Manager (CHGM) designation, Canada’s first professional credential for the occupation.”

I was approached by the team at the Nova Tourism Human Resource Council (NSTHRC) in March, while D’Arcy was in Brazil, to see if I’d be interested in challenging this certification. The designation is brand new and was designed so that not only managers of large properties would be able to achieve success, but managers of smaller properties as well. The process was thorough and I was on a tight timeline.  To complete the designation, I had to have over 1000 hours of experience, pass a two hour interview (last Wednesday afternoon – that was a lot of talking, even for me!) and pass a 125 question exam with a mark of 70% or more (today).

I had received a copy of the standards a few weeks ago, and when going over them to study, realized that I was either going to know it or not. I contacted a few colleagues from industry and the NSTHRC to try to calm my nerves, wondering if I was really qualified? They assured me I was.

Today was also the last day of the semester for my NSCC students so the past two weeks have been filled with papers, projects, portfolios, and presentations. I was in the classroom for presentations this morning from 8:30 – 12:30, then sat down in our Academic Support Centre at 1:00 to write the proctored test. (And did I mention we’ve had a full house at Belgravia B&B the past couple of nights?) Talk about having empathy for my students – I know exactly how overwhelmed and stressed out they’ve been feeling!

Because it was a computerized test, I received an email on my phone by the time I got back to my office with the news I had passed!!

I’m pretty excited!

I couldn’t have done this without the support of the TIANS and NSTHRC teams who encouraged me and believed in me. We’ve been discussing the Nova Scotian “It’s Now or Never” report in the Contemporary Business Issues course that I teach at NSCC, and recognizing the fact that we need to be working together and we need to be encouraging the Entrepreneurial spirit in our Province. I cannot adequately express my gratitude for the investments TIANS and the NSTHRC have made in me/us since we started our B&B in 2003.

I’m also so grateful to my family for all their support and sacrifices to help me succeed. It would not be possible to do the things I manage to accomplish without them. It’s a whole team effort!

The formal recognition of my new credentials will happen at the NSTHRC’s Recognition of Excellence Dinner in Halifax in May.

Do you suppose I can have new business cards printed by then? 😉

With some of the TIANS/NSTHRC team when I was certified as a Tourism Trainer - Lisa Dahr, Kieu Lam, Anne McDonah, Lyndsay Leedham, Darlene Grant Fiander.

With some of the TIANS/NSTHRC team when I was certified as a Tourism Trainer in 2012 – Lisa Dahr, Kieu Lam, Anne McDonah, Lyndsay Leedham, Darlene Grant Fiander.

Recognition of Excellence 2013

As I’ve mentioned before, I enjoy being  involved in the Nova Scotian tourism industry as a whole. I was on the board of the Nova Scotia Bed & Breakfast Association (NSBBA) from 2005-2011, the board of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) fom 2008-2012, and am still the NSBBA representative on the Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council (NSTHRC). Wow that’s a lot of acronyms…

Because of these affiliations, I’m often lucky enough to be invited to differet industry events. My favourite event of the year (and there are some wonderful events) is the NSTHRC Recognition of Excellence CertificationDinner each May. This year, the 18th annual, was held on Wednesday night at Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax. I love it because members of the industry get together to celebrate those front-line staff and properties who have received national certification creditentials during the past year. Last year, I received professional certification as a Tourism Trainer.

The beautiful table settings.

The beautiful table settings.

Nova Scotia is unique in that as a province, we have the highest number of certified tourism professionals in Canada! In fact, our tourism department is committed to ensuring that 100% of our Provincial Visitor Information Centre employees are certified.

This year, I had the distint pleasure of cheering for three of my former NSCC Tourism Management students, Theresa, Heather and Jeff, as they received their national certifications as  a Heritage Interpreter. I’m so proud of all three of them and so happy I could be there to share in their special moment! Congratulations to all three of you!

If you’re in the Truro area, you can meet these three tourism professionals at the Glooscap Heritage Centre and perhaps one of them will give you a tour! Tell them Anne sent you… 😉

Jeff, Theresa, Anne & Heather - a tourism management reunion at the opening reception!

Jeff, Theresa, Anne & Heather – an NSCC Tourism Management reunion!

Our newest Nova Scotia tourism professionals - Jeff, Heather, and Theresa with their Heritage Interpreter certifications!

Oh, the stories!

What do you get when you fill a church hall with a group of B&B owners? Stories! Lots & lots of stories!

Yesterday, D’Arcy & I attended the annual general meeting of the  Nova Scotia Bed & Breakfast Association. Each year, the meeting is held in a different part of the province, and this year, we gathered in beautiful Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Because we’re both teaching in Pictou this year, we did not make it to Lunenburg yesterday for the B&B tours and social time, which is one of my favourite activities. Instead, we got up early in the morning and drove to the South Shore.

It was a beautiful autumn day. We took the newspaper with us and did the crossword as we drove. It takes less than two hours to drive from Truro to Lunenburg and it was a smooth drive.

 
When we arrived at the AGM, we had lots of time to get caught up with other B&B owners from around the province.  It was great! As a rule, B&B operators love to visit, chat, and laugh- you can just imagine the volume when we all get together… The meeting ran smoothly and I enjoyed the opening presentation by Pat Sullivan, Chair of the new Nova Scotia Tourism Agency. I am looking forward to new ideas for tourism unfolding with his leadership. I appreciated the fact that he was realistic, down-to-earth, and approachable.

Pat Sullivan of the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency addresses members of the Nova Scotia Bed & Breakfast Association in Lunenburg.

The food, provided by John & Tatiana, caterers in Lunenburg was homemade and so full of flavour. John even serenaded us over lunch with his version of “The Water is Wide”, promoting an upcoming concert on December 15th to aid the Lunenburg & Mahone Bay food banks.

He cooks AND he sings! Just wonderful!

Our meeting was led by out-going NSBBA president (and friend) Gerry Mailloux. He received two standing ovations in recognition for all the work he has done for the Nova Scotia Bed & Breakfast Association over the years. He & his wife, Ruth, have been running  B&B’s and mentoring perspective innkeepers in the province since 1986. Gerry has been struggling with some health issues this year, so there were some moist eyes in the room as he read his President’s report.

We laughed and carried on as people told funny (and not-as funny) stories about guests and experiences they’d had during the season. It was generally reported that numbers were up and more tourists were on the move again this summer. We swapped recipes and ideas and rejoiced in the announcement of “Baby No-Name (girl) Falkenham”, born to our TIANS Liason, Jennifer, just the day before. We made promises to one another to get together soon.

Before we left Lunenburg to head back to Truro, we stopped to see the newly re-built and re-launched Bluenose II.

The newly re-built Bluenose II with Lunenburg Academy in the background.

It was a wonderful day.

On the Road Again!

I’m writing this post from Bangor, Maine. We are taking a “working vacation” this year.

I was approved to go back to Cornell University this summer to earn the next course in my Certification in Strategic Hospitality Management. This year’s course is called, “Strategic Marketing for Restaurants and Hotels.” I am fortunate to be participating in this Executive Development Program through the overwhelming support of TIANS/NSTHRC and ACOA. There are ten or eleven Nova Scotian Tourism Industry leaders who will be furthering their education at Cornell this month. Since my course is offered during the first week of July, D’Arcy and the kids have tagged along and will explore Upstate New York while I’m in class each day.

As luck would have it, D’Arcy was chosen as a Nova Scotian representative to mark a National Science Exam in Ottawa during the second week of June. After my course is over, we’ll drive back into Canada through Niagara Falls, visiting with friends along the way before arriving in Ottawa where Evan & Alex will have the opportunity to stay with their cousins and we’ll explore the Ottawa area while he works.

Yesterday morning, as soon as the guests left, we kicked into high gear: cleaning, packing and doing laundry. We had originally intended to leave early this morning and drive straight through from Truro to Boston, but two nights ago decided to leave on the 1st instead and make it as far as Bangor on Day 1.

My plan was to leave at noon, but that was ambitious! We actually pulled away from the house at about 2:00. We aren’t camping this trip, instead staying either with friends, or in suite hotels along the way. Without packing the tent or camp stove, and without the burden of equipment that young children seem to require, we appeared to have more room than usual. It almost felt like we were forgetting something!

Ready to go – room to shop?

Our first stop before we left town was a visit with Ruth & Gerry of Suncatcher B&B. Gerry had surgery last month, and because the girls & I had had colds, we hadn’t had a chance to see him since. Because Gerry makes all kinds of beautiful stained glass creations, the kids each designed “stained glass” looking get-well cards. Sarah was especially excited to write, “Bonne sante M. Mailloux. Je t’aime, Sarah” on the back of hers! We had a good (but short) visit getting caught up. By the time we ran a couple of errands on our way out of town, it was 3:30p.m. when we left Truro for Maine.

We are lucky that our kids are really good travelers. We were on the road for about 7 hours before arriving at our hotel at 10:30 p.m. our time.  About three hours into our drive, Olivia asked, “When are we going to get to Canada Day?” She was sure that we were on our way to the International Gathering of the “Clams” in Pugwash, which we’ve done the past few years.  There is a highland dance competition there that Sarah has participated in. When I told Olivia that we’re not going to get there this year (it’s actually being held today, on the 2nd, or we might have stopped along the way), she responded, “So I wore my Canada shirt for nothing?” We laughed and explained that it was still Canada Day, even if we didn’t get to Pugwash!

This is the Sarah & Olivia’s first time in the United States. We had a sweet Customs’ Agent when crossing from St. Stephen into Calais. She asked each of us the normal questions and asked the girls where they lived. “5 Broad Street!” “Belgravia Bed & Breakfast!” They told her all about our trip – where we were going, what we’d be doing, and who we’d be seeing. She commented that it sounded like a lot of fun and Olivia responded, “You need to quit your job and come with us!” I think she realized that we couldn’t possibly be hiding anything with her along, and we sailed through!

The girls oohed & aahed over the scenery, which isn’t really much different than that of rural Nova Scotia. We were surprised  to see how many motels, gift shops, restaurants and campgrounds were closed and boarded up on this side of the Border. It was a sad and forlorn sight. We had bit of rain in the early evening, and spotted a beautiful rainbow- which reminded me that we didn’t pack raincoats! (That accounts for some of the extra room – hope we have better weather than we did in Newfoundland last year!) We were exhausted by the time we arrived at the Four Points Sheraton at the Bangor Airport, but snacked on crackers, cheese, bread,ham, fruit, carrots,etc. before bed.

Rainbow along Route 9

Maine sunset

We gained an hour when crossing the border from Atlantic time to Eastern time. It felt good to “sleep in” until seven! After breakfast and a swim, we will be on our way to Boston to visit our friends (and former B&B guests), Willem & Kate, in their new home. Kate met me in New York last year when I was attending Cornell, but we’re excited to have our two families together to visit this year.We have about a four hour drive from here, and will stop in Freeport and New Hampshire along the way. We’re not big shoppers, so this is our only scheduled shopping day for the next two weeks.

The weather is beautiful so off we go on another day of adventure!! Thank you to my parents who are looking after the Bed & Breakfast for us while we’re away!! We’ll give you a vacation when we get home – we promise! 🙂

17th Annual Recognition of Excellence Certification Dinner (Photos)

I joined the Board of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) four years ago. Each year, my favorite event to attend has been the Nova Scotia Tourism Human Resource Council’s (NSTHRC) Annual Recognition of Excellence Certification Dinner. This year was extra special, as I received National Certification as a Tourism Trainer.

One of the reasons I love this evening so much is because many of the front-line tourism ambassadors in the province are able to attend. This year, 195 individuals were recognized for achieving certification in the following occupations: Food & Beverage Manager, Front Desk Agent, Guest Service Attendant, Heritage Interpreter, Housekeeping Room Attendant, Reservation Sales Agent, Sales Manager, Supervisor, Taxicab Limousine Driver, Tourism Visitor Information Counselor, and Tourism Trainer.

A few fun facts:

  • Nova Scotia has more Nationally Certified Tourism Professionals than any other province in the Canada
  • Nova Scotia has over 1,000 Nationally Certified Taxicab Limousine Driver
  • Nova Scotia is the only province which invests to ensure 100% of their Tourism Visitor Information Counselors in the provincial Visitor Information Centres are nationally certified!
  • Twelve Nova Scotian employers were recognized this year as having over 60% staff with national certifications!

To receive my certification, I was required to have completed a certain number of hours training people to be tourism professionals. These were attained through my Tourism Management Faculty position at the Nova Scotia Community College during the past two years. Then, in late March I had a classroom evaluation. This involved Lisa, manager of the NSTHRC,  actually coming into my classroom and observing me “in action” while I taught a class.  I then wrote a two hour exam, and completed a case study.

The dinner was held this year at Casino Nova Scotia in Halifax. Since Halifax is only a one hour drive from the Belgravia, D’Arcy & I hopped in the car after school and made our way there. There was a reception for the first hour, where we mingled with other recipients and tourism professionals, and then we were treated to a wonderful dinner. Yum! The food and service at Casino Nova Scotia were fantastic! The menu was as follows:

Appetizer – Spinach Salad – baby spinach served with mandarin orange segments, topped with toasted almonds and dressed with ponzu vinaigrette.

Entree – Stuffed Chicken with goat cheese and sun-dried tomato and a peach coulis – served with Chef’s Potatoes and Vegetable

Dessert – Peach Cobbler – baked in brown sugar and ginger

Wine – Jost Vineyards Seyval Blanc & Prima Rosa

There was a musical performance to signal the beginning of the evening with photos of Nova Scotia flashing in the background. No matter how many times I watch a presentation like that, I get chills! There were speeches before the dinner by the Glenn Squires, chair of the NSTHRC, and the Hon. Percy Paris, Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. Bhreagh MacDonald, Cabot Links Resort (receiving certification as a Tourism Supervisor), spoke of what receiving certification means to her. Garrett Gloade, from the Glooscap Heritage Centre (receiving his certification as a Heritage Interpreter) performed a blessing.

After dinner, the certifications were handed out by Minister Paris, Wendy Swedlove of the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council, and Glenn Squires. There was much cheering and clapping! I was the last of the individuals to receive my certification, as I was the only person receiving Tourism Trainer recognition this year. Lisa (NSTHRC) gave me a touching introduction. It was a fabulous evening and I was extremely proud to be part of it.

The following are some photos that D’Arcy was able to take for me. There was a professional photographer there as well, so hopefully I will receive some of those at some point too.

With Garrett Gloade, Certified Heritage Interpreter

A little bit embarrassed by all the nice things Lisa was saying about me as I was called up to receive my certification.

Joking with the Minister as the presentation was made.

Hon. Percy Paris, Anne McDonah, Wendy Swedlove, Glenn Squires

Joyce Mingo, receiving Property Recognition on behalf of the Glooscap Heritage Centre.

With my generous MLA, Lenore Zann, who came to support both Garrett & myself. She brought me a certificate of congratulations – thank you Lenore!

With Danny Bartlett, Chair of TIANS

With my biggest supporter!

Dannty Bartlett, Chair of TIANS, Anne McDonah, Belgravia Bed & Breakfast, Darlene Grant Fiander, President of TIANS/NSTHRC

With Lisa Dahr, Manager NSTHRC

Some of the TIANS/NSTHRC team – Lisa Dahr, Kieu Lam, Anne McDonah, Lyndsay Leedham, Darlene Grant Fiander. How lucky the Tourism Industry is to have these women among its champions!!

I cannot thank the TIANS/NSTHRC team enough for their support and encouragement through this process! I look forward to using my certification to encourage and support the amazing people who work the front lines of the Tourism Industry, impressing our visitors and building our beloved Nova Scotia brand.

Video from 2010 TIANS Awards Gala

I recently received the link to this video in my inbox.  It’s a clip of the TIANS Gala when Dick Lemon won the TIANS Award for Tourism Innovator of the Year.  When you watch this video and listen to Dick’s acceptance speech, I think you’ll understand why we felt compelled to nominate him!  (By the way, registration for the 2010 Not-Since-Moses will soon open.  Check back for information on our Bed, Breakfast & Run package!)