Conroy Thompson is not only known for his title of 2018 TSEA National Champion, he is a personable, humble, vivacious, well dressed Montego Bay resident. As the Training Manager at the luxurious Half Moon Hotel, Thompson’s position might be a dream job for upcoming tourism professionals and seasoned ones as well, but it wasn’t without hard work, faith and a passion that he wouldn’t allow to die that allowed him to see his dreams become reality.
Born and raised in Cooper’s Pen, Trelawny, Thompson was one of seven children, and as he journeyed through life, he maintained his strong belief in learning and allowing his faith to guide him through some of his most difficult moments.
He had so much to say , so here are a few of his own words that we hope will inspire you to never give up on your dreams.
- When and how did you get involved in tourism? Growing up, I wanted to become a teacher. With no money to sustain myself in College, I got a job as a night auditor/Front Office agent back in 1998 at a small property in the district of Cooper’s Penn called FDR Pebbles. I guess I can say life has come full circle because I now teach every day at work as well as I facilitate lectures for Montego Bay Community College in their Tourism and Hospitality program as well as an adjunct lecturer with Northern Caribbean University.
- What qualifications do you currently hold? I currently hold a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, a BSc in Management Studies with Human Resources emphasis (honors) a Certification as a Hospitality Trainer as well as a Certification in Total Quality Management (Expert level).
- You were crowned the 2018 TSEA Individual Champion, what was your first reaction when you heard you won? What did you family/ friends/ colleagues think? My first reaction was one of shock…it was truly humbling. Everyone was truly happy for me; many said they weren’t surprised at all because of the work that I have been putting in over the years in the industry.
- What do customers value most about the service you provide? They value my genuine sense of interest in everything brand Jamaica. It is my passion that sees me adding value in every way I can so that they can enjoy what is the best of Jamaica.
- What or who do you look to for inspiration? For me I draw inspiration from my faith. Knowing that I was placed here on this earth to serve others first, I do not take my existence for granted. That passion for mentorship and people development fuels my purpose every single day.
- How do you believe each person can make an impact in their respective fields? As someone who strongly believes in people development and self-development, I believe each person should own and develop their craft. Pay attention to the needs in your field and become a solution. Take the time to upgrade your skills to get to the place where you opinion will not only be tolerated, but sought after.
- For aspiring / current tourism professionals, what advice would you like to leave? My biggest advice to anyone coming or in this very important sector is to operate in integrity and allow excellence to be your standard every single time. Excellence should underscore every task – great or small and you will have no choice but to BECOME excellent service.
- What do you feel is the significance of TSEA for Jamaica’s tourism sector? Currently TSEA is significant because it is a tangible way to showcase the best of the best on the island and reward the hard work and commitment accordingly. This will no doubt inspire others to step up to the plate and function in the tourism landscape at a very high level. I must say though, that the TSEA would even be more significant if the winner is utilized in an ambassadorial role (even past winners) to inspire others. We all have a story to tell, and if someone can be inspired by mine, that is one life that is touched and possibly transformed. Tourism is vital to our island, and sustainability is important, so we should be used to share with persons from time to time on a national scale about what we do and why we were chosen as the national champion.
- Where can we see Conroy in the next five years? The next 5 years I will be working closely with various agencies and partners in the tourism sector to build development programs for persons entering the industry. It is extremely important that strong and efficient mentorship initiatives are undertaken to strengthen the sector. I will use my experience and various qualifications to seek to help especially the new employees in the industry with proper career management, as many do not have real guidance in how to go about navigating this very dynamic sector.
- Finally, what is your key to success? Consistently delivering excellence, with the deep understanding that as an effective leader I must know how to serve first. This key has helped me also be the current JHTA Manager of the Year (another title I graciously wear with pride).