FORMER SECURITY OFFICER REALIZES HIS DREAMS OF WORKING IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
Stories of growth ignite inspirational flames that often result in a surge of newfound aspirations. There are some of those remarkably beautiful stories at Sandals South Coast. Like the one of Odain Graham, a former security officer turned bellman who is also now training to become a butler at the Luxury-Included resort.
While Graham’s story is still being penned, thanks to a now retired Sandals employee the gates he once guarded have now fully opened up for him to achieve not only a longstanding dream, but to also grow and advance, a trait the Sandals company is known for.
Graham had been working as a security officer stationed at Sandals Negril for about six years. While executing his security duties, he would observe enthusiastic team members going in and out the gates, clad in their Sandals branded uniforms and he fantasized that one day, he too would do the same.
“I used to look at how happy the team members were and I would dream about working directly for the resort as a full-time employee. I wanted that joy that they had. It is something that was always in the back of my mind,” he said.
Captivated by the resort culture, Graham did his best to learn all he could about the company. His job was extremely demanding and always requiring his full attention but he never missed an opportunity to ask questions of team members and managers about their jobs and the company.
“I can recall even asking a few managers if they would allow me to train with their team but I guess because I was also on the job and given the nature of my job, it wasn’t immediately possible,” he shared.
Despite that, Graham was very hands-on and good at using his initiative. He would always be quick to assist in any way he could, lending a helping hand without being asked and showing great care for the affairs of the resort.
Graham’s attitude and proactive approach would soon give him a chance to fulfill his dream of officially joining the Sandals team. That chance came in the form of a phone call from the then security and loss prevention manager at Sandals South Coast who asked whether he was interested in a position. An emphatic, “Yes sir!” was Graham’s response.
“I received a life-changing call from Mr. Oliver Reid who I knew from Sandals Negril and who knew my work ethics. He informed me that there was an opportunity to finally make the transition to join the Sandals family as he knew this was something I had always wanted.”
It was therefore a propitious day in February 2019 when Graham officially assumed the role of a Bellman at Sandals South Coast where he quickly adapted to his tasks that involved welcoming guests to the resort, securing their luggage, assisting with the check in process on heavy arrival days and giving resort orientation to guests upon arrival.
“Working for Sandals is my dream come true. I know nothing happens before the time and when I got the call, it was just my time. I was ready and raring to go. I had no fear, no doubt and no second thoughts especially because I think my former role prepared me well for the transition,” he said.
And the idea is not farfetched. After all, he had to secure the belongings of team members, welcome them to work and from time to time, he had to assist with the arrival of local visitors to the resort. However, this is not the only reason he was undaunted by the transition.
Before acquiring the job as a security officer, the father of four relied heavily on farming and construction work for additional income.
“I have dabbled in several lines of work so change is not new to me. So far, of all the changes I have made, my job at Sandals has been the most fulfilling.
Though Graham was once tasked with securing others, ironically for him and perhaps in a strange twist of fate, this is the most secured he has ever felt on any job.
“I feel like working with Sandals gives me more stability. The working hours are more structured, I get to spend more time with my family and I get more rest. I have no regrets other than the fact that I did not get started with this company sooner,” he shared.
He continued, “Sometimes I look back on my life and think that this is what I should have been doing for years. But like I said, nothing happens before the time so I am here now and I aim to make the most of it.”
He is doing just that. Graham is also eyeing another transition as he is currently training to become an elite butler in the company.
“I have been a bellman now for almost three years. It has been some of the most rewarding years of my life. However, I see where I can go further and grow with this company. I recently applied for the Butler training programme, was accepted and I am now in the first phase of my training,” he explained.
This initial phase involves understudying team leaders from various departments in order to get a full understanding of the day-to-day operations of each. Graham has never missed a session and he has never missed a beat where his bellman duties are concerned.
“The training coupled with my regular duties can be a bit intense but it is a sacrifice I am willing to make. Nothing good comes easy so I am just doing what I have to do,” he said.
Front Office Supervisor, Romaine Meggo shared that he is proud of the strides that Graham has been making.
“He has been doing consistently well and is highly dependable. The junior bellmen respect him a lot and that speaks to who he is. He is very goal oriented and I salute him for that,” Meggo said.
Graham will celebrate his 41st birthday in October and he feels he is at the stage in his life where things are finally coming together.
“Many may feel that when we get to a certain age, we need to slow down or that it is too late to reach our goals. However, at my age, I feel like I am more mature, more responsible and more focused. I am finally starting to tick off some of mine,” he said.
And he is doing it, one training session at a time.