Operations Support Manager
Yas Waterworld, Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi - UAE
Featured in "World Waterpark Magazine," May 2017
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE?
I am a high school graduate and I have a diploma certified in Hospitality Management from Uzbekistan Tourism College. After college, before I became a lifeguard, I was working in the beauty salon industry. Now I’m proud of having 12 years of experience in the waterpark industry.
WHAT CERTIFICATION OR LICENSING DO YOU HAVE?
I hold the ILTP Lifeguard Instructor license.
WHAT HONORS, AWARDS OR SPECIAL RECOGNITION HAVE YOU ACHIEVED?
Personally, I have achieved a variety of awards, but the main recognition goes to our park as it has been awarded over 17 industry awards and accolades, including being ranked #4 in the Leisure & Entertainment Category, Travelers’ Choice Award by TripAdvisor. My department also achieved a Gold International Safety Award, the highest quality of lifeguard professionalism and operational standards in the E&A aquatic program.
WHAT MADE YOU GO INTO THIS FIELD?
In my hometown lifeguarding as a profession is not very popular or widespread, so I never really considered it. When a UAE recruitment company was hiring, a friend of mine invited me to go for an interview. After the 1st interview, I was successful; and it was a very exciting adventure to go to other country and work as a lifeguard. I planned to finish a 2 year con- tract and go back to my home country, but from 2001 I never thought of quitting this job!
WHAT ASPECT OF THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY DO YOU LIKE BEST?
Working in waterparks to me is something where two opposite aspects are combined or ultimately can’t exist without one another. Those two aspects are: fun and responsibility!
WHO HAS MOST INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
I have met many great people on my way who have impacted, encouraged and supported me in my career. As a 23-year-old woman, it was very challenging to join the leadership team when I did not speak English, nor did I have relevant experience. I could barely swim 200m, but I had a huge willingness to learn and achieve. Chris Perry was one of my first managers from whom I wanted to learn and gain trust.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN YOUR WATERPARK CAREER?
I have worked in three different waterparks in UAE, and the biggest challenge is the language barrier. Most of my colleagues are from multiple different countries, and not all speak English.
HOW DO YOU KEEP FOCUSED AND MOTIVATED?
Every day I set myself objectives to meet; achieving and accomplishing those objectives makes me feel good. I also gain motivation from my colleagues. When they come to me with an issue, concern or request, and my resolution makes them feel that they received assistance and support from me, I know that what I do is important and encouraging to them.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN WORKING IN THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY?
Be hungry for any learning experience because this is one of the things you can’t buy! Working in waterpark is not easy work, but this where you can have so much fun and play every day!
WHAT BOOKS OR PUBLICATIONS DO YOU RELY ON MOST FOR INSPIRATION OR MOTIVATION?
I like reading biographies and history books. Also, I am keen on leadership articles, books or publications.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
Fitness and training. This job requires a good level of fitness and it commits me to stay fit.
WHAT CAREER OR BUSINESS WOULD YOU CONSIDER IF YOU WERE STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN?
I have no doubt that I would choose the Aquatics industry again; but if not, it would still be something in hospitality management/theme parks/leisure facilities.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH THE WWA?
At the stage when I decided to focus on my career growth in the aquatic industry, I started to conduct more research. This is how I found WWA. I have not yet had the chance to attend a conference, but I frequently monitor updates from the magazine and the website.
WHAT IS SOME THING INTERESTING ABOUT YOU THAT FEW KNOW OR WOULD GUESS?
During my school days, I was involved in so many different types of sport, including dance.