Learning & Development Manager
Wild Wadi Waterpark
Dubai - UAE
Featured in "World Waterpark Magazine," September 2019
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE?
I have a CIPD diploma in learning and development practice and a certificate in training practice from Leicester University. I am currently working on an MSc in international human resources management from Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK. In terms of experience, I’ve been working in waterparks for 15 years with 12 years spent in learning & development.
WHAT CERTIFICATION OR LICENSING DO YOU HAVE?
I am a certified TESOL instructor, certified to facilitate MBTI type indicator, in designing performance-based Training and in EQ. I am also a qualified coach.
WHAT HONORS, AWARDS OR SPECIAL RECOGNITION HAVE YOU ACHIEVED?
We won the World Waterpark Association’s Swim Award for Best Employee Training a few times, as well as the Brass Ring Award - Best Training Program from IAAPA in 2013.
WHAT MADE YOU GO INTO THIS FIELD?
I am a passionate learning & development professional and a waterpark geek. I got my first job in a waterpark and absolutely loved the working environment, so I stayed in the industry. In terms of ending up in L&D, that part was destiny. At Wild Wadi I became a departmental trainer and moved into the Training department. This took me full circle back to “teaching,” only adults instead of children.
WHAT ASPECT OF THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY DO YOU LIKE BEST?
The uniform! I love being able to do a professional job wearing shorts, a polo and trainers (sneakers). I also love how you can be a complete professional in a more informal environment. I always tell new staff: “We’re in the serious business of FUN.”
WHO HAS MOST INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
One of the greatest things you can have in your career is great bosses. I am lucky to have had a few of those working at Wild Wadi. Holly Watson and Jill Steinke are two of these. Both are remarkable woman who helped shape me into the person I am today. Thanks, ladies.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN YOUR WATERPARK CAREER?
Being part of a hotel company has provided many learning opportunities I wouldn’t have working for a stand-alone waterpark. But one of the greatest challenges is making sure that the right amount of focus is given to the waterpark. I work very hard to make sure we show everyone that we are as competent and professional as anyone in any industry; competence and professionalism do not automatically show up when you put on a suit.
HOW DO YOU KEEP FOCUSED AND MOTIVATED?
I am a strong believer in lifelong learning so I like to read, listen to podcasts and attend symposiums. I also like to challenge myself to try new things like speaking at symposiums. It’s outside your comfort zone where growth happens.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN WORKING IN THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY?
Never think it’s just fun and games. Working at a waterpark is hard work, and if you’re doing so in Dubai, it’s very hot work.
WHAT BOOKS OR PUBLICATIONS DO YOU RELY ON MOST FOR INSPIRATION OR MOTIVATION?
I am a great fan of Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
. The principles in this book are timeless and I regularly find applicable advice. My favorite podcast at the moment is called “The LEADx Academy” by Kevin Kruse. I love quotes; my favorite is from Winnie the Pooh.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
On occasion you can literally see the light come on for someone during training; those are the moments I live for. You know in that moment that person got it and in a small way you made a difference in that person’s life.
WHAT CAREER OR BUSINESS WOULD YOU CONSIDER IF YOU WERE STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN?
Being a teacher would be my second choice.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH THE WWA?
Wild Wadi has long been a WWA member; thus I have been reading World Waterpark Magazine
for many years. In the last few years, I have spoken during the WWA’s symposiums held here in the UAE, which is how I got a bit more involved.
WHAT IS SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOU THAT FEW KNOW OR WOULD GUESS?
I am actually an introvert by nature. After being very energetic and engaging at work I need a lot of peace and quite in my personal life.