“Energetic”, “passionate about his job”, “genuinely interested in the welfare of his staff” and “determined to achieve only the best” were some of the accolades heaped on outgoing General Manager of the Hilton Barbados Resort George Stanfield, as management and staff at the luxury resort gathered at Charles Fort to bid a fond and emotional farewell to the man who led them for the last four years.
Human Resources Director Cheryl Corbin led off the tributes, stating that Stanfield had accomplished the goal he had set for the hotel when he came on board in 2014.
“His vision was to put us on the map with Hilton worldwide, that we would be on the lips of the Hilton community throughout the world, so we had to succeed in all our property indicators and we have now done this three times, gaining Green awards, the highest in the Hilton chain, in key performance indicators, including gross operating profit (GOP), target GOP, global team member survey, revenues per available room, satisfaction and loyalty tracking (SALT), and leadership index,” she said.
Last year, Stanfield was also awarded the Hilton President’s Award for Excellence.
Henderson Williams, the chief executive officer of Needhams Point Holdings, the management company that operates the hotel, noted that under Stanfield’s watch, “we installed a new staff gym, coffee shop, a new spa, and upgraded the rooms and corridors.
“Under his watch, we also saw our owner’s return grow from $13 million in 2013 to $15.75 million in 2017,” he revealed.
Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy also joined with staff in remembering a man who did not fit the stereotypical profile of a general manager in terms of his appearance and demeanour.
Gym Supervisor Andrew Jones recalled “the first time I saw George I was on the pool deck with some of my co-workers when I saw this man pass by in a shirt-jac, slacks and loafers, and one of the guys whispered to me, ‘that’s the new general manager’. I said, ‘he can’t be. He’s not even wearing a suit’, but they insisted, ‘yes, that is the new general manager’, and then he came over and introduced himself.”
Sealy said, “During the handover period when his predecessor was still here, I was at the Hilton for another event when I saw this man putting his hand and head through the windows of cars coming onto the property welcoming the visitors, and I told the then GM, ‘It seems like you have a crazy guest here!’ I later learned that that was just his unique way of interacting with everyone he met. He was a humanist who had everyone’s interest at heart.”
Director of Sales and Marketing Tracy Jones spoke of a general manager who “helped with baggage when large groups came in, worked as a server and bus boy at large group events, and went through the kitchen tasting the pots as the cooks prepared the meals”.
Head of the Finance Department Shirley Garnes said “within a year of George’s arrival, he knew the names of every single team member, whether they were married or had children, and always ensured my department could assist any employees who might have been facing financial challenges”.
Director of Rooms Janique Mason noted that “he saw and let potential develop in others including myself, who started as a reservations agent, and treated employees like family by routinely touching base with them every day”.
Head of the Fishers of Men charity Sharon Bellamy-Thompson also praised Stanfield for allowing her to use the Hilton to host events for the children she looked after, following a chance encounter with him one day in the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex where she works as a vendor.
As he received gifts from all the departments at the hotel, in summing up his time in Barbados, Stanfield said: “I thank God first and foremost, as well as Needhams Point Holdings for giving me this opportunity, and I really could not have done it without the great 400-member team I worked with here.”
Stanfield, who also received tributes in song and poetry from staff members, will be taking up managerial duties at the Hilton Buenos Aires in Argentina at the beginning of March.