These interviews are part of a series that highlights new hires within the industry. Have you recently started a new role or do you know someone who has? Submit your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Awet Sium was recently hired as general manager of Kimpton Donovan Hotel in downtown Washington D.C.
1. What are you looking forward to the most in your new role as General Manager of Kimpton Donovan Hotel?
I’m most looking forward to getting to know my new team at Kimpton Donovan Hotel. I already enjoy working with the truly dedicated team here and can’t wait to see what we accomplish together in the coming years. I’m also very excited to dig back into the Washington, D.C. market. A lot has changed since I was here last and the culture and community has developed into something special. I’m excited to be a part of such a vibrant city.
2. How do you think past experiences have prepared you for this role?
I truly believe every past role I’ve held, from bellman to housekeeping to leading food and beverage teams and finally moving into general manager positions, has prepared me for this. I was also lucky enough to work my way up in hospitality while living and working in multiple cities and countries across the world. I’ve been able to gain an extensive knowledge of the hospitality industry while growing and experiencing new things outside of my comfort zone. I am fortunate enough to come back to a familiar place with those incredible experiences under my belt and draw from them to help lead my new team.
3. How did you get into the industry?
About 20 years ago, I had a job stocking shelves at a discount store when my good friend shared how much he loved his job as a hotel bellman. I had always loved traveling, having grown up taking many trips with my mom and sisters, and I thought a hotel would be a great environment in which to work and grow. Best decision ever!
4. What are you hoping to achieve in your new role?
I want Kimpton Donovan Hotel to be the most-loved hotel in the city, but I also want us to be recognized as such by our employees. I want colleagues who strive to be the best in the market and hone their skills day in and day out with development and training. Through improvement of ourselves as people, we’ll be better inclined to improve our guests’ experience to reach that number one position. I also hope to build awareness of just how great Kimpton Donovan Hotel is already. We just completed a renovation to all of our meeting and event spaces, adding more than 500 square feet of new space and state-of-the-art technology that will provide a great experience for groups. We have an incredible Japanese izakaya-style restaurant Zentan with a dedicated culinary team led by executive chef Yo Matsuzaki that provides all catering for meetings and events in addition to the dining and drinks for our rooftop lounge and pool, DNV Rooftop. With all of these resources going for us, I think we’re well on our way to achieving our goal.
5. What do you enjoy most about the industry?
For me, it’s all about the people. I’ve been fortunate to live in 10 cities and countries over the past 12 years, and I never tire of meeting new people and learning from them. It also doesn’t hurt that this industry puts you always in a position to travel. I’ve visited nearly 40 countries and almost every state in the U.S. all the while getting new experiences, meeting new people, reconnecting with old friends, and learning new cultures and ways of doing things. It helps everything be seen through a fresh lens, and I’m excited to bring my point of view to Kimpton Donovan.