Sandra Preciado, assistant events operations manager of the Rosewood, London, has won the 2018 Acorn Scholarship.
Preciado, who is the 16th Acorn Scholarship winner impressed the judging panel with her persistence to succeed in the hospitality industry and her passion to continue to develop.
With a Spanish business management degree and working as an accountant, when the credit crunch depressed her country in 2014, she travelled to the UK and started her career in hospitality, initially as a waitress for a catering company. Having initially trained as a gymnast from a young age her discipline and determination paid off when she progressed to a waitressing role at the Shangri-La hotel, London two months prior to opening in 2014.
During many long days and nights Preciado was thrown into an events management role on the 34th floor of the hotel, turning a blank space into a huge success. Hooked on the buzz and energy of hospitality, Preciado has continued to develop her event and client management skills in the luxury end of the hotel sector currently employed at the Rosewood, with a bright future and a dream to become a director of food and beverage at a luxury hotel by the age of 35.
The Acorn Scholarship’s first Spanish finalist presented to scholarship sponsors and judges who included: Sean Wheeler, director of people development, Principal Hotel Company; Laura Wigley, global director of learning and talent, Dorchester Collection; Moira Laird, human resources director, Valor Hospitality Partners and Ruston Toms, founding trustee of the PM Trust and director of Blue Apple Contract Catering.
The 29-year-old described how she would give back to the industry by sharing her experiences of starting from ground zero in hospitality and how hard work and learning on-the-job have made her an excellent team player and mentor.
She intends to immerse herself in the industry and work with the scholarship judges and their network to develop her career.
Jo Harley, scholarship judge and managing director of PurpleCubed, said: “Sandra is going to be a fantastic scholar, with enormous amounts of potential. PurpleCubed has been involved with the Acorn Scholarship for many years now and we look forward to working with her in 2018 to provide professional development learning sessions.”
Preciado receives a prize valued at more than £5,000, including a £2,000 bursary for bespoke professional development opportunities, agreed with the Acorn Scholarship team, to support her in achieving her goal.
Hannah Horler, managing director of Cartwheel Recruitment and an Acorn Scholarship judge, commented: “Sandra has a real steeliness and will make a fantastic scholar.”
Toms, added: “Sandra is not the finished article but we all saw her passion and perseverance. We believe we can help guide her to become the person she wants to be.”
Previous winners of the Acorn Scholarship include, Lee Bye, chef patron, Tuddenham Mill, Suffolk; Charlotte Horler of Red Carnation Hotels; Daniel McLoughlin, opening project manager at Shoda Cafe & Restaurant, Co. Kildare, Simon Houston of Bartlett Mitchell, and John Price, owner of the Village Inn, Brompton, North Yorkshire and the first Acorn Scholar.
The Acorn Scholarship is a self-nominated award and is open to individuals who are UK residents and able to work in the UK without restriction. Sponsors include the Dorchester Collection, Principal Hotels, Valor Hospitality Partners and the PM Trust with patrons PurpleCubed and the Springboard Charity.
Main picture caption: (l-r) Ruston Toms, founding trustee of the PM Trust and director of Blue Apple Contract Catering; Sandra Preciado, 2018 Acorn Scholarship winner; Laura Wigley, global director of learning and talent, Dorchester Collection and Sean Wheeler, director of people development, Principal Hotel Company.
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