Position Guest services manager, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Great Milton, Oxfordshire
Nominator Philip Newman-Hall
Proudest career moment Winning the Olive Barnett Award 2011. I felt proud of myself and of everybody who mentored me along the way. The award gave me a moral and financial boost and was definitely a turning point in my career.
Greatest inspiration Le Manoir's director and general manager Philip Newman-Hall and chef-patron Raymond Blanc, who have both mentored, guided and inspired me from the first moment I joined.
Ambition Long term, I would like to see myself as a CEO, preferably within a large hospitality company - I'm exploring new career opportunities that will allow me to further my financial knowledge.
Assia Riccio-Smith gained a degree in Hospitality & Tourism in Naples in 2006, having spent her placements at the Bath Priory Hotel as chambermaid and waitress. In 2005, she also gained experience at catering and event planner A Touch of Taste in Oxfordshire.
She joined Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in March 2007 as a reservationist, moving on to receptionist and subsequently guest services manager. During this time she won numerous educational prizes, culminating in the Olive Barnett Award in 2011.
Assia is now part of a five-strong team responsible for guest welfare at Le Manoir. She has also been offered the position of reception manager when the present incumbent leaves. Assia says she "loves to create special moments for other people".