Ever since Heather Speed met a receptionist on a family holiday at the age of 14, she has been determined to forge a career in the hotel industry. As assistant front office manager of the Radisson SAS Liverpool, she has done an impressive job so far.
After completing an NVQ level 2 in hotel reception, she went on to work as a receptionist at the Holiday Inn at Manchester Airport, and then as reception shift leader at the Chester Moat House hotel.
Ambitious to work towards being an operations manager or rooms division manager, Speed went on to work at the De Vere St David's Park hotel, in Chester, as the reception shift leader.
It was here she had what she describes as "the worst, but most challenging, day of my life", when she had to deal with a power cut, floods and emergency evacuation, all in two hours during the breakfast shift.
After this, running reception and managing 11 members of staff at the Radisson SAS hotel seemed almost a walk in the park. Recently, she was promoted from service manager, where she had learnt some of the basics of her new role, to assistant front office manager.
This is a job that involves doing staff rotas, calculating their wages, looking after VIPs, and dealing with any complaints that come up.
Speed is keen to get stuck into her new role, saying: "It will be good to get respect as an actual manager, and I'll learn about budgets and revenue, which are new to me." She is now in charge of making most of the decisions on the front desk, and is office-based for two days a week so as to keep up with her paperwork and review customer feedback.
She hopes to earn promotion to front office manager but, if an opportunity isn't available in Liverpool, Speed is happy to move. Eventually, she wants to work abroad, and plans to learn Spanish or French. She's specific about location, however, saying: "It has to be somewhere hot."