Women, I can hardly explain, my mixed emotions at my thoughtlessness!’ flicks John Lenon in his famous track and Benita Sharma prompts her life in the same bit. Benita is today recognised for turning Marriott around under its new name – Sheraton, New Delhi.
She started working when she was 18 as circumstances at home compelled her to start young. In 1983, she took up a job of Receptionist at Mughal Sheraton and shifted her base from a regular student, to correspondence, with a job and a house to take care of. “ITC Culture was so rich that I never turned back and looked at another hotel. They supported my studies”, she shares. ITC believed in celebrating the strengths of an individual and not their weakness. For better work standards, ITC came up with a multi-skilling programme, where work-borders were omitted per the talent. Hence, Benita was introduced to three roles: Cashier, Guest Relations Manager & Receptionist.
She worked for two and a half years and qualified the MT Programme. With her commitment and hardwork, she moved to the Executive Club of Maurya Sheraton as Reservations Manager. ‘“At every juncture, we were given ample exposure in various departments of the hospitality industry”, she shares. Employees were sent for various training programmes at an organisational as well as personal level, as ITC believed in its people.
Currently undergoing the black belt in the Six Sigma, Benita is experimenting with ‘Everybody’s Selling’, an ITC initiative for leadership quality. Her project is on predicting the failure modes, called [Potential] Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA).
She believes that her talent & attitude is the result of the rich ITC culture. She emphasises that a strong HR comprises motivation, commitment and relationship management, and, that hospitality industry is not just about running a typical top-line management. The selection mode focuses on choosing the right attitude for the role. “Each human being has the strength to build a trait, hence we hire for attitude and train them”, she says.
On the future of ITC, she adds, ‘We are very close to an ITC Luxury Hotel with an expansion plan for this unit.’ She clutches on experiences of the people around her and believes that one gets to learn from them each day. A people-person, Benita Sharma makes sure that everyone gets what they deserve.