THIS week’s High Flyer is Stephen Meldrum, general manager of Hastings Grand Central Hotel.
What was your first job?
My first job was as a part time bar waiter working for Croft Inns who owned a couple of hotels and bars in the greater Belfast area.
What qualifications do you have?
I have a plethora of the usual GCSE’s including three A levels, as well as a Diploma in Business Law. I have always been quite musical and therefore have a raft of certificates in various musical instruments and theory. However due to my love of the hospitality industry I focused on embarking on a trainee management program in my early 20’s and have associated BTEC qualifications gained in this field.
What do you attribute your success to?
I am a hugely determined individual who strives to succeed at every opportunity. I love the industry that I am involved in and therefore don’t really see it as work, but as a way of life.
I also believe the support of my wife and family have majorly attributed to my success. The role is demanding and I have always been encouraged and supported by those who love me.
How would you describe yourself to someone who’d never met you?
Tall, dark and handsome! Wishful thinking!
Some words I feel would describe me best would be honest, hard-working, loyal, generous, hospitable, with a little bit of stubbornness thrown in for good measure.
Who do you look up to in business?
I have been very fortunate to work with some great people and for great companies that have always believed in me and in my continuous development. The late Sir William Hastings was a man who I greatly admired and who instilled a great sense of family within his business. Despite political instability and the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland he continued to grow his hotels and make them a beacon of inclusivity for all.
Outside this, I have always admired two great business leaders – Henry Ford, for his vision and pioneering work in the automotive industry.
The other is Walt Disney for his creativity and how he developed such trust in his brand.
How do you get the best out of people who work for you?
I believe in leading by example and working alongside the team. This helps to gain their respect and trust. I am fortunate to work alongside a passionate and talented team and I empower them to deliver within their owns teams.
If you could change one thing about doing business in Northern Ireland, what would it be?
Working in the hospitality and tourism sector, one thing I would like changed would be the VAT rate. This would help to level the playing field with our counterparts across the border and I believe stimulate and increase this growing industry.
What website or app could you not do without?
Facebook – I love to see what weird and wonderful things that sometimes pop up in my timeline
What was the last book you read?
Steven Gerrard’s biography
What car do you drive?
Mercedes C Class
Tell us something interesting about yourself?
Many years ago I dabbled in a little DJ’ ing, and used to be the resident DJ at the ice rink, which was at City Hall, Belfast.
What’s your greatest passion outside work and family?
It would have to be my beloved Liverpool football team. I have waited patiently for over 19 years to win the league. Hopefully not too much longer.