Events operations manager
The day had arrived.
After weeks of preparation and writing down my thoughts for my Acorn Scholarship presentation on the tube, waking up in the middle of the night, deleting, and re-writing and two days of sheer excitement – jumping like a kid on my bed. There I was, in front of the judges for The Acorn scholarship 2018.
As I began I could feel my heart pumping hard in my chest; my legs and hands were shaking so hard. But I managed to start talking and described my journey and ambitions to the judges.
I think I had the judges’ attention, I got a few laughs and they were genuinely interested in my story and as quickly as it had started it was over and the questions began. I wasn’t nervous anymore because whilst I had been talking I’d realised I was partly there because I’ve been strong in the past – I didn’t waste the opportunity.
I walked around Manchester in the afternoon (the judging and awards dinner were held at the Principal in Manchester). In the evening my boyfriend joined me for the awards dinner. He’d supported me all the way through my application process and listened to my presentation over and over!
At 9pm all the awards finalists were presented with a certificate alongside the sponsors for a photo opportunity. Then the big moment. The winner’s announcement.
As the name was announced, I was looking to my right and my left thinking when is the winner going to stand up? Until my boyfriend turned to me and said: “Sandra, it’s you. You are the winner. You won!”
Shocked is an understatement!
Lisa Jenkins (chair and judge of the Acorn Scholarship) presented me with the Award and I managed to keep it together just long enough for a winner’s photograph. My legs were shaking again, and back at our table, the tears came.
All those years of survival and fight had paid off.
Back at work later the following day all my Rosewood colleagues congratulated me. The win was announced in The Caterer and online and again I felt like I was dreaming. I also had another article published in the local paper for Diario de Burgos, in Spain where I was born – another big achievement that I never imagined.
With regards to Rosewood, they have shown me 100% trust and support and just this month, six years to the day of my arrival in the UK, I was promoted to the role of events operations manager – a dream came true.
All I can say is a big thank you to everyone who made this possible.
“Be thankful for what you are now and keep fighting for what you want to be”.
I think the Acorn Scholarship will change my life – watch this space……
Since winning the 2017 Acorn Scholarship at the end of 2016, my role at Tuddenham Mill has changed dramatically.
I have stepped up from the position of head chef of the 20-bedroom boutique hotel and now oversee all operations of the business, including managing the hotel, events and restaurant teams, as well as continuing to be involved in the food offer and menu development.
Operations Manager, Hotel Collection Billesley Manor hotel
When I won the Acorn Scholarship in November 2015, I knew it was going to open doors for me and heighten my exposure as well as my career within the hospitality industry but who would have thought there were so many doors waiting to be opened? From trips abroad to networking events, mentoring to the Cateys. The past six months have been absolutely life changing!
After presenting to 10 of the industry’s most successful business people at Westminster Kingsway College, London, back in November 2015, I was delighted to be announced as the Acorn Scholar for 2016.
During my scholarship year I visited the Villeroy & Boch headquarters in Luxembourg with Nick Green and the young chefs of the year. I attended the Catey’s and many networking events around hospitality and employee engagement. I even attended Hospitality Action’s Big Quiz of the Year!
The highlight for me was having two mentors: Sean Wheeler and Jo Harley (see mentor’s page) – their support and guidance was invaluable. Jo really pushed me into connecting with people and assessing my personal management style to make the most of my skills.
Sean welcomed me into his professional life with shadowing days which focused on operations as well as people development in a luxury market.
I also secured a new role as front of house manager, Montague on the Gardens, (Red Carnation Hotels) – a role I probably wouldn’t have considered for myself prior to being awarded the Scholarship and having my mentors’ support and motivation throughout the year.
If anybody is weighing up entering the Acorn Scholarship this year – Just Do It! It will enhance your career more than you can ever imagine. You don’t need all the answers or years of experience – you need passion, dedication and motivation. The rest will just follow! Good Luck!
Daniel demonstrated a real passion to better himself through the guidance and development of the Acorn Scholarship. He returned in 2014 to face the Scholarship judges and his enthusiasm and determination was very apparent to us all. It was clear that here was an individual that needed help to realise his full potential and we knew that we could provide him with some really beneficial introductions and experiences in to the world of casual dining and business management. “A very talented individual – in fact one day he’ll work for me” – James Horler
Provenance Food Hall and Restaurant
Head Chef, The Almanack
2003 and inaugural Scholar
Ginger Village Pubs