Reflections of the Distell Inter Hotel Challenge by Ndaba Dube

Distell Inter Hotel ChallengeReflection and achievements: of Ndaba Dube, ‘Most Promising’ Wine Steward 2013, 3rd Place Best Wine Steward 2014, Mentor to the ‘Most Up & Coming’ Wine Steward Anita Thomson 2016) and currently F&B Manager, The President Hotel)

Getting recognition and an award from the Distell Inter Hotel Challenge marked the beginning of believing in myself on the career that chose me. Much to the support and confidence shown by The Vineyard hotel, I was yet to see my full potential. The inter-hotel challenge confirmed that hard work, passion and focus does pay off on a young professional's career growth. I could place my confidence in something and measure my efforts. From this I grew into becoming an ambassador of the Vineyard hotel and the industry at large. I entered the competition twice as I believed there was still room for growth from the feedback received on my first entry. And with no doubt, this was worth it.

My journey thereafter evolved, not only did my wine knowledge and exposure grow. I was afforded a chance at leadership within our Food & Beverage department. From being a mentee and understanding the value behind it, I took on the mentoring role to all the candidates that participated after me. My journey to give back and uplift others found its grassroots. This came natural to me as I am passionate about people realising their potential. I found this fitting and a prized gift. As a hotel we could now craft a development plan for all our aspiring wine stewards and the inter-hotel challenge gave us a platform to measure our investment in our staff with also exposure for the candidates.

I took on more responsibility and each year my passion grew. I had the privilege to gain more knowledge as I took on more educational courses. I gained insight on how the industry works holistically and could identify my career path and how I could make a difference.

In the pursuit of growth and adding value to the hospitality industry, I spent the greater part of 2019 as Food & Beverage Manager at the newly opened Blaauwberg Beach Hotel in Blouberg overseeing the overall department's wine portfolio and events. I joined the President Hotel beginning of spring 2019 continually pursuing to make a difference and as a part of a well acclaimed President Hotel team.