Meet the Leading Ladies of Maamutaa Island in the Maldives

The Executive Magazine talks to the leading ladies of the luxury Maamutaa Island resort in the Maldives about life in the hospitality sector.
Elizabeth Jenkins-Smalley

Elizabeth Jenkins-Smalley

Editor In Chief at The Executive Magazine

Dive Center Manager, Mara Restelli 

Mara has been at Pullman Maldives as the Dive Centre Manager since the resort’s opening in September 2019. She has enjoyed being in the water since she was a young child. The deep depths of the Indian Ocean is where she feels most connected to the world. Mara became a diving instructor back in 2009. 

What is your favourite thing about working in the hospitality and travel industry?

‘’There are many, but probably one over all is to see the satisfaction and happiness of each guest during their holiday and knowing that I did my little part too. I love seeing guests’ smiles after they take their first underwater breath. I enjoy sharing my passion for the ocean, watching the guests’ excitement while snorkelling with sea turtles, listening to all their questions and talking about raising the awareness for marine life – it makes my day.”  

Cluster Assistant Director of Marketing, Laurean Sahilices

Laurean is passionate about digital marketing and communications and has over ten years of international experience gained in the tourism and hospitality industry across New Zealand, the Maldives and Argentina. Her first experience in the industry was in 2008 as an intern in Mexico where she fell in love with travel. She loves travelling, meeting different people and experiencing different cultures.

What would be your advice to a woman who is looking to start a career in hospitality? 

‘’Have the courage to take the first step and seize opportunities, but most importantly follow your passion and don’t be afraid to dream big as you never know the amazing places you could discover! I have had the opportunity of  working in some of the most beautiful destinations in the world like Riviera Maya (Mexico), Lanzarote (Canary Islands), New Zealand, and of course currently here in the Maldives, which has been an invaluable experience. I am proud to have been a part of a pre-opening team here in Maldives’’

Executive Chef Nyoman

With 25 years of culinary experience, Chef Nyoman is very much part of the ACCOR family, having previously been the Executive Chef of Pullman Guangzhou Baiyun Airport, China, and Executive Sous Chef of Sofitel Macau. She has a great knowledge of the Maldives already having worked for a number of resorts including Coco Boduhithi Maldives and Kurumba Maldives. She oversees all six of the resort’s unique and distinctive food and beverage outlets, including Phat Chameleon – The first organic vegan and vegetarian restaurant to open in the Maldives.

What is your greatest achievement? 

‘’My greatest achievement was being appointed as the first ever female Executive Chef at Pullman Guangzhou in China. Similarly, I am now the first female chef at Pullman Maldives Maamutaa Resort. I think it is so important to support balancing gender inequality in the culinary world, a notion that I am passionate about’’. 

Cluster Assistant Director of Sales, Jonette Canal

Jonette started her career with back in the Philippines in 2007. Her Maldives career started in 2010 where she worked for a travel agency in Male. She moved to resort life in 2015 with Amari Havodda Maldives under ONYX Group and was part of the pre-opening team. After completing 2 years with Amari, she moved to Ayada Maldives (a Turkish owned company) for 2 years. Pullman Maldives is her 2nd pre-opening resort. 

What made you want to work within the hospitality and travel industry and have you seen a change in the hospitality industry since you first started?

‘’The hospitality industry allows you to develop yourself – professionally and as a person. Not only do you improve on the professional skills you already possess, but with time, experience and commitment, you learn from others due to the variety of colleagues, clients and situations that will put you to the test. I must say I have seen a huge change. I am proud and happy to know that a lot of women are leading the industry in their own chosen field and that the companies are giving opportunity for women to succeed treating them equally as that of men’’. 

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