The Keeper of the Candles - How We Light Up the House by Sam Willocks, Concierge at Terranea Resort
I said it on my first interview and I caught myself saying it today, 9 months later, as I was turning down the driveway. It reminds me of the saying, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.” After years at city properties staring at shiny black walls, I revel in the view of the Pacific Ocean from my desk. I know the people who stay here, see it too...
Simon Sinek who wrote the book, Start with Why, says a company should “give people a place they WANT to go, not a place they HAVE to go”. Work is a word we also tend to associate with hard labor. Work should be fun. It should be inspiring. It should be your passion. The people on my team in Guest Relations ignite my passion. We try not to dampen each other’s fire. We work hard. We laugh hard. We are honest with each other - strengths and faults. Our desk is alive. My colleagues do not even fathom how much I owe them for that. We set our standards high but attainable. We anticipate the lines our guests expect so we know when to color outside them. I actually believe myself when I say, “It’s my pleasure”.
At Terranea, I have felt supported and empowered. They are our guests. As Concierge we are encouraged to take back the often forgotten Right to be the center of attention-Your Host. It’s a Right not to be taken for granted. It tickles me when my colleague says, “Making the magic happen”. That is something my manager has shown me how to do. More importantly, allowed us to do. You can’t win the game if you’re not allowed to play. Here we get to be who we are, ‘the keeper of the candles’. This is a house we are proud to light up.
The resort to me is synonymous with love. Often trivialized or misrepresented in our society, I love that I work somewhere that loves to celebrate love. From marriage proposals at sunset to weddings lavishly polished all weekend long, love actually is all around. Like a hearty laugh, love is also contagious. There’s evidence when I am working of people falling in love every day. We create that. We feel that. We can work with that. How lovely. If people don’t always remember what we did, they do remember how we made them feel.