Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Farmer

Mary Farmer

Director, Online Programs, Glion Institute of Higher Education

Mary Farmer is presently Director of Online Programs for the Glion Institute of Higher Education in Bulle and Glion-Montreux, Switzerland and lectures in the Graduate School at Glion. For more than a decade Ms. Farmer has lectured at the University of British Columbia, University of Tilburg, Leiden University and Nipissing University. She has over 30 years’ experience as consultant, manager and corporate executive and has lived and worked extensively in Asia, Europe and North America. Her career began in international development in Southeast Asia where she was Project Manager for bi- and multi-lateral aid projects for CIDA, the World Bank, USAID, JICA and others. Ms. Farmer is a consultant and thought leader in global business and individual and organizational performance. Her passion is around leadership, communication, people and talent development. She has extensive expertise in influencing and coaching C-Suite and other senior leaders and specializes in workplace innovation, creating high performing teams and inclusive working environments, maximizing organizational effectiveness, development of inclusive communication strategy and succession and workforce planning design. Her many years of training, facilitating, coaching, speaking and lecturing in highly diverse environments gives her real credibility in multinational business and non-government organizations alike, and she delivers results by designing and delivering sustainable, pragmatic programs that address systemic issues requiring change. After starting with Price Waterhouse in Vancouver, Ms. Farmer helped establish Price Waterhouse Associates in Jakarta and was Indonesia’s Crown Agent representative. She was advisor on integrated and special education to the Indonesian Minister of Education, and served on the Curriculum Development board of Indonesia. Ms. Farmer was senior consultant and trainer with the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in Amsterdam, after which she launched her own highly successful cross-cultural and diversity and inclusion consulting, coaching and training firm, Global TMC International. For more than a decade she served global clients (including Philips, Ahold, Air Asia, Air Products, TNT, Shell, Vopak, Oce, Heineken, Medtronic, Honeywell, Avery-Dennison, 3M, the Mars Corporation, ABN Amro, American Airlines, Fortis, Cisco, ING Group, Air France-KLM, Oxfam, the Dutch and Canadian Ministries of Foreign Affairs) in designing programs and strategy for leadership development, post-acquisition integration, diversity and inclusion, communication and cross-cultural and cross-border business effectiveness. In 2010 Ms. Farmer was invited to take over as Director, Global Diversity and Inclusion, for Philips in Amsterdam to reframe D&I within the company and set strategic direction internationally, including a focus on gender balance, cultural diversity, non-OECD nationals, and implicit bias. Following studies in Journalism and Cultural Anthropology, Ms. Farmer holds an MBA in International Management from Leiden University and is doctoral candidate in Organizational Behaviour at the University of Amsterdam. She holds dual Canadian and Dutch citizenship and resides in Switzerland. She speaks fluent English, Dutch, Thai, and Bahasa Indonesia, and has working proficiency in Lao, Malay, and Flemish. She speaks ‘statistically bilingual’ Canadian French and a smattering of Mandarin and Spanish. Mary is a member of the European Institute for Managing Diversity.

Ms. Farmer can be contacted at mary.farmer@glion.edu

Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.