genesis montanez valle

Genesis Montanez-Valle

Spa Manager, Richmond Harbour Hotel & Spa

Genesis joined Harbour Hotels in July 2022, after building her career across spas, gyms and aesthetician clinics, starting as a Spa Receptionist aged 17. She returned to her calling in Hospitality to run our group's largest and newest HarSPA & Club.

How did you start your career in Hospitality?

I started as a Spa Receptionist and it was while I was working at a hotel that I did my NVQs in Beauty Therapy. I was always quite aware that I was more attracted to the business side of working in a spa and it was this that led me to Front of House management roles, managing aesthetician clinics and to working in a start-up business for gyms. I always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to move back to the Hospitality industry, which saw me join Richmond Harbour Hotel & Spa.

What skills have helped you get to where you are today?

I've had great mentors along the way who have taught me so much - but I was open and inquisitive to learning skills outside of whatever my current role was. I wasn't afraid to ask about KPIs or find out what a P&L meant and how to prepare one. Being hands-on and being prepared to do all jobs comes into this. I have always enjoyed learning from many different areas of the business. 

I'm also very passionate about customer service. We're in the business of making guests feel good and I enjoy building a relationship with our HarSPA & Club members and day guests. 

Making people feel valued is also core to how I manage my team. I like to ensure I spend good quality time with each of my team members so I can fully understand them and they have lots of opportunities to talk to me. This helps you with managing different personalities and helps you learn how to be supportive and inspirational for all of your team. I like to create a fun atmosphere at work for my team but I also know when to be firm.

What advice would you give someone looking to follow in your footsteps?

If you want to progress then you need to be willing to go the extra mile and seek out any opportunity you have to progress. Find a mentor who will be honest with you and then you can work on any of your weaknesses. For example, I struggled in the past with public speaking and have found that I really had to get out of my comfort zone to get to the point where I feel confident leading meetings and speaking at events, but with a supportive boss I was able to work on this. 

Make sure you have the patience to show people tasks and skills time and time again so you can pass on your own knowledge and build a strong team under you. 

I'd also like to encourage women to consider a role like mine even if they don't have a business degree. You shouldn't feel daunted as there is so much you can learn on the job by being willing to listen and take in advice from others. I wish colleges would teach some of these business skills in their beauty therapy courses to encourage more people to consider this side of working in spas, but until then, you'll find plenty of mentors within the industry who will share their knowledge and help you on your way.

I have to say a huge thanks to the Spa Directors and Managers who have taught me so much throughout my career. I'm still in touch with many of them, as well as members of my teams who have now gone on to great things. Keeping good relationships with your colleagues and ex-colleagues is definitely important.

Do you have aspirations for the future?

I would like to work towards becoming a Spa Director and managing a few more locations. I am enjoying strengthening my team at Richmond HarSPA & Club and building the business after our re-opening. 

Do you have a highlight from your time working with Harbour Hotels?

It's can be so hard to slow down and look at all you have achieved in the Hospitality industry so I was so pleased to be able to take my team out recently to celebrate all their hard work.