Alumni 28 Dec 2018

Jeremy Canivet, Alumni 1993: "Hospitality comes from the heart"

By Lucile Jaillais, Communications specialist
Photograph by CIS Communications

After graduating from CIS in 1993, Jeremy Canivet decided to move halfway around the world. He settled in Switzerland where he studied Hospitality Management. Twenty five years later, where has this career choice taken him?

Can you tell us a about the career choices you made after leaving Singapore in 1993?

I’ve always enjoyed being surrounded by people and socialising with them. During my summer breaks, I would do hospitality jobs such as waiting or bartending. I quite naturally looked into a career in hospitality. That’s why I chose this three-year programme Hospitality Management in Switzerland. I really enjoyed the course and what I learned, as well as living in such a beautiful country. After I graduated, I moved back to Canada, and began my hotel career as a front desk agent at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto. From there, I moved through different roles, such as concierge and housekeeping supervisor, before accepting a job as event manager in London. Ever since London, I have been working in a sales capacity. Now, working as a Director of Sales & Marketing for the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain, I am responsible for marketing this beautiful property to the world. My favorite part of the job would be the international travel to promote the resort - just last December, I was in Cannes, attending the prestigious International Luxury Travel Market (ITLM).

It sounds like you have evolved rather quickly. Looking back at your career, what would you say are your top 3 achievements?

I have been in the industry for a long time and I have had the opportunity to accomplish many things, but if I were to pick the achievements that were the most meaningful to me, they would be:

  • Becoming an Assistant Director of Sales before reaching the age of 30

  • Becoming part of the Ritz-Carlton hotel team

  • Winning group hotel of the year for Ritz-Carlton in 2014

What role did CIS play in shaping you as a person and as a hospitality professional?

My education overseas certainly shaped who I am today, and CIS was a big part of that. Being part of the multicultural student body, and living abroad, certainly made me more open to new experiences that perhaps would have intimidated me otherwise. I have to say that teachers at CIS guided and supported me in pursuing a career in which I could best utilise my interpersonal skills.

You have been in the industry for nearly twenty five years now. Where do you see yourself in the next ten years?

I hope to still be working in the hotel industry overseas.  Despite my tenure in sales, I have a strong operational background and hope to one day become General Manager of a luxury hotel in some exotic location.

Hospitality seems to be a popular choice amongst today’s graduate students. What advice would you give them?

Hospitality comes from the heart. It has to be part of you. When you start working in hospitality, you don’t get paid a lot, you need to earn your stripes, and work your way up. If you work hard, it is an industry that will reward your efforts. Be international and not restricted geographically. The more flexible you are with where you are willing to relocate, combined with a strong work ethic, the faster you will grow.

You attended CIS in its early years, in the nineties. What are some of your fondest memories on campus?

I only know the old campus. I remember the cafeteria being open air which I enjoyed a lot. I also remember Mr McBride who, many years later, I met by chance as he was teaching in my children’s school in Muscat, Oman. It was surreal to see him again in such a random location 20 years after I left CIS.

You’ve lived in Canada, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK, and for the last ten years, the Middle-East. Is it a particularly attractive region for hotel management? And do you see yourself ever going back to Canada?

For career growth, the Middle East is an amazing place to start. People come and go in this part of the world more frequently than in the West, so the opportunity for faster career growth is there. Plus they have no tax. I enjoy the Middle East, but hope to work in South East Asia again one day. Not sure if I’ll ever go back to Canada. My wife is like me and enjoys the expat lifestyle, but who knows what the future holds.