In recognition of International Women's Day we catch up with some leading lights of the bar industry involved with Cocktails in the City at One Marylebone.
Name: Anna Sebastien
Position: Bar Manager - Artesian
When did you decide a career in hospitality was for you?
I never really saw it as a career, it was just something I loved doing without even knowing.
I think the first turning point was working in this nightclub in Soho and I saw this guy walk in with just a presence, he knew everyone and everything that was going on and what made the atmosphere and the club what it was. That intrigued me.
Then a few years later I joined the opening team of The Savoy at the American Bar and the rest as they say is history!
Could you describe your role as bar manager at The Artesian.
Varied, interesting a lot of fun. The team are awesome and they’re the priority, if they are happy the guests will be, their is a lot of focus on training, growing and developing everyone.
We do host regular training sessions, creative brain storming sessions and spend time in our lab where the drinks magic happens. Lots of meetings with brand partners, flavour gurus and anyone else. That’s the fun things! There’s also the necessary things from a business side including revenue management and the like. But as I said it’s great fun and that’s the most important thing!
What skill sets do you think are most important to be successful in your position?
Passion, dedication and a sense of humour.
Name: Robyn Chiedozie
Position: General Manager - Little Bat
What are your key responsibilites as General Manager of Little Bat?
Making sure everything about the running of the bar is ship shape, keeping the business profitable, negotiating contracts and most importantly making sure I’ve got a happy team and happy guests!
There is a lot made of gender imbalance in the press currently, do you think that exists in hospitality in your own experience?
Absolutely! Only last week I interviewed a guy who was clearly expecting a male Robin, who then walked out of the interview stating he didn’t think this was the right place for him, which I truly believe meant he didn’t want a female boss!
There simply aren’t enough women in our industry and I’m often met with surprise when I introduce myself as GM of Little Bat, I’m looking forward to when this changes!
Do you have a particular management style of philosophy?
I was always taught to lead by example; never ask someone to do something that you’re not prepared to do yourself. And it works, your team seeing you getting your hands dirty is the quickest way to earn their respect.
Name: Stephanie Rainbow
Position: UK Brand Ambassador for Tia Maria.
What does your job entail?
Essentially, I travel around the UK – and occasionally abroad – teaching people about coffee, Tia Maria and how these two not only work together, but how to use them to further the world of coffee cocktails.
It seems like coffee and cocktails are really becoming popular, what’s your view on this
Coffee culture hitting and developing in the UK was very exciting for me, as an Australian who moved to London 8 years ago, and with the world of coffee being so vast and the same for cocktails, the mix of the two was inevitable. Now that speciality coffee is being brought more and more into the spotlight, I am really looking forward to what the great minds of the UK bar scene will create, as I think we are only just scratching the surface of what a ‘coffee cocktail’ can really be.
Making the assumption that the job is very demanding with a lot of travel how do you find a work/life balance?
Travel is a key part of any Brand Ambassadors job, as we spend most of our time spreading the love and knowledge of our respective brands. Luckily I was born loving to travel – and the ability to sleep on any form of transport – but I’m also very passionate about what I do.
When I get caught up trying to run around, to see everyone, fit in an extra training and try do everything, I have a great group of friends and family to keep me grounded and remind me to stop, sleep, look after myself and see them!
Finding that extra 10 minutes a day to stop and reflect, helps me keep my perspective in check.