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Torrens Hospitality Success Coach - David Whyte

Hospitality Success Coach: David Whyte

At Torrens University we offer our students a dedicated Success Coach.

David is a Hospitality Coach, born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. He graduated with Honors in a Bachelors of Events and Hospitality Management from the Swiss Hotel Management School in Switzerland.

With over 12 years’ experience, working in the Caribbean, USA, Switzerland, and Zimbabwe, he has worked across multiple hospitality departments, from Food and Beverage, Housekeeping and Front Office Operations, to Banqueting and Events. His most recent role as a General Manager of a 5-star Boutique Lodge, in Harare Zimbabwe, was an accumulation of all these roles.

He moved to Australia at the end of April 2017 and has taken on a new role as Success Coach in the Hospitality faculty. Having been a Hospitality student, he is now in a position to support, coach and advise our students aiding their ability to reach their full potential, on their road to success.

What do you love most about your job and why?

I love seeing that light bulb moment with students and realizing you helped make sense out of something they were initially struggling with.

Why did you decide to become a Success Coach?

When I knew I was going to be moving to Australia, in addition to packing up and leaving behind everything I knew, I was ready for a new Career Challenge. Having experienced quite a bit myself within the Hospitality Industry, I was also ready for a bit of a change and something different. I have always been interested in University Education, and in the back of my mind, knew at some point that this the direction I would like to take. I happened to come across the role of Success Coach for Hospitality when I was applying for jobs. Reading the job description of a Success Coach, it sounded really exciting, and something that I wanted to be a part of. Having studied Hospitality myself, and going on internships, I am familiar with the journey students take, so that combined with my experience, felt like this was perfect for me. I wasn’t sure I would get the role, as I had no experience in Education, but thought let’s go for it, and what will be, will be. The rest is history!

Can you give an example of a time you watched a student you coached grow and succeed?

Recently I had a student who was really struggling with finding placement and was frustrated with the entire process. To help the student, the first step was to meet with them, and discuss what their ultimate career goal was. In this conversation, we had a chat about strengths, and I encouraged this student to take the survey to discover their top 5 strengths. Additionally, I worked closely with this student on their resume and cover letter, getting them both up to industry standards, and conducted a couple of mock interviews to get them over their nerves. We had a couple of coaching sessions, and the student eventually took their survey and discovered their top 5 strengths. Having a conversation about their strengths, and providing them with feedback on their resume and cover letter, over a couple of coaching sessions we had, and as time went by, I could see their confidence growing. I also encouraged this student to attend the workshops Success Coaches were facilitating on campus, which they did. This specific student then came to not too long ago, to advise me that they had got the job they were after and thanked me for my guidance and assistance along the way. It’s a great feeling knowing you have made a difference.

What other jobs have you had/have that help you be a great success coach?

  • Cross Training Internship at Hotel Marquis – St. Martin, French West Indies
  • Front Desk Agent, and later on Supervisor at Daufuskie Island Resort and Breathe Spa – Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA
  • Assistant Chef at Hostellerie de Caux – Caux, Montreux, Switzerland
  • Food and Beverage Supervisor of Trendz Restaurant at Swiss Hotel Management School, Caux, Montreux, Switzerland
  • Management Training at Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida, USA, which saw me working in various roles, including Front Desk, Reservations, Housekeeping, Concierge, and Banquets and Events
  • General Manager of Millers Grill Restaurant – Harare, Zimbabwe
  • General Manager of Thorntree Lodge – Harare, Zimbabwe
  • General Manager of Amanzi Lodge – Harare, Zimbabwe

What does success mean to you?

The definition of success to me means doing something that makes you happy, and something that you enjoy. It also means often not taking the path of least resistance, but opening yourself to new challenges that enable you to grow and develop mentally, spiritually and professionally.

What advice do you have for a student starting University?

At the risk of sounding really old – it goes by way too fast so enjoy it! Also don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure. Other students are probably questioning the same thing.

Why do you think learning about our strengths can help a student?

Understanding and learning about one’s strengths is important as it allows you to understand why you do the things you do, and how you can be even better at what you do. When overplayed, or underplayed, your strengths are not your strengths, and therefore not very effective. Knowledge and understanding of your strengths creates an awareness of how to achieve that perfect balance, in order for you be your best. This can be applied in all aspects of your life – personally, professionally, and academically.

What are your top 5 Strengths? How did learning your strengths help you?

  • Empathy
  • Achiever
  • Restorative
  • Harmony
  • Adaptability

When reading through the description of my strengths, I was blown away, as everything I was reading (about myself) made perfect sense. It also allowed me to realize why I react to certain situations, and why I do things the way I do. Further coaching sessions, allowed me to identify how and when I have used my strengths in the past, and where they may have been overplayed or underplayed, and therefore not very effective. Understanding that, allows me to realize the potential of using my strengths in that perfect balance, and how I can use them moving forward in my role as a Success Coach.

What’s a quote that inspires you?

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. 

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