Complex Human Resources Manager at Highgate - New York
https://www.linkedin.com/in/lydia-p-jengo-a6252923 At the age of 11, I sat on my father’s lap, I looked up and told my dad I will travel the world. I literally saw my future at that young age. I would say I was different, I spent more time reading books and playing puzzles. Challenging myself with Puzzles made me think and made me inquisitive because I was always excited and eager to see the end of a product. We must see possibilities first before anyone else. So, the word impossible is not in my vocabulary. When I completed my Secondary education, I was selected by the government to attend the Institute of Social Welfare. My parents, especially my dad, were very happy however, I was not because that is not what I saw for my future. After six months, I left and started my journey in the Hospitality industry and have never left to date. I have held positions from a housekeeping attendant, Nightclub Manager, Human Resources and Training Manager, Quality Assurance Manager, to a Director of Human Resources and I currently work as Complex Human Resources Manager for Highgate Hotels in New York. On top of all that I do, I run a Non-Profit for Women called AWOGA - Arise Woman of God Arise – www.awogaministry.org . Primarily focusing on elevating the lives of women and young girls. I am supporting 80 children in education from early learning to primary school. Presently, the ministry is working on raising funds to build a school that will be closer to their homes to eliminate the factor of walking longer distances. This will pave the way to bring more resources that can help strengthen the health and well being of the community.
What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them? My professional growth included several hurdles that in the end strengthened and emboldened me to continue achieving success. The initial hurdles or challenges I faced involved climbing up the professional ladder especially in a competitive environment. In the 90’s, I started working as a Housekeeping Supervisor with the Sheraton Hotel in Dar es salaam, Tanzania. My goal was to eventually become a manager, but I faced resistance and opposition from coworkers and even friends that didn’t believe. Eventually, with persistence and consistent performance in my work, I was promoted from a Housekeeping Supervisor to a Training Manager, which was a department head position. This instilled in me that hard work, persistence, and a goal-oriented mindset can pay off. I remember I was offered a position as Human Resources and Training Manager in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Accepting this position came with a challenge because I had more knowledge and experience in Training than I did in Human Resources. However, with a daring nature, I positioned myself to learn, and I excelled in this position as it promoted and transitioned me into the world of Human Resources.
When I relocated moved to the United States, I faced similar challenges when it came to finding a position in the hotel industry. A lot of people, including family and friends discouraged me because they believed it was almost impossible for a black woman and immigrant to acquire such a position. I was told to look for other jobs, outside the hospitality industry because getting a Human Resources or Training Manager position would not happen. However, l was persistent, resilient and I believed in my ability to achieve the impossible. There is so much more to share from my lived experience however, these are the few hurdles that accelerated my pace to reach rewarding destinations where I was able to thrive and grow individually and professionally. What Books are you Currently Reading? Over the years, I have read several books that were recommended for my professional and individual (spiritual) growth. Currently, I am reading “The Only Woman in the Room” by Marie Benedict and “The Most Powerful Woman in the Room IS YOU” by Lydia Fenet. What Do you Know Today that you wish you would have known when you first started? I wish someone would have told me to slow down and enjoy the success that I had achieved along the way. Although my passion and motivation were needed to overcome hurdles and resistance in my career, somehow in my journey I forgot to enjoy my life and celebrate my success. However, now I know the importance of pausing and enjoying the beauty of life. What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally The advice I will give to an upcoming youth whether locally or internationally is, whatever you see, you become and that no one can live your dreams but you, so go forth as the world awaits your expertise. Lastly, the Journey you see in your spirit, awaits to be walked on Earth.