In our encounters with Jakarta’s hotel General Managers, we don’t really see too many female general managers, despite the number of women professionals in the industry. But in the only 1 year old Mercure Jakarta Cikini hotel, we met with Lisa P. Sanjoyo, the hotel’s appointed General Manager who has dedicated her professional life for Accor chain of hotels.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’ve been working in hospitality industry since 1998. At that time, I started working in one of Indonesia’s leading local chain. In 2004, I joined Accor group, assuming various positions in Ibis Slipi, Novotel Jakarta Mangga Dua Square, Mercure Jakarta Kota, until I assumed position as General Manager of Ibis Jakarta Mangga Dua and finally, in Mercure Cikini since its opening last year. This was a very exciting challenge for me, because this was my first time opening as GM.
You studied French Literature in College. How did you finally chose hospitality as your career of choice?
Fresh out of college, I was a sales person of an insurance company. One day, I met one particular hotel General Manager who I was selling my product to. When he found out that I studied French in college, he was interested of hiring me to deal with his French accounts. So in the end of that meeting, I actually didn’t sell him an insurance, but instead got myself a new job!
In Mercure Jakarta Cikini, who are your target market?
mostly MICE, people that come here for conference or meetings, inside and outside of Jakarta. Secondly, people that come here for business that wants to stay within reach to the CBD, but wants to avoid the bustle of the main Sudirman-Thamrin strip.
It’s a male-dominated world. How do you lead in your company?
I feel that myself feel that I have some quality traits that are unique to women. I think we are more detail-oriented, we take great focus on the process, and not only the end results. I like to be involved in all aspects, to the smallest aspects. From cutleries, artwork, flower arrangements, hygiene, everything. To my team, I feel I can place myself not only as a superior, but also as a mother figure that can be caring and understanding, but also stern and disciplined.
How do you maintain your work-life balance?
Since my daughter was born, I’ve been taking her to the hotel where I could be present for her. This is I think where Accor as an employer excels. The flexibility they give especially for women employees.
For me, the most important thing is that for me and my husband realize that we are equal. My husband doesn’t work in the same industry, but if one of us need to be away from home, than the other needs to stay. One parent must be present at home. This is the rule that we don’t compromise with.
What do you do in your free time?
On weekends, I always spend time with my family. Me and my daughter would cook and spend time in the kitchen. We would go out and eat, or have a short getaway to nearby destinations.
What’s new in your hotel this year?
When we opened, we had 120 open. This year, we are officially opening all our available rooms, and upgrading our meeting rooms as well as opening our roof top lounge.
What things to do that you recommend your guests who are staying in your hotels?
It depends on their preference. If you like food, we have some of Jakarta’s most legendary restaurants and street food in the area. We are also very close to many historic spots and museums that are popular among tourists. For shoppers, I would recommend them spending a whole day in Grand Indonesia, Plaza Indonesia and Thamrin City where you can shop in a budget to high end boutique items.
Tell us 5 words that describe you best.
Detailed. Consistent. Perseverance. Family-loving. Motivating.