Amsterdam, June 09 2022
Meet our new Finance Manager Sharona Prajasemita. She is aware of the challenges in a diverse role. "There are so many entities, and for each entity, we have an administration, so in the first weeks, it was a challenge for me to link all the finance processes and understand the business."
You started four months ago within HFC. How is your journey so far?
It's impressive to see how HFC is growing so fast. My first month was very chaotic. It seemed so complex at that moment, but it was also a challenge. I am grateful for the team. Everyone was very kind and helpful; this made learning about all the processes and the organization a lot easier. The most rewarding part of my role so far is receiving the appreciation and the trust of everyone within HFC.
Can you describe your position as a Finance Manager in one word?
So, your days are filled with different projects?
Within finance, you are dealing with a lot of deadlines. So, the structure is also fundamental. I was very busy with the month-end closing the first couple of weeks. Then I had time to pick up some projects. Besides this, you also have your weekly duties, so the days pass quickly. There are a lot of challenges within the finance department, so you never get bored. Finance affects all departments, so you're in touch with many different colleagues. That's why I love my job.
What do you find the most challenging at HFC?
I think linking all processes within the finance department. There are so many entities, and we have an administration for each entity. So, it was a challenge for me to link all the finance processes and understand the business. I didn't have any Hospitality job experience at all, so I jumped into something new! What I enjoy the most is the flexibility and freedom. There are so many HFC opportunities that challenge you as a professional.
In your opinion, what are the key elements for starting and running a healthy financial hospitality business?
Having the administration and the financial processes in control. This leads to accurate reports and insight into the financial situation. You can make the right financial decisions on time with accurate and reliable financial information.
What key activities would you recommend entrepreneurs invest their time in?
Daily exercising it's beneficial for your physical and mental health. It will also boost your productivity. Even when it's a walk after lunch, it can refresh your mind and increase your morale for the remainder of the day.
In your experience, what factors contribute to excellent customer service?
I think it's a mix of different things: a clean room, a nice bed and friendly hotel staff. But above all, an unforgettable first experience is crucial for excellent customer service. Because it's the first impression that counts, it's also essential to make the customer feel special, I believe that customers are sure to carry experiences and memories rather than physical products back home.
Can you tell us a little bit about your family if you like?
I'm a family person. I love to spend time with my family. Unfortunately, my parents, brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew live in Groningen, 2 hours from Amsterdam. I miss the spontaneously visits and of course the good food from my parents. My parents come from Surinam, but my grandparents are from origin Javanese. My parents have both a lot of sisters and brothers. I am glad that I have a big family, which also means that I have a lot of nieces and nephews in and nearby Amsterdam to hang out with.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
A lot! Before my pregnancy, I get my energy from kickboxing (bag training). I trained 4-5 times a week, but now I walk a lot during my pregnancy, and I go to the gym three times a week.
I enjoy the weekly date nights with my boyfriend Thursday. Most of the time, we try new restaurants for dinner. I also love to walk with friends, stroll through Amsterdam city, try new food courts, and take some coffee moments. I also love my me-times, taking a walk and listening to podcasts and once a year, I book a hotel with a spa for a weekend and reflect on the previous months.
Who or what inspires you?
I am happy that there are many inspirational people and stories. Honestly, many things inspire me. When I see someone overcome adversity, it inspires me to give the best shot in life. I love to read autobiography books like Shoe dog (Phil Knight, A promised land (Barack Obama), Lean in (Sheryl Sandberg). Reading not only does it helps take my mind off of the stress of the day but it keeps my mind sharp with new ideas and perspectives.
Tell us something your colleagues don't know about you
I was the "dam kampioen" from the school in primary school, and I was second out of all primary schools in town.
What is your favourite travel spot so far?
I have a lot! But I went backpacking to the Philippines by myself, and I went to a desert island, "Kalanggaman Island", for a day. It was so amazing!
Do you have a favourite quote, motto, or personal mantra?
"Wherever you are in your journey, I hope you will keep encountering challenges. It is a blessing to survive them, to keep putting one foot in front of the other – to be in a position to climb up life's mountain, knowing that the summit still lies ahead. And every experience is a valuable teacher."- Oprah Winfrey
How do you define success?
When I have balance in all the crucial areas of my life and have the time and resources to pursue what I love and am passionate about, I feel proud when I have achieved goals.
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