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Daring To Be Great: Leadership Insights With Jaye Gayagas-Youn

Jun 01, 2022

Q&A with Jaye Gayagas-Youn Sales Manager Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort

Describe your professional journey/path in the hospitality industry (and at Davidson). What was your first position and why did it appeal to you?
I joined Davidson Hotels 11 years ago as the Director of Sales. That was by far one of the best decisions I’ve made in my career! At that time it was my first Director role and what appealed to me the most was taking on a position that would offer me the growth I was seeking in my career at that time.

How did you end up in your current role?
At some point my career path took a turn and I realized how much I missed the sales aspect of why I entered into this field to begin with. I felt my strengths in selling were not being maximized to the company’s full advantage and therefore asked to transition to Director of Groups. As a result of my strong and continued relationships with our travel partners, I then moved on to my present position as the Director of Tour and Travel. I also work frequently with our entertainment partners (Hollywood loves Kaua’i) and am very involved in our government relations due to our Pacific Missile Range Facility here on island.

What do you love about this industry?
I grew up in the hospitality industry and worked in a variety of departments along the way. I initially started as part of the wait staff in a bustling hotel restaurant and throughout the years held a number of management positions. I learned a lot along the way and stood on the shoulders of many great mentors who helped steer me in the right direction. What I love most about this industry is that it really afforded me multiple opportunities for growth and professional exploration, ultimately leading me to the position I’m most passionate about, which is the one I’m in today. This industry truly allows me to combine my skillsets and passions such that the job doesn’t feel like ‘work’.

What do you love about your role/what inspires you to be great?
Two things genuinely motivate me to do my best, and that’s our ownership and our team members. The past two years have been a real challenge for the hospitality industry, and for our property in particular, as our island had been shut off to tourism for the majority of the pandemic. Our ownership led by example, doing their best to keep our doors open when many hotels were closed and the overwhelming amount of support and compassion our ownership provided to each and every furloughed team member was a testament to how much they cared.. Likewise, our Sheraton Kaua’i Coconut Beach Resort team members demonstrated their tenacity to never give in or to give up. They always came together to show what true ‘Aloha Spirit’ means no matter what challenges we faced. This is what motivates me daily to give back by working diligently to keep our resort and our associates thriving!

What are your professional aspirations; where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
I plan to work as long as possible doing what I enjoy doing best ~ selling!

What advice/tips resonated with you most from mentors throughout your career?
That life and work balance is important and our families are important. That we all need to stop counting the days and instead start making each day count.

What advice would you give someone who is coming up?
Take one thing at a time and prioritize life’s daily tasks. I’m definitely a list maker when it comes to that. I was always told to tackle the toughest task first and not leave it for another day. Because if you do the toughest things first, everything that follows will get easier!

Anything else you want to add?
Let work embrace the best of you and make it your goal to always enjoy each day and seize each and every opportunity that may come your way!