In DeSouza Associates

We say we are an experienced team but you may not know the experience each team member has in the industry. Lida, Catherine & Kate have written a short blog about their work experience and how they ended up working in events and being at DeSouza Associates.

Next is Kate…..

I sort of fell into the hospitality industry. When I was 16 I attended a careers evening and explored the option of being a receptionist. The lady told me that I should try more for a management role in a Hotel and that’s where it all began!

After 2 years at college I left to do a 2 year course where I trained in every department for 6/7 months in a different hotel around England.  I did my kitchen training in Cambridge, housekeeping in Egham, bar in Plymouth, restaurant in Torquay, reception in Beaconsfield etc.

It certainly gave me a good grounding not only in moving my life, learning a new skill and meeting new people every 6 months, but also instilled the belief that I wouldn’t ask anyone to do something that I haven’t or wouldn’t do myself!  I also experienced the very different quality of live in accommodation that Hotels provide – some great, some not so great!

My first position was a junior management position at a Hotel in Southampton where I stayed for around 5 years. They were very happy years – we had a great team of people working there and I have made some friends for life.

I was promoted to Deputy Manager and moved to another Hotel in the group in the New Forest where I stayed for another 5 years and it was here that I also met my husband! This was a different Hotel to run and had its challenges but it was still great fun and again have met friends for life.

I don’t think it is a reflection of my work that sadly neither of these Hotels are no longer around! One was demolished and a smart Premier Inn is now in its place and the other is still sadly empty and looking very sad.

We moved to Surrey in 1996 as my husband had been offered a new job. I worked for a while temping in various hospitality roles then found myself a job in a venue finding agency. I thought this was a great move – still keeping my links to the hospitality industry but working hours that meant I could actually arrange things for the weekends!

It was a very busy agency so lots of pressure, but coming from hotels I could handle it. I was promoted to Manager of the events side of the business and worked with a great team. One of my team members was Catherine so we have known each other for many years!

The agency was sold and I decided I didn’t want to relocate or commute every day so left. I spent some time temping as I really wanted to find the right position.

Claire Damamme, who I worked with at the previous agency, introduced me to Lida and here I have stayed for more years that I care to say!

During my time at DeSouza Associates there have been many challenges but Lida has embraced them and I think the team at DeSouza Associates have come out stronger for it.

Business in general has changed so much over the years, in the way we work and the technology we are now using which is for the better. Who would have thought I would have started my working life using a telex machine (how many people can remember those!) and in 2022 I can work remotely as if I was in the office with access to my computer and phone!

I have helped Lida with her medical conferences which has meant that I have had such wonderful opportunities to visit places such Hanoi, Rio, Austin and Washington whilst keeping my hand in running events which is something I still love!

Lida feels very strongly that we must provide a great service to our clients and I truly think we do. We work hard to get the best rates so that our clients return time after time…and they do!

I love the hospitality industry and miss the buzz of working in a Hotel but this job is definitely the next best thing! We get to visit Hotels and venues, experience some fabulous food and meet some great people – what is there not to like!

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