Acorn Winner 2006: Joanna Dowell

27 April 2006
Acorn Winner 2006: Joanna Dowell

Joanna Dowell
Age: 27
Position: Director of HR, London Marriott West India Quay

Career to date… Dowell started her career as a front-desk receptionist at the Montcalm hotel in London's Marble Arch during her placement year. After graduating, she became HR administrator for the city's Marriott Grosvenor Square, where she was quickly promoted to HR manager. In 2004, she left to start her current job, where she helped oversee the opening of the London Marriott West India Quay.

Why is she a winner? Dowell became director of human resources for the opening of the five-star hotel when aged only 25 - one of the youngest human resources directors in London, let alone within Marriott.

Responsible for recruiting 200 staff for the hotel's opening, Dowell took the innovative step of arranging for the Docklands Job Centre to screen the applicants to her specifications. It advertised for discipline-specific roles and held discipline-specific hiring days. This allowed the right staff to be chosen for the opening, generating many positive comments from guests - compliments about the staff far exceed compliments about the beautiful property.

Dowell works closely with colleges and schools in all areas of the hotel - she worked with students at the University of East London to develop the staff uniforms. She also works with Kingsford Community College, through the Princes Trust, to build relationships with eight students who have since visited the hotel - one has even applied for a Saturday housekeeping job.

In July last year, Dowell was also recognised with the HCPTA (Hotel & Catering Personnel & Training Association) Rising Star Award.

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