[Mentor Interview] Cat Pengelley, The Nerdy Hotelier, Leisure Sales Manager At MOHG

[Mentor Interview] Cat Pengelley, The Nerdy Hotelier, Leisure Sales Manager At MOHG

We’re passionate about connecting people from all over the industry, at OTOLO. Giving our mentors a chance to share their expertise, and give our members an idea of who they are, what impact they have in the hospitality sector, their career achievements and what they’re looking for in a mentee.

That means, as a member, you know what you’re getting when you connect with a mentor like Cat aka ‘The Nerdy Hotelier’ on Otolo, who started her time as a mentee and was soon vetted as a mentor, for being so approachable and having a huge amount to share. Born and raised in Vancouver, BC, Cat has grown up surrounded by a booming Tourism & Hospitality Industry. She worked for 12 years through all aspects of hospitality and completed a BA in International Hotel Management. Cat is an “energetic, passion-driven, hotel nerd who loves going through the stepping stones of creating a career in the world of hospitality”. We wanted you to get to know Cat a bit better so we asked her a few questions to understand her vision of hospitality…

Why do you think hospitality is a good career choice right now? 

I think it is a great time to start a career in hospitality. Due to the pandemic, there is a need for talented young people to join the industry – this has created a dynamic opportunity to start a role while supporting multiple other departments of your hotel or restaurant at the same time. With this, you have the opportunity to take in a wide range of knowledge, in a fast-paced and quick-thinking environment to kick off your hospitality career. 

What advice would you share with younger people who start a career in Hospitality? 

Working in hospitality is an opportunity that will open the whole world to you. Literally! The industry stretches across the globe, and many hotel companies will provide you with the opportunity to transfer between them. Learn as much as possible, grow through your department and property, and take the opportunities to travel and work abroad where you can. 

What’s your secret to a good career & personal development plan? 

Have goals in mind – but be willing to change them! It’s great to take the time and think about where you want to be in 1 year, 2 years and 5 years. Goals to work towards, roles to strive for and knowledge to take on. However, we always need to remember that plans change, and opportunities come out of nowhere! As long as you are doing what you love, and leaving yourself with no regrets… change your plans, adapt your goals and strive to be the best you. That is my secret to a good career, and continued personal development. 

What did the pandemic teach you about hospitality that you didn’t know? 

That this industry is resilient and full of love for each other. The pandemic made a huge impact on our industry and the colleagues within it, however, I have seen so many people come together to support each other through this tough time. I have seen local restaurants and bars partnering together to share staff. Allowing them to have enough people to run the shifts, but also allowing the staff to put in the hours they need to pay the bills. I have seen hotels and events companies joining hands to dive deep and learn about this new, virtual, world together. Growing from their mutual relationship. I have seen hospitality companies coming together to put on fun and immersive virtual events, to raise funds to support hospitality charities like Hospitality Action and Springboard. All of these examples and so many more have shown me just how much the industry loves its colleagues, and how much the colleagues love this industry. 

How should someone approach you to become your mentee & what makes a great mentee? 

There is no right or wrong way – just send me a message to say hi! Once we get comfortable, what I want to know is what you are passionate about, why you think I could be a good mentor for you, and what your goal is through a mutual relationship. A great mentee for me is passionate, excited, and willing to step out of their comfort zone to achieve their goals. 

What have you learned so far since you joined our OTOLO platform? 

What haven’t I learnt!! I joined in November 2020 and the first thing I did was jump into some mentoring circles. Some in areas that I was familiar with, and some in areas that I knew nothing about. The opportunities to discuss these areas of the industry with such experienced professionals across the globe were amazing. They had so many stories (good and bad) about their experiences in the industry and how that helped them grow into the professionals they are now. I joined as an Otolo Mentor in 2021, and I am so excited to learn how to support the younger generation in the industry. I am still learning, we all are, and Otolo is a great platform to immerse yourself in learning about the industry. 

Anything you do to get ready for work? 

Listen to my favourite playlists on Spotify – Bottomless Brunch and Summer Hits 2022! Pretty sure those are playlists meant for people getting ready for a weekend night out (), but it gets me dancing and moving and I leave the house with a smile! 

What is the best career decision you’ve ever made? 

To move abroad! I mentioned before that the industry provides you with the opportunity to travel, and I am so happy I took the step! It allowed me to fully immerse myself in a culture unknown to me. I have met some amazing people, both colleagues and guests, and it has allowed me to grow my empathy and understanding for others. It took me out of my comfort zone – but it was the best decision I ever made!