She’s courageous, she’s strong, she’s resilient and confident and her story is an inspiring testament to her dedication and hard work to break all norms and end all stereotypes. Not only she has reached greater height in her journey, but she has encouraged everyone around her to do so. With her strength and voice, she advocates for change and equality within her community, and she plays multiple roles from being a mother, to a sister to a friend to a leader, all while empowering those around her.
In celebration of this International Women’s Day, we spoke to several iconic women in each of our properties in the Maldives to find out what makes heroic women of Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts in the Maldives so special and powerful, that every guest would feel their presence and every cuisine would taste of their affection and care.
Shiela Marie – Front Office Manager – Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives
Shiela, a multitalented, multifaceted personality with a strong ambition to succeed especially during challenging circumstances has paved way for all women around her. Having started her career as an intern in a local cruise ship in Philippines, Sheila completed multiple training programmes including firefighting and health and safety trainings where she gained much strength to face life and its challenges. Having completed her internship, she started her career in hospitality as a receptionist and upon realising the beauty of hospitality, she was motivated to climb the ladder. Having obtained exposure in every key function of a hotel, she joined Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives as a Guest Relations Executive in 2014. During her tenure as a Guest Relations Executive, she mastered the art of hospitality and service excellence.
Having faced multiple challenges, today, Shiela is the Front Office Manager of Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives and heads her own team. Having started her career from the bottom and climbing the corporate ladder one rung at a time, overcoming multiple hurdles, Shiela has surely set a great example to all women around her. Her advice is simple, and that is to be courageous and ambitious and to enjoy the journey, no matter what comes in your way. According to Shiela, ‘experience’ is the best teacher in life, and hence it is important to believe in yourself and follow your instincts and stay focused on what matters to you the most.
Fareedha Abdul Kareen – Staff Cook – Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives
Her smile is sincere, and her story is truly inspiring. To a regular visitor, Fareedha’s warm smile might be a familiar sight. Hailing from the local village Huraa, Fareeda is a mother of 6 and enjoys the love and affection of her 11 grandchildren. Having joined Cinnamon Dhonveli Maldives as an Island Cleaner, Fareeda followed her dream of becoming a cook and for her dedicated and hard work she was subsequently promoted as Staff Cook.
Fareeda’s day begins at 4 AM and her first task of the day is to prepare a meal for her husband, a Dhoni Captain. She then visits her grandchildren and takes the ferry to work at 6 AM. Fareeda’s main job responsibility is to prepare all three meals for over 150 staff members at the resort. She finds the job challenging but she enjoys every single moment of it.
Having lived her life for 52 years, Fareeda sees life as a continuation of a story with multiple chapters. She inspires her team with her own stories and life examples and her only advice is to keep going forward no matter what comes in the way and to never lose focus on the ultimate goal.
Sanju Ranamagar – Commis Chef – Cinnamon Velifushi Maldives
Courageous, dedicated, and well-focused, she’s not only a superstar in the kitchen at Cinnamon Velifushi Maldives, but also a true champion. Sanju has won multiple culinary competitions including the Bronze Medal at the Food and Hospitality Asia Maldives (FHAM) competition and Hotel Asia 2022. With an ambition to break the norm and challenge herself, Sanju began her career in 2012 as a housekeeping crew member. Having experienced different functions and operations, she immediately fell in love with culinary and paved her way to become a culinary artist. Having gained exposure in Dubai as a Commis Chef and she then joined Cinnamon Velifushi Maldives where she embarked on a remarkable culinary journey.
According to Sanju, a chef must be both physically as well as mentally fit in order to stay focused and to produce a great cuisine of flavor and love. Sanju is determined to challenge the status quo with her dedication and hard work and her advice is to keep doing what’s right and what makes you truly happy while striving to do the impossible and never limit yourself to please society or those around you.
Lalrem Rauti – Demi Chef De Partie – Cinnamon Velifushi Maldives
Having started her career in hospitality a decade ago, Lalrem is true super star in the kitchen at Cinnamon Velifushi Maldives. Being born and raised in Burma, Myanmar, Lalrem’s only dream was to become a well-known chef, a household name in the culinary world. Overcoming a number of hurdles, Lalrem was able to obtain exposure in Dubai and Qatar as a Commis Chef and subsequently joined Cinnamon Velifushi Maldives as a Kitchen Supervisor.
Being the head of a talented team of culinary artists, Lalrem finds it a true blessing to produce a number of dishes daily. She has introduced several processes to enhance efficiency and smoothen the flow of operations. Lalrem has claimed several titles including the Champion title of Food and Hospitality Asia Maldives 2022.
Lalrem sees every challenge as an opportunity and her only advice is to grab every opportunity without hesitation. According to Lalrem, every woman holds great power and strength and there’s nothing a woman cannot achieve if she remains focused and dedicated.
Naw Margaret – Bar Waitress – Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon
Having developed a passion for hospitality at a young age, Margaret was ambitious to join a leading hospitality brand. Having started her career as a Restaurant Captain, Margaret kept learning about the different functions and roles in hospitality and developed a passion for mixology. Having started her with Cinnamon in 2021 as a Restaurant Waitress and taking over as a Bar Waitress, today, Margaret is pursuing her dream of becoming a leading mixologist.
Margaret’s main focus in life is to build her career and to provide for her family in Myanmar. Her advice to her colleagues, peers and friends is to stay focused on the goals and to aspire to achieve the impossible. According to Margaret, being a woman is the biggest blessing in life as women as strong, powerful, and confident and there’s nothing a woman could achieve if she remains focused on her goals.
Salwa Ali – Engineering Clerk – Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa Maldives
She challenged herself to do the impossible and today, due to her dedication and hard work, she has become an iconic personality in the resort. Having started her career as a Cashier, Salwa joined Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa Maldives as an Engineering Clerk. Having obtained training and exposure, Salwa identified her true potential and accepted a number of challenges to prove herself. Being self-motivated has helped Salwa to achieve great milestones in her journey and looking back, she stands with much pride of her achievements.
Her advice is to accept every challenge, every feedback, and every hurdle in life with a gracious smile as there’s nothing a woman could achieve in this world.
Asima Abdul Rahaman – Laundry Attendant – Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa Maldives
Having joined Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa Maldives in 2005, Asima has immensely contributed to a smooth flow of operations in her unit. Having faced a number of challenges, Asima is motivated to achieve her set targets and goals in life. She believes in the power of words and how words can help in uplifting and motivating her colleagues to achieve great milestones in their journey.
Her advice is simple yet powerful. According to Asima, the foundation for a successful career is work ethics and self-discipline. With these two combined, women surely can achieve their targets in life while setting a great example to everyone around them.
Aishatha Humaiza – Receptionist – Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa Maldives
Having joined Cinnamon Hakuraa Huraa Maldives over a decade ago, with much confidence and courage Aishatha has yielded results of her commitment and dedication and has celebrated many a milestone in her journey. According to Aishatha, a key aspect of being a receptionist is ensuring every single guest is well taken care of from the moment they reach the resort and in order to do so, one should be both physically and mentally prepared. To Aishatha, being a woman is her greatest weapon as women are fearless and nothing can be compared to a woman with a strong mind and brave smile.
Aishatha’s advice to her colleagues is to focus on all the positive aspects of life and to accept challenges as opportunities while embracing your inner confidence.
With consistent and focused efforts to advance empowerment, diversity, equality and inclusion, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts remain committed to pave way for women to identify their true potential and reach greater heights in their journey. Cinnamon, as a brand will continue to uplift women and help them write their own stories of boldness, courage, and strength.