Young and ambitious are probably the right words to describe Jessica Venly, the owner of Fairfield by Marriott Belitung, which opened just recently. At the tender age of 25, Jessica has managed to build an international-class hotel in Belitung. The beautiful lady, who attended her higher education in Singapore and Australia, is also smart—she holds Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business Administration degrees from Curtin University. Here, she shares exclusively with Indonesia Tatler how she managed to complete her first-ever hotel property project and the challenges she faces.
Could you tell us how you ended up managing such a large-scale project?
When I finished my bachelor’s degree back in 2016, being a risk-taker, I told my father: “You gave me such a high education, and it is not cheap to pay for my tuition. You need to give me something, so I can show you what you are spending is worth it.” He did not say anything at first, but after a while, he told me, “I am going to open a new property development company for you.” After I did my research, I said: “I am going to build a hotel in Belitung.”
In the beginning, my father guided me, and he let me choose which hotel operator I wanted to work with. I met with several people, and I decided to choose Marriott. He told me: “You do whatever it takes—I just want to know that the hotel can be opened as soon as possible.” It is a huge responsibility and I have to make decisions for everything, but I am proud to say that I can finish my first project in less than two years. I am also very proud of my team.
Belitung’s tourism is really growing. I saw the opportunity and I grabbed it. I want to put Belitung Island on the map.
What is your typical day?
I managed this project over the course of my MBA degree. Aside from doing assignments, my typical day consisted of answering non-stop calls on my cellphone, catching flights to Jakarta, Belitung, Singapore, and Hong Kong to conduct meetings with the Marriott team, and checking the construction site. I have to sacrifice my social life, but in the end, it is worth it.
What is the biggest challenge you face with the project?
That would be handling and managing people.
What do you enjoy most about managing this project?
Problems! This might be weird, but I enjoy facing all the last-minute problems. It means there is something that I have to improve, and I must find a solution. It allows me to understand and see through people’s characters. It is part of the learning process, which never stops.
What is your key to success?
You have to have a good character and attitude. Be polite and respectful to everyone.
This story appears in our April 2018 issue, grab yours or subscribe here