HOTELIER AWARDS 2012: Fitness finalists named

Nominees from IHG, Kempinski and Fairmont make sporty shortlist

Ryan Bertrum Gelderbloem.
Ryan Bertrum Gelderbloem.
Franklin Kiamco.
Franklin Kiamco.
Agnelo Banji.
Agnelo Banji.
Manmohan Singh.
Manmohan Singh.
Joseph Najm.
Joseph Najm.

These five finalists will compete for the Fitness Person of the Year 2012 in the Hotelier Middle East Awards to be held on October 31 at The Ritz-Carlton DIFC.

Below you will find extracts and testimonials from the shortlisted nominations for each of the five candidates...


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Ryan Bertrum Gelderbloem, InterContinental Regency Hotel Bahrain

About Ryan
Ryan Gelderbloem hails from Port Elizabeth in South Africa. His tertiary education was on pursuing a Diploma Program in Sports Management and Physical Recreation from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth but was not able to complete this due to financial strains. However, Ryan is determined to succeed against all odds so with his own initiatives, he managed to obtain Kinesis Certification and also achieved being a Certified Fitness Trainer with International Sport Science Association (ISSA), an American Sports Institute. He also completed a Strength and Conditioning Certificate, through American Fitness Professional Association (ASFA), Group Exercise Leadership (GEL) Course TRX Suspension Training Certificate both through Mefitpro in the Middle East. In his younger years, Ryan has been nominated as Sportsman of the Year during his Alexandria High School Years and was nominated for the same during his stint with Rhodes University. He achieved Full Colour for Karate, a Black Belt Instructor, part of the South African Goju Kai Colour National team and had represented the country to the International World Karate Tournament in India, where the team won Gold and silver awards. Among his other sports activities earlier on included being Vice Captain for Rugby team, Captain for Tennis Team, and Captain for Cricket Team. He had previously worked in gyms and universities in South Africa. For his career progression, he moved to Bahrain in 2007 when he joined the Pre Opening Team of Banyan Tree Dessert Spa & Resort, then later joined the InterContinental Regency Bahrain as Gym Instructor in 2009 and was later promoted in 2011 as Recreation Supervisor cum Gym Instructor / Personal Trainer.

Above and beyond the call of duty…
Ryan is a person who works hard for the success of his department. He creates energetic Fitness Menu classes and able to deliver both group and personal training sessions with the clientele. These actions had greatly generated revenue for the Health Club team, enabling them to achieve their monthly targets month after month, even during the period of economic downturn. Ryan’s vigilance and dependability was highly lauded by the InterContinental Regency Bahrain and the Corporate IHG headquarters when he saved a child from drowning in the Kid’s Pool of the Hotel in May 2011. His efficiency, quick action and readiness for emergency had not only saved the little girl’s life but also the lives of her family from distress. This was a very courageous act which gained him recognition not only from the Hotel but also from the society. Ryan, who has the natural charisma for the members is equally enamored with his passion for his Colleagues, the people who works with him in the Team. He ensures that each of the Gym attendants is also professionally developed as himself. He spends his spare time coaching them on how to do gym activities, physical assessments, etc. Ryan is a go getter, capitalising on his greatest assets - his passion and drive, doing the right thing with the Winning Ways values, he makes things happen and see to it that it happens right and successful.

Testimonials for Ryan
“Ryan is definitively an asset to the organisation. He passionately loves his work and is equally concern on the well being of his colleagues. He leads the Colleagues Sports & Recreation Committee where he keeps the whole hotel team engaged with all year round sports tournaments, recreation and health activities. His organization and team collaboration is simply amazing. The team adores his humility as well”. Mohammed Sanad, director of human resources, InterContinental Regency Bahrain

“Ryan is very active and supportive in the team. He does his tasks even without being told and works without supervision. He always shows a great interest to make his work tasks better on daily basis.”
Lolita Sarengo assistant health club manager, InterContinental Regency Health Club - Bahrain

Franklin Kiamco, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates

About Franklin
Franklin Kiamco joined Kempinski Hotel Mall of Emirates in August 2009 in the position of Health Club Supervisor and Fitness Instructor and was promoted to Health Club Manager in August 2011. Prior to joining Kempinski, Franklin worked as a Health Club Supervisor and Fitness Instructor for Arabian Courtyard Hotel and Spa in Dubai and earlier on in his career he was the Operations Manager for D’GYM in Cavite, Philippines. As Health Club Manager, Franklin is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the K Wellness Health Club at the hotel and manages a team of seven fitness professionals. As part of his managerial duties he takes care of the staff schedules in order to maximise productivity and minimize payroll costs. In addition he is responsible for the promotion of the programs and services offered by the club, provides fitness instruction and dietary guidance to club members and ensures they adhere to their fitness regimes, all whilst maintaining the highest health and safety standards. Franklin is a certified Fitness Trainer by the International Sports Science Association (ISSA) UAE, he holds the Central YMCA Qualification, and is a trained Lifeguard, First Aid and CPR provider, certified by the American Red Cross. He is a member of the Association of Fitness Professionals of the Philippines (AFPP), the Philippine Bodybuilder’s Association, Inc (PBBA) and the Bouncer Association of the Philippines, and is trained in self-defense, sports conditioning and core conditioning principles, dietary consultancy, body composition analysis and body building principles.

Above and beyond the call of duty
Franklin Kiamco is the perfect example of someone who leads by example. The following are a few examples on how he excels in his role. His adherence to high quality standards enables him to achieve and maintain a 95.5 percentile score on the quality standards as per the Leading Quality Assurance audit done at the hotel last May 2012. He was also named ‘Best Team Leader 2011’ at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates based on his outstanding performance. Franklin has successfully increased memberships at the Hotel’s Health Club by 20% through creative up selling and customer loyalty, which has led to a direct increase in Health Club revenues. He has also led the initiative to increase the Health Club’s service offering and launched swimming lessons at the hotel’s pool through certification of one of his lifeguards by the American Swimming Coach Academy. Franklin puts his training as a lifesaver and fitness instructor to use in ways that go far beyond his official duties and responsibilities. For example, Franklin has organized the ‘Inter-Hotel Fun Games – The Ultimate Fitness Challenge’ for the past two years, which involved employees from 15 hotels in Dubai. This Fitness Challenge features competitions in different fitness skills including box jumping, shuttle runs, push ups and obstacle courses. With the support of the Dubai HR Network, he will also be organizing this year’s challenge, which is due to take place after the summer. Franklin is also the go-to guru for all staff at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates who often consult him on issues relating to fitness and health. He provides advice and guidance on a range of topics from daily fitness and basic nutrition to vitamin & mineral supplementation and strengthening exercises, particularly focused on employees that are involved in tasks that require physical exertion, heavy lifting or the stamina to work long hours. In addition to his daily duties and managerial responsibilities, Franklin is heavily involved in staff training and conducts regular training sessions for Health Club staff to enable them to perform according to the highest standards of hygiene and safety and to offer superior customer service. As a professional lifeguard certified by the American Red Cross and a trained CPR provider, Franklin supports the swimming pool staff in the absence of regular lifeguards and during busy hours, offering additional support and immediate care at the swimming pool area. Franklin’s professional first-aid and CPR training enables him to treat minor cuts and bruises or sudden illnesses among guests whenever the need arises and he conducts refresher training courses for the hotel’s lifeguards and gym instructors every six months.

Testimonials for Franklin
“Franklin’s proactive attitude – with regard to all his professional duties and responsibilities ‒ have led him not only to meet all the targets for 2010, but exceed them. In addition to pushing himself to perform, he is a great team motivator which enables him to elevate the performance of all the people he works with on a daily basis.” Steffen Eisermann

“Despite the fact that performing life-guard duties falls beyond the scope of his job, Franklin is always ready to lend a hand whenever we need the extra help. His lifeguard training and quick instincts make him particularly helpful in supervising kids at the pool during busy periods.” Senior lifeguard Paul Raj Stanislaus – Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates

“Franklin’s proactive attitude in all his professional duties and responsibilities, led him to not only meet all targets for 2011, but to exceed them. In addition to pushing himself to perform, he is a great team motivator which enables him to elevate the performance of all the people he works with on a daily basis.” Matyas Bak , front office manager Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates.

Agnelo Banji, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

About Agnelo
Agnelo Banji is a certified fitness, personal and aerobics trainer from Talwalkars Fitness Academy, as well as a certified personal trainer with K11 Fitness academy, and a certified Pilates fitness trainer from BFY-Progressive Fitness, UK. He started his career in 2003 in his native city of Mumbai (India) as a fitness instructor at the Matunga Gymkhana (gymnasium and social club). Two years later he moved to Dubai and joined the One and Only Royal Miraj Hotel as fitness instructor and was subsequently promoted in 2006 as senior fitness instructor. In 2008, he became the head fitness instructor as well as handling the spa reception. He joined Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in January 2010 as the health club’s fitness instructor. One year later he was promoted to senior fitness instructor and a year after that he became fitness manager, as a result of his exceptional performance and results driven approach to fitness and training.

Above and beyond the call of duty
As someone who grew up in a family that was prone to obesity and type 2 diabetes, Agnelo professes to have always been on the chubbier side growing up. At the age of 18, he realised that he would have to make a lifestyle change and devoted himself towards the study of health and fitness. Seeing himself as not only part of one department – the health club – but contributing to the overall success of the hotel, Agnelo demonstrates his drive and passion for the brand in assisting other departments. In Fall 2011, the hotel welcomes the Nirvana (teachers association) group to the hotel, effectively filling up the entire hotel and restaurants. Due to some scheduling challenges, not enough colleagues were available to assist with the groups’ arrival and check-in. Agnelo immediately volunteered his help and in addition to training clients and overseeing the health club, he also donned a bell person’s uniform and welcomed members of Nirvana to the hotel for three full days, as well as checking-in 24 guests and showing them to their rooms. Moreover, as part of the hotel’s green team, Agnelo takes the charge in for all environmental measures taken in the Health Club, from conducting a full energy and recycling audit for his department to volunteering his time for community outreach initiatives, including the Abu Dhabi Terry Fox Run and the Clean up the World campaign. This past Eid, as the hotel geared up for a busy season of families coming to stay and enjoy the facilities, including a specialty constructed children’s activity centre, there was a challenge in staffing the centre with child friendly colleagues. Although he was slated to take a short holiday during this time, Agnelo volunteered to assist and guide children and their families through a series of activities, including an interactive and fun series of exercises and games.

Testimonials for Agnelo
“Agnelo is a true ambassador for Fairmont as he constantly turns moments into memories for anyone who steps into the gym, and puts in any amount of time needed to ensure that his guests are happy and he always has a smile on his face and is eager to share his knowledge with others. Keep up the good work Agnelo.” Tristan MacLaggen food & beverage manager, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr.

“Once again Agnelo has taken the initiative and has shown passion when arranging and running the Kids Club during Eid. His dedication and hard work paid off and it was a complete success. He’s not just hard working, but also a unique and engaging character when working in the Health Club. He’s well respected within the team and he’s doing a great job looking after everyone while Tamer is on vacation. Guests love him and we are all very happy and proud to have him as part of the team. Keep fit my friend.” Bernd Pichler, guest services manager, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

Manmohan Singh,Holiday Inn Dubai - Al Barsha

About Manmohan
Manmohan hails from Punjab in India where at a young age of 17, he joined the India Navy working for 10 years as a leading aircraft mechanic. Upon leaving the Indian Navy in 2003 he worked with his family running a farm as well as a workshop for agriculture equipment. Opportunity knocked when Manmohan moved to Dubai in 2007 as a security officer at the Dubai Marine which after one year gave rise to an opportunity to be sent for training and certification as a life guard and then employment in the same position. . The newly opened, Holiday Inn Dubai Al Barsha in August 2009 gave rise to a position as a pool attendant/life guard, fulfilling his ambition in working in swimming. By March 2011, Manmohan had been promoted to Health Club supervisor overseeing both the state of the art gymnasium and the pool, and being in charge of a team. His promotion was based on his great performance over the 8 months of his employment, his dedication towards the organization and his reliability. Commendations by hotel guests and recognition on the Social Media are proof of his attributes. In fact today, various gym members renew their membership, and keep returning to use our services only because of the rapport that Manmohan has built in understanding the members’ needs and wants. In 2012 Manmohan attended Personal Trainer course and despite of all challenges Manmohan was able not to just pas the assessment but achieved 94% marks. With the certification hotel has now offers personal training session to the valued customers.

Above and beyond the call of duty
Despite of the challenging economic situation, difficult to please guests, Manmohan was just not able to retain difficult built client base, but was able to increase gym membership by 20%. For 2012 Health Club revenue stands 27% over the high set targets. This was not by achieved by accident; Manmohan added the value of offering personal training sessions, offered swimming classes for members and children, and has been instrumental in designing the promotions along with the marketing department. He personally distributes flyers within the hotel local area with the help of his team; maintains excellent service and relations with the existing members and built on the existing customer base as repeat members offering specific individual training advice to each member. Manmohan, on his own initiative keeps visiting the competition and convinced the management to add few heavy exercise equipments for the gym which has became the Unique Selling Point (USP) of our Health Club and gives him confidence to sell and talk about the service which makes us different from the market. He also attended Arabic classes from his own initiative and account to assist Arabic guests with their queries. Manmohan also took the responsibility to put more structure within the department, improve the communication within the team and set targets for each employees of the health club. Being role model, Manmohan has worked extra hours and split shift on his own initiative to make sure the level of service to the members and hotel guests using the gym was maintained to its highest level. Manmohan just not is external customer focused but came up with great idea to offer swimming lessons for colleagues in support of Hotel Go4Gold Endeavour which was aimed at working towards healthy body and healthy mind of our colleagues. He did extra hours and offered swimming classes for colleagues in non-guest hours. 4 of our colleagues who have never been able to go inside the pool now can swim with confidence.

Testimonials for Manmohan
“Manmohan was asked by the owners to bring back health club memberships at 100 and he did it with the help of his team . He just not did it himself but involved his team members to achieve this goal.” Salima Hussaini, HR director.

“Manmohan is passionate about his job, he is extremely polite and honest.” Amerudin, F&B colleague.

Joseph Najm, Crowne Plaza Resort Salalah

About Joseph
Joseph Najm is nothing but a man full of passion and dedication for work. His career success has started when he joined Ramage Co. as a Salesman in September 2002-May 2004. Joseph already exhibited certain traits that set him apart from the rest of his colleagues. Late in 2004, he joined Intercontinental Mzaar Lebanon as a Lifeguard where he demonstrated his abilities and skills to excel better. As a certified therapist, he decided to take a change in his career journey, when he took the physical therapist role for the sporting delegation of the Saint Joseph University in Italy and later in 2007 up to 2009, as a physical therapist in a Physio Polyclinic in Lebanon. With his determination and hard-work, he paved his way as a SPA Supervisor in 2010 at Le Royal Hotel, Lebanon. Joseph was able to share bright ideas which contribute to the revenue generation of the hotel. In January 2010, as an affirmation of his love for physiotherapy, he founded his own physiotherapy and fitness clinic. However, a call for a more challenging career brought him to Crowne Plaza Resort Salalah when he joined the property as a Recreation Manager in 2011. Within the 09 months handling the role, his department experienced extensive changes with his initiatives introduced and implemented.

Above and beyond the call of duty
It has been almost a year since the Recreation Department was left hanging, without a manager to directly guide and oversee the operation. Guests and members come and go with what is used to being offered. But somehow, there comes a time that people seek a new and a fresher form of leisure and activities. And Crowne Plaza Resort Salalah has to come up with someone who has an up-to-date knowledge and capable in handling these aspects of business. Joseph has been the key factor in bringing the necessary changes needed in the Recreation Department. He has been very adept to focus on the areas which need certain aspect of attention. He is an efficient manager, who looks after the morale of his colleagues. Joseph has able to transform the image of his department so as to reflect wellness, grooming and fitness that basically his department stands for. And that’s what Joseph tries to picture out with the implementation of the new Health Club uniform which changes how we see our Health Club colleagues in their sporty and pleasant outfit! Joseph was able to introduce numbers of initiatives which are of great help on the improvement of our services. Starting of which, the replacement of the old health club membership cards with the new ones of better quality and which reflects Crowne Plaza brand standards. He is also engaged in looking for an alternative recreational facility in our golf course to boost our revenue and would make Crowne Plaza Resort Salalah as the tourists’ choice of vacation. If his plan will be materialized, CP Salalah will be the first one to have an Aqua Park in whole Oman! Aside from that he is also conceptualising a SPA project in one of villa which is a very good revenue-generating idea. Joseph is a manager who is willing to lend a helping hand. Although his department is always in a busy operation every day, he still managed to send one of his colleagues for a task force in one of our sister hotel as they were short-staffed in their department. With that, basically Joseph has to do an on-floor involvement with the operation even if it means extra working hours for him and not a single word of complaint was heard from him.

Testimonials for Joseph
“On a colleague perspective, Joseph is a hard-working manager. He is clear in setting the objectives of the department and he is passionate with his job as to drive results for the visions that he has established. He is modest and respectful no matter of what is your position or culture. Joseph is a calm, out-going and down-to-earth manager and I’ll always look up to him with utmost respect.” Cecilia Eugenio, health club receptionist.

“Joseph has done an excellent change in the existing operations of his department. He is able to contribute valuable ideas that focus on the profitability of the hotel. He collaborates well with the management team and with the rest of the colleagues. He is a task-oriented person whose drive for getting the job well- done is limitless.” Mathew Oommen, finance and business support manager.


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