International Hospitality Management graduate Leanne Cheek tells us about her experience
BA (Hons) International Hospitality Management, 2005
UCLan International Hospitality Management graduate, Leanne Cheek, has landed the role of General Manager at Jesmond Dene House, an AA four red star and two Rosette hotel in the North East of England.
Leanne enrolled on the UCLan course having being introduced to hospitality and a teenager by family and friends who worked in the industry. She said: “I knew that this was the career path I wanted to go down but I wanted to have a degree behind me rather than go straight in to the industry on a full time basis.”
Whilst studying at UCLan, Leanne was given the opportunity to undertake her work placement in Shenzhen, China, working for the Holiday Inn as a Front Office Management Trainee. She said: “Having the chance to travel and learn about new cultures was an amazing opportunity for me.”
After graduating, Leanne went to Baltimore, USA, to do start a Graduate Management Programme with Marriott Hotels where she spent a year before returning to the UK and continuing to work for Marriott Hotels as an Assistant Restaurant and Bars Manager in Liverpool.
After a stint with Marriott Hotels, Leanne was offered the position of Assistant General Manager at The Three Fishes pub, which is part of the Ribble Valley Inns group, and took the opportunity to further her management skills in a quality food and beverage outlet. She was promoted in 2009 to General Manager of the newest pub to be opened by the group, The Bull at Broughton near Skipton.
In 2015 Leanne and her husband, who is a chef, decided to move to the North East and open a wedding venue together called Healy Barn, part of the Cripps Barn Group. The venue was very successful and they were awarded Best New Wedding Venue in the UK at the UK Wedding Awards in 2016.
It was in June 2018 that Leanne was offered the position of General Manager at Jesmond Dene House.
Leanne said: “Although at first, this seemed far too big a challenge for me, it was also too good an opportunity to turn down and so I began here in July. The role is really giving me the chance to pull together all my different experiences within the industry.”
When asked if she has any advice to current students and graduates, Leanne said: “All the modules I took as part of my course have helped me along the way and the biggest advice I could give would be to take every opportunity that comes your way. The fact that I have been to China to do my work placement has made a massive difference to my CV, as well as how much I learnt as a result. I often have staff who are somewhat worried about telling me that they want to go travelling for a few months/complete a ski season etc. but I always say grab every chance you can!”