Year 2020
March 2020
07 March 2020

Meet the Team: Joanna Cheng, Catering Sales Manager

The original article was published on the Jan-Feb’19 issue of Longitude, ONE°15 Marina’s Club magazine. Read it here.

LONGITUDE: Hi Joanna! Please tell us about your typical day here at ONE°15 Marina.

CATERING SALES MANAGER JOANNA CHENG (JC): My typical day starts at 9am and ends whenever I am done! I handle all the enquiries for social events, whether it is a wedding, buffet or corporate occasion. Our busiest time of the year is usually pre-Christmas, although honestly, things are never quiet! We typically run two events every weekend, from Friday to Sunday, so no sooner has one celebration ended than we are working on the next. Most of my time is spent liaising with vendors, organising the catering, music and flowers, and making sure everything is ordered on time and nothing is forgotten.

Which specific parts of your job do you particularly enjoy?
The best part of my job is getting to know our clients and helping them to create special memories. Most of the events we host are solemnisations or weddings, and quite often I meet the couple a year before their big day. This means we get to know one another very well, especially as we are discussing each and every element of an incredibly personal occasion. As we get closer to the event, I might meet our clients once or even twice a week. They would naturally feel more excited but also more nervous about what lies ahead, so I get to learn about how to reassure them, what helps them to feel relaxed, and how best to ensure that they enjoy the day of their dreams.

On the other hand, what are some of the challenges you usually face, and how do you overcome them?
Whether it is a wedding or a corporate dinner, our clients do care a great deal about the event they are hosting with us. This can sometimes lead to frayed emotions, particularly if there are any unforeseen mishaps. Managing disappointments or misunderstandings is always difficult, but I find that being sincere, and finding a solution quickly, can smooth things out. Having a good dialogue with each of the teams involved in an event also means that hiccups can be avoided—speaking to the caterers, florists, musicians to make sure that they are all up to expectations.

You recently won a Gold National Kindness Award for notable services to our Members. How important is kindness in the workplace to you?
I think kindness is important no matter where you are. One of the things I love the most about my job is that everybody gets along really well here at the Club. There was a lot of politics in my previous job for a big hotel chain, but that isn’t the case here. Knowing that you have kind colleagues who are also friends makes coming to work so much more enjoyable.

What skills do you think are crucial to being a good Assistant Catering Sales Manager?
You have to be organised. With so many events taking place at the same time, all the time, it is important to be able to work across several projects at once without letting any client down. Prioritising is essential as during peak season, it can get really difficult to know what to do first or who needs the most urgent attention. Communication is also key, whether it is between teams or with the client. By being open and sincere with your clients, you build trust, which is invaluable in making their event a success.