Nino Ridlington's story
In 2002, the situation in Georgia was difficult, so my childhood friend and I decided to come to the UK for a year to earn and save some money and then return to Georgia. I was a Doctor Pathologist and my Head Doctor at the hospital where I worked, recruited someone to fill the position for a year. But everything turned out differently,- in 2004 Accor did a tremendous thing for me and sponsored my Work Permit and almost 22 years later I am still living and working in the UK!
In Georgia, while studying at the University, I worked night shifts at the Hospital, examining blood tests under a microscope. Initially, I missed my job and my colleagues. I studied for seven years for my job as a Pathologist. I did try to pursue my medical career in the UK; I had my certificates sent to Naric UK. But in the end, I decided to stay here in hospitality. I loved the industry from the beginning and was transformed by that. When I do something, I don’t just tick boxes, I give it my all.
The sector offers numerous opportunities – you can start from scratch and still reach very high levels of performance, positions and responsibility if you are really passionate about it. I’ve learned Food & Beverage and now I am doing Human Resources; I have acquired a lot of knowledge and skills.
You meet many people from diverse cultures, and you are customer facing. One of the best things about hospitality is that you are with people all the time and that has an impact on you as a person, you develop and then achieve your ambitions.
I started in Food & Beverage at the Novotel London Hammersmith. Two years later, I was transferred to Novotel London ExCel. I consistently earned recognition until I became a Food & Beverage Manager at Novotel London Greenwich. Initially, my goal was to become a General Manager but in 2015, when I gave birth to my second Daughter, I reviewed my career path to ensure it aligned with my needs because I wanted a balance between my family and my career, so I decided to focus on HR. I love people, so when I was considering how I might stay in hospitality, I thought that seemed perfect.
During my succession plan review, I presented my career plans to my General Manager and in 2021, I was given this great opportunity for which I am incredibly thankful. My experience at Accor is a great illustration of how you can gain great breadth of knowledge.
I say I am Married to Accor because I have not been employed by any other company since I have been in the UK; I have never wanted to. I’m very happy working for Novotel and Ibis London Greenwich. Additionally, I have started studying in CIPD for Professional Development qualifications, which will further develop my career with Accor.
My proudest moments are twofold. Seeing my children succeed is rewarding, and at the same time, I am proud to see how I have progressed since I arrived in the country – I have been promoted many times and every one of those achievements was a proud moment.
A Heartist shows a great sense of passion, expresses genuine emotions and engages with guests and colleagues with sincerity; this is not acting, it has to come from the heart.
When I am onboarding and training new people, I tell them my story – and it is not just mine, lots of people in hospitality have great stories. Nowadays we look for a job because we need an income but I tell people, don’t just see your job – or any job – as just a means of earning money to enjoy life, see it as an opportunity to learn a lot because there are not many industries where you can do that. There will be exceptional moments that allow you to develop and you will be able to look back and say, 10 years ago I was there and now look where I am!
- Nino Ridlington
- Talent & Culture Manager
- Novotel & ibis London Greenwich (United Kingdom)