Dressed to Slay and Here to Stay
Every morning, Nov Meansambo routinely wakes up at 4 am, prepares a hot espresso, and starts her workout routine. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle while establishing herself as a career woman, has recently become Nov’s goal as she enters her 40s. Armed with a perfect ensemble of tailored outfits and careful makeup, Nov represents the modern cosmopolitan woman and an iconic figure in Thalias Hospitality as its General Manager.
Born in Phnom Penh, Nov has spent much time in Siem Reap and has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Nov has been working with Thalias for 5 years after starting out as General Manager at Khema La Poste and then was transferred into management over the restaurant, Malis, for 2 years.
She learned early at a young age that she had to work hard to get far in life. She recalls the responsibility she bore as a child, waking at sunrise to prepare meals for taxi drivers and vendors in front of Phsar Depo Market as part of her family duties. Her upbringing for community and family has followed her to adulthood, as she would often spend her free time donating blood to the local children’s hospital or reading to the local school children.
“Never put boundary to yourself no matter where you came from,” Nov advised. “Regardless of how bad(suffering) of your past —you will get through it when you put your heart into what you do.” Nov is not only is fluent in English and Japanese as well as her native tongue, Khmer; but she has also made it her goal to travel as much as she can. She has visited Japan 7 times for business. “I would love to bring my parents to see Cherry Blossom when Japan opens its doors after Covid,“ Nov confined.
The earlier days of the pandemic travel restrictions pushed her to put her responsibilities into overdrive. “I did come to work every day regardless,” Nov said grimly. “I keep motivating my team despite the difficult time.” Nov donated to families who were struck hard by the pandemic, supporting her staff and managing the team during health emergencies and difficulties with the availability of supplies.
Fearing burnout, Nov tries to keep her life balanced with physical activities, watching movies and cooking shows on Netflix and daydreaming of travelling.
Loyalty and Commitment — to the Job
After two decades in the hospitality industry, Nov feels at home with Thalias. “ Thalias has been always empowering each and every women team member,” Nov stated. “Especially (by) the strong motivation to women, showing and guiding us (in) how to build self-confidence and the capability to grow stronger and bolder by keeping sharing and training us in skills, knowledges and life experiences.”
Nov explained that there are good opportunities for women to pursue a career in hospitality, with the soft skills of human interactions, being professional, and having a strong commitment to the job.
Although she has faced some challenges based on her gender along the way, her commitment to her job and career has given her the strength to overcome any obstacle. Some of the best tips she can offer are to invest in teamwork, to pursue the commitment to the job, and that there are no shortcuts to success.
“Team work is the most valuable asset and in treating them as the first customers,” Nov advised. “The more you share in knowledge and skills, the better they are. So we have a strong team to grow and succeed altogether.”
“Hospitality is one of the most fragile service industries, yet it provides lots of opportunities and challenges to grow,” she added. “Perseverance always pays and never give up. A difficult road often leads to a beautiful destination.”
Thirdly, “never underestimate the thickness of iceberg, what we can see just a small top, which means we can see other people’s success easily,” Nov pointed out. “But we don’t know how much effort, hard works, stresses, commitment, persistence, failure, sacrifice that (the person) puts in order to achieve their goal.”
Written by Sotheavy Nou