It was during her last year of high school that Stacy Manning realized she wanted to work in the hotel industry. “I finished my last year in Europe, which connected me with a cousin who worked in hospitality. He had attended hotel school in London and inspired me to apply to the Hotel and Food program at the University of Guelph,” says Manning, who earned her Bachelor of Commerce in 1991.
Manning has spent most of her working life in resort developments, where she worked for behemoths such as Intrawest, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and O’Neill Hotels & Resorts. These days, the outdoor-loving GM helms the 226-room Westin Trillium House, Blue Mountain, which overlooks the ski hill and is steps away from The Village at Blue Mountain.
Last month both the hotel and the hotelier celebrated their 10th anniversary. “I’ve been with The Westin Trillium House since pre-opening. I still have the pleasure of working alongside 10 other great people who also opened the hotel. It’s our collective baby,” she boasts.
When it comes to managing her team of 130 associates, Manning maintains a casual approach, perfect for running a resort where fun is the name of the game with activities such as skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. “Our largest segment of customers is families and couples coming to enjoy the resort and surrounding area events and activities,” she says. For those attending meetings, the hotel’s 10,000-sq.-ft. conference centre serves as an additional draw.
Manning believes success is about “continually challenging yourself to find empathy.” She’s garnered accolades with an ethos of “working hard, having a strong support network and finding new ways to approach challenges.” And, she adds, “making sure to have a good laugh every day.”
Certainly, being part of an industry that never sleeps is stressful, but Manning copes by “scheduling everything into one calendar regardless of whether it’s business or personal.” In her spare time, she watches her kids ski, play hockey, soccer or basketball.
She also manages to find time to sneak in runs and hikes (and snowshoeing in the winter) up Blue Mountain with her husband and/or dogs. “The Westin brand is focused upon wellness in travel and this aligns perfectly to our active outdoor location. I also do yoga with my friends, which must include a chat and a beer after class.”
Following last year’s multi-million dollar renovation to the resort, which included a redux of its fitness centre and lobby, Manning’s next project is a full-scale renovation of the case goods in the hotel suites, scheduled for next fall. As for the future, having spent the last two decades in ski resorts, “a nice sunny location with a beach has a certain appeal,” she laughs.