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Would You Like Coffee With That Medal?

22 July 2008

Would You Like Coffee With That Medal?

In just one week, one lucky Accor employee will be donning the official New Zealand Olympic Team uniform – but not as an athlete.

Julianne Frith's talents lie elsewhere – the 21 year old is an official member of the New Zealand Olympic Support Team in Beijing next month, after being chosen for the job of a lifetime last month thanks to her barista skills and bubbly personality.

Accor is a principal sponsor of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, helping to get our Olympians to Beijing in August. To mark the occasion, Accor employees throughout New Zealand were invited to apply for a very unique role – spending a month in Beijing as part of the New Zealand support crew.

Julianne, Food & Beverage Supervisor at Novotel Auckland Ellerslie & Hotel Ibis Ellerslie, is thrilled to be embarking on such an amazing experience. She will work daily in the Athlete's Village as a barista to athletes, support staff and visitors – possibly making up to 500 cups of coffee a day.

"Now that it's getting so close I am getting a bit nervous but this is an incredible opportunity to do something completely unique, and it will be an experience I know I'll remember forever," says Julianne.

"I'm looking forward to a new challenge in a completely different environment – I think it's important to step out of your comfort zone sometimes."

After meeting all the strict eligibility criteria and with recommendations from her General Manager and other senior staff, Julianne was among four finalists from Accor hotels throughout New Zealand who were interviewed by a New Zealand Olympic Committee panel that included previous Kiwi Olympians Hamish Carter and Robyn Wong, Commonwealth Games competitor Dallas Seymour and Chef de Mission Dave Currie. Robyn and Dallas are also part of the athlete support team.

Following the interview, which included a chance to demonstrate her extensive barista skills, Julianne was selected as in ideal ambassador to represent Accor and New Zealand.

Julianne says the new 'job' will undoubtedly be a chance to grow both professionally and personally and she is excited to be working in the athlete's village and supporting some of the New Zealand Olympians.

Julianne has worked for Novotel Auckland Ellerslie & Hotel Ibis Ellerslie for more than two years, starting as a Food & Beverage Attendant and being promoted twice before taking on her current role as Food & Beverage Supervisor, in which she is responsible for the training and development of the Food & Beverage Team and the supervision of eight staff. She has participated in numerous events and competitions, and has won awards including Gold at last year's Auckland Culinary Fare; Runner Up for NZ Professional Waiter of the Year 2007 with three Silvers at the NZ Culinary Fare, and taking second place in Accor's Regional Barista Competition 2007.

Accor Vice President for New Zealand and Fiji Paul Richardson says there is no doubt that Julianne will be the perfect ambassador.

"This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and Julianne is proud to be representing Accor on the world stage and using her skills and enthusiasm to make the most of the experience. We wanted to choose someone who reflected Accor's own values and those of our New Zealand Olympians too. It's all about what we call the Spirit of Conquest – taking on new challenges and initiatives in order to grow and expand. The Spirit of Conquest is what our athlete's must have to succeed and what we encourage our employees to pursue in their lives and careers."

Dave Currie, Chef de Mission of the NZ Olympic team believes Julianne will add real value to the team.

"We were impressed with Julianne's understanding of the inspirational high performance environment we are creating in Beijing."

Julianne will begin her new role on 27 July, with the games starting on 8 August.

Image available: Julianne with Robyn Wong, Athlete support team member, Dave Currie, Chef de Mission, and Dallas Seymour, Athlete support team member. (Robyn Wong is a mountain biking Olympian and Dallas was a gold medallist at the Commonwealth Games for Rugby 7s.)

Accor, the European leader and a major global group in hotels, the global leader in services to corporate clients and public institutions, operates in nearly 100 countries with 170,000 employees. It offers to its clients over 40 years of expertise in its two core businesses:

- Hotels, with the Sofitel, Pullman, Novotel, Mercure, Suitehotel, Ibis, all seasons, Etap Hotel, Formule 1 and Motel 6 brands, representing more than 4,000 hotels and nearly 500,000 rooms in 90 countries, as well as strategically related activities, such as Lenôtre.

- Services, with 30 million people in 40 countries benefiting from Accor Services products in human resources, marketing services and expense management.


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