Hala Massaad on leadership and supporting diversity

1. Hala Massaad Interview
The Boulevard Arjaan by Rotana General Manager Hala Massaad Nahas. (Photo: Rotana)
AMMAN — The current general manager of The Boulevard Arjaan by Rotana, Hala Massaad Nahas, is no stranger to breaking down barriers. Massaad was Rotana’s first Arab woman to be appointed to a general manager position.اضافة اعلان

“The general manager role is not only a day-to-day operation. The most essential thing to remember is to lead, to be a leader and a role model,” Massaad said in an interview with Jordan News. “I like to lead by being on the floor, with my team, so I can show them the way.”

Massaad joined The Boulevard Arjaan by Rotana in July 2021. In 2009, she was appointed general manager of Al-Hazmiyeh Rotana Hotel in Lebanon, and she later became general manager of the Raouché Arjaan by Rotana Hotel in Beirut.

As a leader, Massaad said that it is essential to build a team that shares the same vision and to work in the same direction, in order to achieve a company’s ultimate goals.

“The basics of hospitality field include excellence, which is key to driving business and getting results,” she said. “My role is to deliver the company’s vision to the team.”

She went on to clarify that her responsibility is also to understand and help the younger generation. “The hospitality industry is now different and evolving, as you have to evolve with the times and embrace the new generation,” she said.
“If you do not challenge the status quo, you cannot remain competitive,” Massaad said.

‘A long way to go’

Another part of leadership is recognizing when there are disparities. Women’s representation in the hospitality industry is still low, especially in leadership positions, Massaad said. The Boulevard Arjaan by Rotana has around 240 employees, 25 of which are women, and 18 people in management positions, 3 of which are women.

“There is a big challenge, and a long way to go to have really less disparity,” Massaad said.

She added that she is constantly being asked, “how can women manage their work/life balance?” However, she stated that anybody can overcome this challenge by simply managing their time. “Either I’m with my family or at work, I do not waste my time, you need to be very well organized, to have the support of your family and to delegate” she said. “You surely also need to have the support of your spouse to be able move up in your career. I am lucky to have it fully.”

At the beginning of her career in the hotel sector, Massaad faced some of these same challenges. However, she said “I received full support from my family when I started working in the hotel industry.”

She added that when a woman works hard and delivers results, that’s what makes her shine. “The cultural resistance exists in Arab countries, and this is proven by the percentage of working women,” Massaad said.

The general manager deeply believes in the value of tenacity at work. She stated that even though her career was successful, it did not come without challenges.

“Women have qualities such as diplomacy, attention to details, peace, and calmness, which help them to accomplish tasks, and finish things easily compared to men; moreover, women have qualifications that drive them to succeed,” Massaad said.

“I have participated in many events that are related to women empowerment, and I believe that there is a place for women in every field, and we need to have our place.”

Both women and men need to have equal opportunities to sustain a family, she said, adding that “every woman has an essential role to play.”
This has been especially true since the pandemic has hit. COVID-19 has presented an unprecedented challenge to the hospitality industry amid lockdowns and social distancing. This has resulted in the closure of many businesses in the hospitality industry, and a significant decrease in demand for businesses that continue to operate.

However, Massaad said that she is optimistic about the industry in Jordan, adding that COVID-19 is still a challenge but we need to learn how to live with it.

A big challenge brought by COVID-19, is to ensure employees are eased back into a routine, after time spent not leaving the house or communicating directly with others, in addition to making sure that they are happy at their jobs as well as at home. “We are putting in place all the back to basics trainings in order to be able to be back to normal the soonest (possible),” Massaad said. 

“We conducted a full intense training program to reenergize the employees,” she said. “We have to be prepared for whatever comes; we always have to be ready.” 

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