Interview with Lesley Bacon, Group Health Club & Spa Manager, Handpicked Hotels

Posted By Simon Clark

24 July 2015 - 13:04pm

Who are you and what is your current job role?

I am Lesley Bacon, Group Health Club & Spa Manager at Hand Picked Hotels

How did you get to this position…what was the pathway and what did you do before?

I spent 7 years running hotels overseas for Mark Warner, the all inclusive sports holidays then returned to the UK as a club manager for Esporta. I then went to Barcelona as European Operations Director for Esporta & oversaw 4 new openings in Spain along with the open clubs in Spain & also looked after their clubs in Sweden & Germany. I returned to the UK with Esporta and was a Regional Manger, I then moved to Holmes Place and oversaw the pre opening of their new build and ran a region for a number of years. I left Holmes Place when it was bought by Virgin Active and moved to work with Hand Picked Hotels.

What are the challenges in this job?

Ensuring you are always ahead of the market, ensuring we deliver on guests expectations.

Who has influenced you the most in your career and why?

I have worked with a number of CEO’s in my time and have learnt many things from these people. I cut my teeth with Maurice Kelly in Esporta & learnt a huge amount very quickly being in Spain by myself. Martin Robison at Holmes Place was a great leader. Working with Douglas Waddell & Julia Hands here at Hand Picked is very inclusive and rewarding.

What do you do to switch off?

Have a long bath with some fabulous spa products!

Any Pearls of Wisdom or strategies for success that you would like to share?

You can’t do it by yourself you need great people with you.

Unusual Question – should there be formal quotas for the number of women on the Board of public companies? Should public sector employees be that upset by being asked to work to the same age as private sector employees?

I don’t believe in quotas I believe you should get there on merit. Hand Picked Hotels has more women in the senior management team than men. I think we are all going to have to work longer!

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