Kelly Watt works for the Sandman Hotel Group

Top 40 Over 40 Presented by BDO: Kelly Watt

Kelowna Chamber of Commerce hosts Top 40 Over 40 program

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce is once again launching its ‘Top 40 Over 40 presented by BDO’, to celebrate individuals in the community over the age of 40.

These are people who showcase as mentors, champions and role models and who encourage and foster the future leaders of the community.

The Kelowna Chamber is highlighting new honourees between February and July 2021. Each year the program alternates between Over 40 and Under 40 Honourees. This is the sixth year of the program as 2021 marks an “Over 40” year.

For the past four decades Kelly Watt has been involved in the hospitality industry, initially to fund her education degree and then realizing her passion lay in the opportunities hotels offered.

Once she became involved with Sandman Hotel Group in the Lower Mainland, she was offered the opportunity to transfer to Kelowna 15 years ago and participate in expanding the Kelowna hotel from 120 to 220 rooms.

Following this expansion, she became regional director overseeing the six Sandman properties in the Southern Interior.

Kelly feels fortunate to be working in one of the most beautiful and enticing parts of B.C., as well as having, in her words, the honour of working with amazingly committed hospitality and tourism professionals, from frontline guest service teams and management to the passionate fellow board members of Tourism Kelowna.

It’s an opportunity, she says, that comes from being part of the 100 per cent Canadian-owned and operated Sandman Hotel Group. This has never been more inspiring than in the past year with the COVID pandemic challenges to the industry.

Kelly feels fortunate to have learned leadership skills from many leaders with a wide range of styles, her mentors and role models, along with the teams she has been privileged to lead.

The ever-changing landscape of leadership in the hospitality industry keeps her challenged and continually expanding her knowledge.

Recognition and appreciation of the teams that represent their companies in daily operations is the most rewarding leadership opportunity for her.

From leading restaurant, bar and banquet teams of up to 200 employees to senior leadership of hotel general managers and their respective teams, Kelly finds the challenges of reaching out to encourage passion and engagement varied and always evolving, while always keeping a “guest obsessed” perspective and setting that example remaining key aspects of her profession.

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