Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Cocktails With — Diandra Shand Marketing and Communications Manager Half Moon, Rose Hall, Jamaica, A Rock Resort


The elegant marketing and communications manager has had a super-busy month preparing for her hotel's 60th anniversary. We catch up with her at the celebrated Cedar bar...
What are you drinking?

Pink Sand: (2ozs Southern Comfort, 1oz Sweet Vermouth, 3ozs Sweet Vermouth, 3ozs pineapple juice, 5oz strawberry slush and a splash of bitters... shake together over ice and serve).
It's one of the cocktails Half Moon brought back from the 1950s cocktail menu to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the resort.
What are your earliest memories of Montego Bay?

I am not originally from Montego Bay but my mother moved here several years ago. I remember one Christmas while spending the holidays in St Ann and wanting to look my best for the Christmas Eve grand market, unknown to anyone, I took a bus from St Ann to Montego Bay to find the perfect outfit. This was my first time in the city. My mother always talked about the various shopping outlets in Montego Bay and I was eager to check them out. After walking an entire day throughout the city and spending almost all my money, I went into a particular department store and as I was about to leave there was my mother entering the store. I tried to hide behind someone, but she immediately saw me. I will not tell about the trouble I got in, but after being embarrassed in the store, I was so happy to see her as I was very hungry and only had my bus fare left. Thank you, Mommy!
Half Moon at 60... how does it feel to be part of this historic moment?
I always tell people that I'm a baby at Half Moon. I've only been working at the resort for eight years and while this may seem like a long time to some, for Half Moon employees, that's nothing. We have persons who've been working at Half Moon for over 50 years. To celebrate this milestone with our guests and my fellow staff members is really an indescribable feeling. For a resort to get this far, under the same ownership that started it in 1954, is simply commendable. I'm truly honoured to be a part of this moment.
Did you choose the hospitality industry or did the industry choose you?

I never imagined myself working at a resort, but since I was selected to work at Half Moon in 2005, I've had no regrets. It's a very diverse industry and there's never a dull moment.
What's the one major lesson you've learnt about the industry from where you sit in marketing and communications?

Never be satisfied with your accomplishments. The marketplace is ever-changing and you have to evolve
with it. This industry has absolutely no place for complacency.
Who in the industry do you most admire and why?

I have to say my former boss, Marcia McLaughlin. From day one, Marcia has been my greatest cheerleader and willingly transferred her knowledge to me. At the time, I didn't fully understand why she wanted me to learn how to do everything she did, but now I understand and I'm eternally grateful. Marcia is also one of the most innovative persons I've ever met. She's a quick thinker and for the most part, she's always right. The other great thing about her is that in good and bad times, it's always "we" and never "I".
You've met quite a few A-listers. Which one most impressed you and why?

I saw fashion model and entrepreneur Iman once in the lobby and greeted her. To my surprise she struck up a conversation with me about Jamaica. Her humility was what stood out to me. From that day, I only use Iman cosmetics. It was also a delight to see Prince Harry just interacting with the staff members. His actions seemed quite genuine and noble.
How would you describe your personal style?

Classy, chic and fabulous.
Flats or stilettos?

Definitely stilettos. They're sexy and make up for my height as I'm only five feet, four inches tall.
Jeans or an LBD?

LDB, for sure!
What perfume are you wearing?

Burberry Body. It's light and sensual.
What's your must-have make-up item and why?

My Iman Clay 3 luminous powder. It's like a miracle worker.
What's in your handbag?

My iPad, iPhone, Iman Clay 3, notebook, lipgloss, hand cream and car key.
What bad habit would you like to see in the rear-view mirror?

Procrastination. I need to employ Nike's tagline and Just Do It!
Describe your ideal man.

My ideal man should be a brilliant conversationalist and an exceptional listener, supportive, sensitive, kind, loving and hard-working. He should also be God-fearing and willing to accept me for who I am. He should complement and not compete with me.
And your ideal date?

I love to go for long drives to the country — once I'm not driving. We'd stop at popular food joints, have drinks, laugh a whole lot and just be ourselves. We'd end the day just relaxing in each other's arms to some nice, soft music.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?

In five years I want to be doing what I can by blessing others with the gifts God has blessed me with. I want to help more and take my children's home project to another level. Additionally, I hope to find my soulmate, get married and possibly start my family. On a professional front, I love marketing and communications and still see myself along this career path.
The Jamaica Observer.