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School of Business and Tourism

Graduate story: Monique Harmer

Monique Harmer

Monique Harmer
General Manager
InterContinental Sanctuary Cove Resort
Bachelor of Business in Tourism
Now Bachelor of Business in Tourism and Hospitality Management

Monique Harmer has come a long way from her first hospitality job at the local pub in her south-west NSW home town of Griffith. These days Monique is one of just a handful of women in charge of a major hotel on Queensland's Gold Coast.

"I'm responsible for the overall operation of InterContinental sanctuary Cover Resort, which is unique in that it is part of Sanctuary Cover - Australia's leading resort-style master-planned community. It houses permanent residences, a marina, two golf courses and the Marine Village. There is quite a bit of stakeholder management here, as we operate as part of that broader community. while many hotels these days operate in a clustered environment, we still have functional leaders on site such as human resources, finance, and sales and marketing. So in addition to overseeing the day-to-day operational issues, top level strategy comes out of the property as well.

"Mentoring my team is important. I like watching people's own confidence in their ability grow. My own personal brand talks to be an inspiring, engaging talent developer. Six people working at the resort have completed the IHG Future Leaders' Program and are aspiring to be general managers, so I spend a lot of time with them, as well as with the rest of my direct reports, working on growing their leadership capabilities.

"There aren't many women in GM roles in Australia. Yes, it is absolutely demanding but there is certainly the opportunity to still have a healthy work-life balance. I have two young children - Cooper, who is eight, and six-year-old Grace. I try to role model that with my female leaders - to demonstrate that as a woman you can have a career, and you can have a career together with a family.

"What attracted me to the tourism degree at SCU was the internship which I did at the Pullman Cairns International. It provided me with some really great skills that enabled an easier transition into the workplace than doing three years of pure study."