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Haitians In America, Only In The Haitian Times

Haitians in America: This Haitian executive is at the top of her game in the hospitality industry

By Bianca Silva

For Guilaine Regis, working her way to the executive role at the Grand Hyatt hotel has been nothing short of rewarding. From graduating with a dual degree in diplomacy and business administration in Haiti, to being a recipient of the Caribbean Life Impact Awards in 2017, her career has been quite prolific.

Regis speaks to The Haitian Times on her career in the hospitality industry and how her past experiences has shaped her into the person she is today.

What led you to work in the hotel and restaurant industries?

Right after I graduated, my father brought me here and when I came here, he said: “Look, I don’t know how you’re going to pursue your career as a diplomat. You need to go back and choose something that would fit here.” So while I was in Haiti, I used to go to the hotel because it’s free when you have your diploma. I used to go there just out of curiosity to learn how to cook all of those things. When I came here, I said: “I’m not going to be able to pursue my career. What would I do, continue the hotel business?” That’s when I decided to be more involved in school. 

What have been some of the obstacles you’ve faced on your path in obtaining an executive role?

It wasn’t easy, I have to say that. When you know what you’re talking about and somebody has to speak out, they’re just going look at you. At the beginning, you don’t have the experience. But as soon as somebody let me in, I applied. It wasn’t easy. 

You were also the recipient of the 2017 Impact Awards for Caribbean Life. How did it feel being recognized for your achievements?

When that happened, I said to myself: “What would my mother have to say and father have to say right now.” I’m very proud of it and this is one of the things that motivate me more to excel in what I do and I’m going to continue to do that.

When you lived in Haiti, you became a diplomat and got to travel to different countries. How did that experience aided you in the work you do now?

I went to Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic. Then we came here to the United States. I went to Canada aso first. All of that was under the umbrella of the university just to be aware of what’s going on in these countries.

To me, I’ve applied to it to a certain degree because I deal with people’s emotions. I have, right now a staff of about 300 people and everyday, it’s something else because they have their own personality.

What advice do you have for those who desire to work in the hospitality industry?

If you go there, the more languages you learn, the better. You go there and you put your head down and learn the necessary things you need to learn because sometimes it’s not the big things that give you a headache, it’s the small things. Take your time and don’t be in a hurry. 

Your job is to make sure they are met to the best of your abilities. If you don’t like that position, that profession, don’t do it. If you know you’re not a people person don’t do it. If you know you can’t take questions, don’t do it. I enjoy it because that’s what I like.

Bianca Silva
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Bianca Silva

Bianca Silva is a journalist and photographer living in New York City. She has written for TIME, Amsterdam News, TODAY.com, Harlem Focus and The WEEK.
Bianca Silva
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Apr. 25, 2019

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