Exemplary Iron lady of Taj hotels: Ashrafi Matcheswala

Ashrafi Matcheswala has recently been appointed as General Manager (GM) at Vivanta by Taj- President, Mumbai. Prior to joining the Vivanta’s flagship hotel she completed her six year stint as GM at Taj Campton Place, San Francisco in U.S.A. She is Mumbai’s lone lady GM of five star hotels and the classic example of the Taj Group’s policy not to hire managers, but to create them.

Mumbai born and raised, she did her basic schooling from the prominent Alexandra Girls’ English Institution, Fort, Mumbai and professional education from the prestigious Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology, and Applied Nutrition (IHM Bombay). To enhance her professional prowess she did her Masters in Hotel Management from Les Roches, Switzerland; majoring in Finance.

Having worked in the international market, Ashrafi brings to the table her diverse experience as she embarks on her new role at the Vivanta by Taj – President, overlooking hotel operations.
Ashrafi is one of the few amazing women who has broken through the glass ceiling and made her mark on the hotel industry with her warmth and sense of humour that match her professionalism and talent. She embarked on her journey with the Taj Group in 1981 at the flagship Taj Mahal Palace and Towers and has been with the company ever since. During this association with the Taj Group, she has held numerous key positions like Resident Manager at Taj Lands End, Mumbai, General Manager at Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur and GM – Taj Wellington Mews Mumbai, before moving to San Francisco to helm Taj Campton Place.

Natural leader
With an illustrious career, Ashrafi has emerged as a goal oriented leader with excellent customer relations. She is beloved by her team for her quality of supporting and inspiring them to carry out their responsibilities with passion and flair. Her allegiance towards the Taj Group has made her an indispensable part of the Taj success story and Vivanta by Taj – President, Mumbai is honoured to welcome on board the enterprising Ms. Ashrafi Matcheswala.

Her Priorities for Vivanta by Taj -President in her words
I am the first lady GM in the last decade at Vivanta by Taj – President. Ms. Shirin Batliwala preceded me in this title. The Vivanta by Taj- President has been the foundation on which I built my career. This hotel is an icon and a legacy for its guests in Mumbai. It has grown with the changing landscape of the city. Knowing and understanding this, I don’t want to change much within this well-oiled machine. However, I wish to bring in new ideas and innovation in guest engagement. Today’s guest is discerning and well-travelled. They are looking for ‘something new’ when they come to a hotel. This is my priority. In addition to this, my focus will be my team. A happy team creates happy guests! I will work toward being more employee-centric. They are the true strength and asset of the hotel. Their sincere care is what brings guests back, time and again. I want to motivate them and thus help them achieve their goals.

Is being a woman a detractor in achieving goals?
I do not think gender plays any part in success. Hard work, dedication, diligence, perseverance, humility, and a great team beget success. I’m a big believer in the philosophy that when you do what you love with 100% sincerity all doors will open for you. Life is about making choices. Whatever you choose, you have to give it your best if you want to succeed. One should never be afraid of succeeding. Never let the detractors pull you back; believe in yourself and let destiny take its course.

Challenges faced in your career
When you are passionate about your work, nothing seems too challenging! This is a 24×7 industry and you must be prepared to devote the adequate amount of time and energy required to be successful. You must have passion and enthusiasm. This will change every potential challenge into an opportunity for growth and learning.
Success mantra
Don’t be afraid to succeed. Keep your head down, work hard, support your team and success will find you!

Report: “Ram” Sitaram Mewati