With more than 15 years with Thalias under her belt, for the last eight of which she has been the eternally popular General Manager of our flagship restaurant, Topaz, Lina Hak is now set to take on the role of Director of Operations for the entire group. Her advancement comes at a crucial time for the company as we embark on a change in style for how we approach new developments, and there are a lot of them on the way.
Lina will step into her new role this October, she can still be found at Topaz as involved in every detail as she has always been. But as a woman with a voracious approach to learning, she’s still finding the time to expand her skills. “There is always another level up to look forward to, and there are always new things to learn or old things to improve. I’ve been taking some online leadership courses from John C. Maxwell as well,” she said, adding “Even though I have reached the position that I have, I still look at every day as an opportunity to learn something new, or find a new opportunity. I don’t think I’ll ever stop learning”.
At Thalias, Lina’s thirst for knowledge has found its home. “Thalias redefined its corporate mission four years ago so that our aim is to ‘nurture everyone in our care towards a state of fulfilment’. These are not just empty words. Arnaud [Darc, Thalias’ CEO] has proved every day that he means what he says, and that applies to all of our staff as well as our customers,” she said.
However, she steps into this role at a delicate time for the company, and the country. Covid has ravaged the tourism industry in Cambodia, one of the backbones of the economy. Everyone involved is suffering in some way, and those are the lucky ones. The only companies that are not suffering anymore are those that have already gone to the wall and closed their doors. However, Covid has also given hospitality stakeholders an opportunity to regroup and plan for the future.
“I think that within five years’ time hospitality in Phnom Penh will really take off again. Many in the industry have taken this down time to grow and learn new skills. As a result, our teams are now able to work much more effectively and cohesively and with much less support than before. I am sure that many of the things that we have learned during this time will benefit us in the long run and upgrading skills is just one example. I take this disaster, and use it as an opportunity to turn it into a challenge.”
This ties in neatly with Lina’s plans for how she’s going to approach her new role, which include a strong approach to supporting staff in their own development as much as being team players too.
On her success so far, Lina is reluctant to credit much to her own talents, her patience, sense of humour, empathy and genuine connection that she develops with people that she encounters, or her openness, whether it be to people or challenges. In fact, she doesn’t mention them at all, instead preferring to focus on how Thalias has helped her become the Lina she is today. “This company always gives its people an opportunity to grow. And together we can grow big because we are here for each other. I love what I do, and I am sure that I am surrounded by people who see things the way that I do, and that I see them how they do. We share the same goals. That is the key to success.”