Hotel group backs future leaders

Pictured: Winner of the Glossop High School 2021 Exceptional All-Rounder Contribution Award, Cameron Dixon (left) with Big River Golf & Country Club, Accommodation & Administration Manager Penny Tastanellis and General Manager Peter Jesser, Berri Hotel Manager Jeremy Sweet, Glossop High School Principal Emily Griggs. INSET: Berri Hotel Group border member Hayden Cawse and Cameron Dixon.

Berri Hotel Group, recently awarded by the Australian Hotels Association for its service and support to the community, is putting its weight behind developing future leaders in the Riverland region. Developing leaders for the future is a primary focus for regional South Australia, and the key Riverland town of Berri is certainly no exception.

As Berri’s businesses and community strive to recover from the impacts of COVID, and lay the foundations for future growth and prosperity, its young people are so very important. Supporting their the skills, confidence, experience, and networks now, ensures a much greater chance of retaining and developing these young people to lead the community in the future.

For this reason, the community-owned Berri Hotel (part of Berri Hotel Group) continues to partner with Glossop High School to sponsor its student award for ‘Exceptional All-Round Contribution’. This valuable initiative supports and recognises a year-12 student who has excelled across the areas of ‘academic achievement’, ‘sporting/cultural participation and achievement’, ‘student leadership’, and ‘school & community service’. The successful student is awarded a $4,000 cash grant to support their endeavours.

At the recent Glossop High School awards ceremony, local student Cameron Dixon was the proud winner of this award. Already the recipient of an array of commendations and awards for his studies, Cameron holds numerous leadership positions, has excelled in the sporting arena, and contributes to a variety of community groups. He commented on what this means to him and his aspirations for the future, “In the future I look forward to studying within the ever-expanding creative industries sector to build my capacity as a leader in this field. Once I have completed this study I am determined to return home to the Riverland community which I am passionately connected to. The Berri Hotel’s Exceptional All-Round Contribution grant will support me to pursue my passion for inspiring and leading others. “Principal of Glossop High School, Mrs Emily Griggs, commended Cameron and underlined the value of such an award, “We are exceptionally proud of Cameron and his achievements; the school deeply values the long-standing partnership we have with Berri Hotel and appreciate the annual Exceptional All-Round Contribution award. Strong community connections are very important to our school to support the development of well-rounded community leaders for our future.”
Berri Hotel Manager, Jeremy Sweet, also a past graduate of Glossop High School, gave his congratulations, “This was an exceptionally strong field of young applicants, however Cameron really stood out as a high performer with bold aspirations, excellent leadership skills, and a clear passion for the community. We look forward to helping him in any way possible as his forges his career and develops his skills further.”

Berri Hotel Group is a community owned organisation comprising Berri Hotel and Big River Golf & Country Club. The group’s vision is to support the local community by investing in activities and local organisations to ensure growth and prosperity of the region. Built in 1918, Berri Hotel has been community owned since May 1937. Having undergone a number of major renovations in recent years, the hotel offers 71 rooms and suites, function spaces, a Bistro, Sports Bar, Gaming Lounge, and drive through bottle shop. In early 2022 a further 30
apartments will be added to the Berri Hotel’s portfolio as part of its Riverview Apartments development. Big River Golf & Country Club also supports a range of community initiatives, and offers guests 30 rooms, tavern with bar and dining, 18-hole golf course, function spaces, gaming, and leisure facilities. Paul Stewart, Chair of Berri Hotel Group added, “We cannot underestimate the importance of supporting
aspiring young leaders like Cameron toward safeguarding the future of our regional economies and communities. Our group is very pleased to make a continued investment in this program. “The hospitality and tourism industry is a highly diverse sector, calling on a range of practical and technical skills across the areas of food & beverage, operations, events, sales & marketing, finance, revenue, human resources, maintenance, engineering, and much more. With such diversity, attracting employees with ready-made skills can be challenging.

Berri Hotel Group addresses this challenge by focusing on identifying young people of strong ambition, character, and leadership potential, who can then be upskilled and trained over time to the required technical standard. This ensures the right people are invested in over a sustained period, giving every chance that they will become leaders of the next generation.

This has certainly been the case for Penny Tastanellis, a Berri local who is currently the Accommodation and Administration Manager at the group’s other community property, Big River Golf and Country Club. Now aged 26, Penny was a student of Glossop High School, and during her studies there commenced work at Berri Hotel, at which time she was awarded ‘School Based Trainee of the Year’ by the School. Following her graduation, Penny began a career in the hospitality industry working across food & beverage, administration, and revenue with Berri Hotel Group and other resorts, before securing her current managerial position. Flagged by the group as a General Manager of the future, Penny commented on the value of a career in the region’s hospitality and tourism industry, “Working in hotels and other hospitality venues has offered me diversity on a daily basis. I cannot think of too many other career pathways that offers such rounded ongoing development across such a range of skill sets and disciplines. Not to mention this is such a fun industry to be part of!” Any young people in the Riverland with an interest in a career in hospitality and tourism, or for advice on developing their leadership skills, are welcome to make contact with Berri Hotel Group ([email protected]).