This month I had the opportunity to talk to Charlene Jarrett, the Guest Services Operations Manager. With her playful wit and dedication to her team, she’s a joy to work with.
Where were you raised?
I was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in California and Ohio – a few years in each state, back and forth.
How long have you worked at The Ranch?
I started at the Ranch in 2003. I’m in my 20th year. I spent 17 years in our reservations department and have been in operations since 2020.
What are your responsibilities?
I work closely with the Front Desk, Concierge Team, Housekeeping, and Reservations. I am a huge fan of consistency and I try to work closely with my team members to create processes and procedures that are simple, yet efficient. My main responsibility, in a nutshell, is to ensure the teams have what they need to be successful, that our guests are left with a memorable experience from beginning to end, and to ensure we are upholding our motto, Siempre Mejor, Always Better.
And how do you think The Ranch has changed from when you started 20 years ago?
In many ways, the core essence of The Ranch has remained the same. It’s a family-owned and operated resort. It’s amazing to look back at where we started with tents in open fields and see where we are today with our 86 guest casitas, a community of engaged guests, and a growing residential program. It’s become a home away from home for many of our guests. The values that The Ranch was founded on are who we are today.
Why do you think guests are attracted to The Ranch?
I think they come for the programs. There’s always something special about saying you’re going to Mexico to recharge. Guests visit and are surrounded by the beautiful landscaping and the charm of the people. Then you add in the classes, the hiking, and the opportunities for self-reflection – it’s a great environment that keeps inviting guests back.
What’s your leadership style?
I believe in the value of communication and have always been one to dedicate time to those who need to talk, whether it be a work-related conversation or personal. I always remind myself that each team member is more than just their job and I like to share knowledge that helps them not only in the workplace, but also in their personal lives. My specific style is probably somewhere between democratic and transformational.
What are the most important skills for a leader to have?
There are three skills that come to mind as the key to being a good leader: having a higher level of emotional intelligence, the ability to own up to mistakes and ask for help, and treating your team as people, not employees. I´ll break this down a bit. In my experience, being able to manage your emotions is key to handling different types of people and all that comes with them – their ideas, their behavior, their decisions, etc. A person with a high level of emotional intelligence seeks to understand differences and how to deal with them in a way that allows for growth and appreciation. When it comes to making mistakes, being able to acknowledge them openly without feeling shame shows the team that it is okay when they make a mistake -we’re all humans. Which brings me to the last point – treating them as people. As leaders, it is important that we create a work environment that provides an environment where each team member feels they matter, belong, and are respected.
How do you handle conflict on a team?
It depends on the situation but in general, communication is key. The most important thing we can do as leaders is to ensure we are always objective. Every person´s perception is their reality, so the idea is to find a middle ground where both parties feel heard. If the conflict is between two people, I encourage them to communicate directly with each other to try to resolve their differences, letting them know that I am happy to participate if needed. At the end of the day, conflict equals growth, so a successful outcome is one we were able to learn from.
Do you ever get exhausted and how do you recharge?
Whenever I feel that I am exhausted or even overwhelmed, I look for a movie that will make me cry. It helps me release whatever I am carrying that is making me feel that way and then I’m able to get a wonderful night’s rest. I wake up the next day ready to take on whatever comes my way.
Where’s your favorite place at The Ranch?
My favorite place is the hammocks near the Villas Health Center. I can lay there under the trees watching them sway in the breeze and my cares melt away. That’s my favorite place.
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