Monday, September 8, 2003



Rewards found
in housekeeping

Executive housekeeper
Millicent Agena has been
on the job for 16 years

For the last 16 years, I have had the opportunity to work in the housekeeping industry, a profession I find very rewarding. We are the back-of-the-house workers, the backbone of a hotel. And it is our hard work that will leave a good impression on a guest.

International Housekeepers Week

Millicent Agena is Hawaii chairwoman for this event, sponsored by the International Executive Housekeepers Association.

When: Sunday through Sept. 20

Highlight: Picnic Sept. 20 at Ala Moana Beach Park for housekeepers whose managers are IEHA members

As the corporate executive housekeeper for Aston Hotels & Resorts Hawaii, it is my job to make sure that all of the housekeeping departments at our 30 hotels and resorts, located on four islands, are running smoothly and productively. Each week, I travel to a different property to inspect the rooms and make sure everything is in top-quality condition. While there, I meet with the general managers and executive housekeepers to discuss policies and procedures, make sure they have all the resources they need and share any new products or techniques that can make the work easier.

Many people don't realize the skills that you pick up while working in a hotel's housekeeping department. First, you become an accountant, learning to manage a budget. This is one of the tasks I assist the housekeepers with. The housekeeping department has the largest budget in the hotel, and it is up to the executive housekeeper to monitor and maintain supplies, such as linens, cleaning supplies and toiletry items. As a housekeeper, you become a chemist -- learning everything from how to properly mix cleaning chemicals and the differences between acid and alkaline on the pH scale. This requires training and educating the entire housekeeping staff. As the team leader, the executive housekeeper plays the role of manager, teacher, cheerleader and friend.

What I love most about this job is the people. I am fortunate to work with the most amazing group of housekeepers in the world. They always give 110 percent in everything they do and rarely complain. I started out as a hotel concierge, but after working in housekeeping, I would never do anything else.

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