How Sands Academy Helped Propel Michelle Rieker Into a Management Role
Las Vegas Sands has committed itself to its Team Members, helping them thrive and advance in the hospitality industry by providing education and support programs to further their careers. Through Sands Academy, the company’s learning and development program, the Elevate series was established to assist Team Members in being better supervisors and managers in their respective departments.
“When I was in the Group Housing department, my director encouraged me to take additional classes, in addition to the mandatory ones,” said Michelle Rieker, now a manager for Front Service Management. “I took the first few classes that were offered, and I found them to be so beneficial, that I continued attending until I ended up completing the 12 classes of the entire series.”
In her role, Rieker is responsible for maintaining traffic flow in the valet area in front of The Venetian, facilitating guest interactions, ensuring arrival and departure amenities for guests are provided and maintaining overall guest satisfaction and experience. With weekends being the most hectic for her department as they maintain the traffic in and out of the resort, she must also continue to keep communication with her teams in order to make everyone’s experience as seamless as possible.
“The class that really has helped me in my transition to management in Front Service was the class regarding communication with your Team Members,” she said. “Being a manager, I always thought I had all the right answers, but once I took this class, it opened my eyes to a different approach. Not having all the answers is okay and once I took a step back and thought how to solve the problem, I realized I am able to help my team learn what is expected out of them instead of just telling them what to do.”
Rieker manages over 450 Team Members and leading by example has become her main focus, but also understanding what she can do differently to accommodate her Team Members and guests at the same time.
“Taking these classes was a game changer for me,” Rieker said. “I had to get out of the mind frame of managing smaller teams and really earn the trust of this new, larger team. Once you earn their trust and respect, then they respect you as well. I’ve worked at other hotels and they’ve offered similar programs like Elevate, but Sands Academy encourages class involvement, ideas and talking. It’s been so helpful to hear others illustrate their issues in their departments and what solutions have helped them. I now have the confidence to address Team Member challenges, guide them and find a solution.”