Gay Nagle Myers
Gay Nagle Myers

Elevator. And no, I'm not referring to the cage we step into that occasionally gets stuck between floors and always plays bad recorded music.

Elevator is the name coined for Hilton's career development program, now celebrating its 20th anniversary in the Caribbean and Latin America as well as throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

As I have learned, the name really does fit the program.

The aim of Hilton's Elevator program is to select and develop talented university graduates as well as internal team members and place them on the fast track to an executive post such as a Hilton hotel or resort general manager within five to eight years.

And since its start in 1999, when it kicked off with an event in Miami for 12 recruits, Elevator has welcomed more than 100 participants across the Caribbean and Latin American region, and it and currently employs at least 25 graduates at manager-level and above positions, including seven GMs.

"The Elevator program is an amazing opportunity for both internal and external applicants by placing selected candidates on an incredible Hilton journey," said Orr Rivero, Hilton's vice president of human resources for the Caribbean and Latin America.

"Participants gain access to an incredible and holistic hospitality learning experience, working alongside Hilton executives and leading projects in everything from operations and business development to human resources and finance," he said.

The recruitment takes place every other year from October through February. During the process, applicants are asked to submit their resume through Hilton's Careers website. Those selected for the first round of interviews are interviewed via Hilton's digital HireVue platform.

Once selected, placements are decided based on availability and which languages the trainee can speak fluently. The 18-month program is divided into two nine-month regional placements where the trainees learn and experience job functions and operations at various departments within Hilton.

The first placement is a general rotation within each hotel department, while the second focuses on a specialized area to prepare the graduates for managerial roles. During this time, they are mentored by Hilton executives from the region.

They take on business-driven projects that enable them to express ideas, conduct feasibility studies, document their findings and present their projects to their assigned hotel management team.

Graduates begin with entry level roles, such as assistant manager, food and beverage operations supervisor, sales or at the front desk.

Program graduates have come from diverse backgrounds and cultures across Hilton's region in the Caribbean and Latin America, including Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, Mexico, Peru and island destinations.

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