Get to know Amanda Harding
Amanda Harding is a valued member of the Canada Bay Club staff whose friendly face greets members at reception. Read on to find out more about why Amanda loves working at the club as she shares her secrets around great customer service.
How long have you worked at Canada Bay Club?
I started working here in May 2017. I thought I would work my way through all areas of the club and ultimately end up in reception. I had the pleasure working with Rhys, who was very loved by the team, members and regular visitors to the club, and when he left I was offered the position – big shoes to fill!
Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Fulham in England to an Australian mother and English father. We migrated to Australia when I was a baby. My father was a marine engineer and he got a job with Evans Deakin, an Australian engineering company based in Brisbane. My brother was born in Brisbane.
When I was eight years old, we moved to Albury in NSW to live with my grandfather, who had moved from Sydney to start up what was then Borg-Warner, an engineering company for automatic transmission units. My father had died of a massive heart attack.
My memories of my grandfather are wonderful. He was an amazing man who bought up two daughters at a very young age after his wife died at the age of 36. He was a great role model, and some of my happiest times were spent growing up in the country.
My mother was a very hardworking, strong woman who was always there to talk to and give us advice – even my friends would come to her for words of wisdom. I think and hope I have a lot of her character. My mother now lives with us, as her health has not been so good the past couple of years.
At the age of 21, I moved to Sydney and worked in the travel industry in the 1980s and 90s. They were great fun and exciting days – I worked as a reservations supervisor, training manager and inventory controller. Later, I worked in the product department producing brochures and travelling, taking travel agents as well as reservation staff away on ‘famils’ (familiarisations) overseas to inspect hotels, cruises and to experience the sites in the countries we were visiting.
I met my husband 30 years ago travelling on the ferry to and from Circular Quay. We have three beautiful children – two boys and a girl. Our youngest is in Year 11.
What does a typical day involve?
Every day is busy! I welcome visitors and members and their guests into the club. I answer the phone – which rings constantly – handle general enquiries and assist with enquiries for functions. I take reservations for The Brasserie, process renewals and join up new club members. We host a lot of functions at the club and the first point of contact is reception.
Why did you choose a career in hospitality?
I am a people’s person, I love a chat and it’s a great industry to work in. I worked in the travel industry and loved every minute of it. I loved the colleagues I worked with the people I met both here and overseas and the travel. It was a very exciting time.
What do you like most about customer service?
Reception is the face of the club. When I say good morning or good afternoon, I mean it! The fact that someone can say “you’ve made my day” is a great feeling. You can really make a difference by listening and helping customers.
What about your customers at Canada Bay Club – any great stories to share?
Well, that would be giving away secrets! Where do I start? I have a soft spot for our older members – some are well into their 90s and so inspiring. The stories they can tell – from the war era to our local history. There are the ‘regulars’ – be they here for Seniors Fitness, Tai Chi or the Bridge Group – you get to know them all over time. I’ve made some nice friendships with some of our regulars and always look forward to great conversations. I have even come across people I haven’t seen for years – real ‘blasts from the past’.
Canada Bay Club is such an important part of the local community. What does it mean to the people you meet?
Prior to working at the Canada Bay Club, I volunteered as club secretary and later in club sponsorship for the Abbotsford Juniors Football Club. Canada Bay Club was a major sponsor of our Football Club and I cannot emphasise how important that support has been. Now working here, I’m in awe of the support Canada Bay Club gives to the community through the ClubGRANTS scheme.
Apart from its community involvement, the club is such a friendly place for people to come to and relax. It’s somewhere you can feel comfortable on your own just sitting and having a coffee, as well as being a great place to catch up with friends and family.
What’s the best thing about working at Canada Bay Club?
The staff, management and directors all work very well together as a team, which makes it a truly enjoyable club to work for. It’s like one big family – we all look out for each other and genuinely care, and I think that’s what the club is about. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some wonderful members and guests, and love the interactions I share daily.
When people walk through the front doors, I’m the first impression they get of the club. I always strive to make everyone feel very welcome and, when they leave, looking forward to returning.
I’m also excited about the new renovations that have just commenced, due to be finished in early 2020.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I love reading travel and romance stories, cooking, entertaining, good food, good wine and great friends and family. I love a good laugh, too – that really makes me happy.