Student to become CEO after graduation

A TWENTY-YEAR-OLD lady will be at the helm of a new hotel set to rise in Cebu next year.

Acting as the company president and chief executive officer, accountancy student Shannen Keisha L. Tan will have a bigger role in the family business.

Born to a Filipino-Chinese family with interest in a two-star international hotel in Cebu City, Tan was informed by her father two years ago that she will have to assist him in running a new business hotel after her two older siblings pursued medicine and architecture.

She was just 18 then. “I was the one really close to business (having taken up accountancy) so he decided to have me in it (hotel business),” said Tan, the youngest in the family.

It turned out that what her father planned was much more than assist him. Tan was being groomed to lead the family business, starting with the Mezzo Hotel, a 10-storey business hotel on F. Cabahug St. in Cebu City consisting of 190 rooms, which is slated to open in the first quarter of 2017.

By that time, Tan will also graduate from the University of San Carlos. In May, she will have to take the Certified Public Accountant licensure examination.

“It’s very overwhelming. I think it’s natural for someone my age to feel overwhelmed. Can I actually do it? He (father) said, yes you can do it, you just have to focus,” Tan said when asked how she felt about holding the highest position in the company.

But this isn’t the first time she has had to assume the role of a leader.

Tan was the immediate past president of the Philippine Junior Jaycees-USC Chapter and is presently a councilor in the university’s Supreme Student Council, among her many other achievements in school.

Tan also isn’t a stranger to blue-collar jobs. Tan recalled when she had to help wash the dishes in the hotel that her father partly owns, serve food to diners, and sit at the front desk. While she confessed that she was not particularly interested in those jobs before, it made her appreciate those who do these jobs.

“I’m the youngest (in our family), but they gave me a lot of exposure in accounting, front desk and sales, so I got to learn about it. I think that was my training ground,” she said.

Tan also spent her internship in multi-national research and accounting firms.

Being a newbie in the hotel industry, running Mezzo, a contemporary minimalist-themed business hotel, will not be Tan’s sole responsibility, as she is being closely mentored by the hotel’s general manager Aneth Galoy, who has been a hotelier for almost a decade.

Tan, according to Galoy, has a lot of potential.

“Five years from now, I can see (her) fully as a hotelier, because she has a passion and a heart. She really thinks about the people and the staff,” Galoy said.

Mezzo Hotel, upon its full operation, will employ 120 workers. It also prides itself for having a 500-capacity function room, said to be unique for a business hotel, and an indoor swimming pool.

At present, Galoy said they have not come up with room rates yet, as they are studying how to make it in a competitive hotel industry.

As for Tan, she believes she is ready to take on this new responsibility.

“I think I can see myself in the hotel industry in the future and hopefully, I get more experience and more ideas,” she said.

While she juggles work and academics, the consistent honor student does make time for leisure. Tan loves to play badminton and looks forward to honing her skills in piano and violin.

For some, Galoy said being 20 meant going out with friends. But for her, it meant taking responsibility.

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