Meet Carly, Regional Manager of Signature Experiences
Full Name: Carly Gabara
Title: Regional Manager of Signature Experiences, Unibail Rodamco Westfield
I am a dedicated and motivational people manager with a passion for guest experience and developing teams with ten years of progressive management experience in retail and hospitality. I facilitate training programs to internal and external team members. I work with guest, retailer, and employee relations.
In your own words, describe your career.
My first job was at a frozen yogurt shop where I worked my way up to a manager. Next was the retail world with Macy’s as a seasonal employee. I then worked my way up to various management positions within Macy’s and ended in Women’s Shoes. I graduated with a photography degree, so I started my own photography business. After two years, I realized I missed managing people and started my career with Westfield at their UTC location in San Diego as a Senior Concierge. I held various jobs within Westfield UTC trying to find my “right” fit. I was a Management Associate and supported our management team in operations, facilities, marketing, and guest experience. I was training to be an Assistant General Manager and related I loved guest services so much, so I discussed my options with my management team, and I became the Guest Experience Manager. I loved managing Concierge at my center and training team members, so I was promoted to Regional Manager of Signature Experiences.
Who/what influenced or inspired you to become a Regional Manager of Signature Experiences?
There are two people who have inspired me to pursue my career at URW. Jeff Adams is the head of Guest Services at Westfield and he has always been a guiding and encouraging leader. When I had questions or problems, he would dedicate time to walk through the process and made sure I understood the full picture. Alex Hoskins is the best trainer/facilitator I have ever met. She inspires and motivates me to be the best trainer I can be. She is full of so much knowledge and she allows me to pick her brain. She also provides me TedTalks or articles to enhance my learning.
What do you love most about your job? What are its biggest challenges?
I love the people I work with and work for. They are the reason I wake up so excited for work and why I try my very best every day. The biggest challenges right now are remote work and COVID-19. I am a people person and working remotely is challenging for me since I love interacting with team members in person, training in person, and delivering experiences in person for our guests. Utilizing virtual programs like WebEx and Microsoft Team is very helpful for productivity and make me feel connected to my teams during this hard time.
Are there certain things/events that happened in your life that have informed who you are or what you are doing in your life/career? Or what barriers have you faced and how did you overcome them?
Let me first start off with saying I hated public speaking and would always get so nervous in front of the class in school or in front of large crowds. Now I LOVE public speaking and engaging with a large group. There was an opening for a hospitality trainer at our center and my managers encouraged me to get outside my comfort zone and try something new. I was nervous in the beginning but realized those nerves were excitement and I began to be more comfortable in front of people. There are always hard moments in life and in your careers but its working through them that helps create your character and helps you identify what you want to do for a career.
Do you have any words of advice?
I know some days are bad, but it is through the hard times, that you grow and learn. There will be many doors that open and shut. The main thing is to always be looking and understanding how you are feeling. You should enjoy what you do and always challenge yourself. Be open for new ideas and different perspectives. Those moments will change your reality and you will be so happy you took a chance.