Sandals’ Shanissa Nestor diving into her dream
The old adage, “A company’s most valuable asset is its people” rings true for Sandals Resorts, as team members play a significant role in the resorts’ success. Their invaluable contribution has assisted the brand in cementing itself, as a leader in the hospitality industry.
One such team member is Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort and Spa’s very own Shanissa Nestor. Shanissa, a dive instructor at the resort, shares a special bond with guests and is consistently commended for always going above and beyond, while exhibiting immense patience and understanding. Her larger than life personality, caring nature and unparalleled service are just a few reasons why guests return annually to the resort, indicating that they look forward to diving with Shanissa.
But who is Shanissa Nestor and what exactly is her story? Shanissa, straight out of school, was introduced to Sandals Hospitality Training Programme (HTP) by a friend and she decided to give it a shot. While she had no prior intentions of securing a career in the dive field, she said that when it came down to it, the Watersports Department was the only option. “Growing up I lived close to the beach and would often go snorkeling with my father. I loved the ocean. This is why the only option for me was Watersports. I just loved the beach.”
Even so, Shanissa states that when she commenced her training she realized that the department was completely different from what she expected. “It wasn’t just beach activities as I anticipated. There were various components including the pools, diving and snorkeling, which really got me interested in trying my hand at everything.” Being the youngest in the department at the time, Shanissa indicates that her strategy was to stick to her more senior colleagues and learn all they had to teach.
It was during this time that Watersports Manager, Raymond Campbell realized her potential and decided to take her on as a member of staff upon completion of the training programme. “I was impressed with her work ethic and she always had the right attitude. There was nothing that you would ask her to do, that she would say no to.” Shanissa quickly transitioned from an HTP to a permanent team member, taking on the role of Watersports Shop Attendant.
This was only the beginning for her as Shanissa fully embraced the opportunity and capitalised on every avenue to propel herself in the field and often asked her manager for time to practice her dives. “I’ve always had the full support and encouragement of my team, something which I am very grateful for. It has never been an issue to allow me time to go practice my dives or to learn something new.”
This enabled her to attain several qualifications in her field. She says, “Sandals has made it possible for me to attain a number of qualifications including Discovery Scuba, Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver, Open Water Scuba Instructor and Master Scuba Diver Trainer. I was able to enroll in and complete online courses provided through the Sandals Corporate University, which has aided in my growth and development. These very opportunities, have also allowed travel to countries throughout the Caribbean region.”
Shanissa is also trained in executing specialized dives such as for underwater photography, how to safely dive on shipwrecks, deep water and peak performance dives, coral planting, and hunting of invasive lionfish species.
Not satisfied with what she has achieved so far, however, Shanissa is intent on securing her Boat Captain License and attaining qualifications as a Staff Instructor. “My love for the field over the past 11 years has grown tremendously and I have absolutely no regrets. Working with Sandals has afforded me immense opportunity; I have been able to chart a career path with even more areas for growth and development in the future. One day I hope to be a Watersports Manager and lead my own team.”
The team at Sandals Regency La Toc Golf Resort and Spa has no doubt that with Shanissa’s motivation, drive and dedication, she will be able to achieve all her goals. Shanissa is the embodiment of the core values of the Sandals Brand and the company remains resolute in playing a significant role in her growth and development.