This month, OHLALA talks about success and challenges with Cristalyn Pastrana, Complex Director of Marketing, The Westin and Le Meridien City Centre Bahrain.
“We learned to find ways to turn adversities into opportunities. We were able to challenge ourselves more to be grateful and resourceful and find a solution to sustain the business. ” – Cristalyn Pastrana
OHLALA – How did hospitality enter your life?
Cristalyn Pastrana – I started my hospitality career in Jordan 15 years ago in the Mövenpick Dead Sea. I have since been working in hospitality marketing focused on marketing strategies, specialised in public and media relations, digital marketing, branding, social media and web management in the Middle East with international hotel chains. What I like about my hospitality job is that it allows me to travel the world and work in different countries.
OHLALA – What have been the three main highlights in your career until now?
Cristalyn – The first one would be my promotion to the Director role in 2014 at the Sheraton Bahrain Hotel. Second, taking the Cluster Director of Marketing position for Sheraton, The Westin & Le Meridien City Centre Bahrain, was a significant step forward in my career. And the third one was the opening of our newest Spanish restaurant, Salero, at The Westin City Centre Bahrain. It was a great opportunity to put together a marketing strategy and execution for this new addition to Bahrain’s dining scene, especially at this time.
OHLALA – Which part of your job do you like the most?
Cristalyn – I love the brainstorming part and creating offers with our team. You would be amazed at all the ideas coming from restaurant managers, chefs and the rest of the team. It is also a special moment when we debrief after a successful event, and you get to share the details of the achievements with the team.
OHLALA – What has been the biggest challenge you have had in your career so far? And how did you overcome it?
Cristalyn – Covid-19 has affected everyone in the world and, most especially, our industry. It was a challenging time for us because there were moments when we needed to completely shut down operations of the outlets and even the hotel due to restrictions. However, at the same time, we learned different things, and we became more resilient. We learned to find ways to turn adversities into opportunities. We were able to challenge ourselves more to be grateful and resourceful and find a solution to sustain the business.
OHLALA – How long have you been living in Bahrain? What do you like most about the island?
Cristalyn – I have been in Bahrain for 12 years. The Kingdom will always have a special place in my life; my only daughter was born here from a personal perspective. Still, even profession-wise, Bahrain has given me many opportunities to excel in my career in the hospitality industry.
OHLALA – If you could change one thing in your life or the world, what would it be?
Cristalyn – My life is not perfect, just like everyone else, but I would not change anything in my life at all. Contentment is key, and I am grateful for the life that I have.