This is Not So Status Quo, a series where we shine a light on YOTEL crew members who work hard to challenge the status quo in whatever they do. First up is Design Manager Sam Wilkinson at London HQ. Keep reading to find out more!
HEY SAM! TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR ROLE AT YOTEL AND WHAT YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LOOKS LIKE.
My role is Design Manager in our business development and tech services team at London HQ. I get to see all the potential projects YOTEL is looking to sign – then work with our partners to get them off the ground and have them end up as ‘YOTEL’ as we can get them. I also look at the wider design aspects of new hotels, everything from pool concepts to looking at light layouts in every room, so my day-to-day is an interesting mix!
It's been amazing to end up at YOTEL where I can focus on the bigger vision of the brand instead of the more project-based work I’ve done in the past. I get to work with a lot of amazing people outside the industry in this role too, so it’s been a great experience so far.
HOW DO RUNNING AND FITNESS HELP YOU CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO?
Running's always been a part of my routine which keeps me in a good headspace. It helps bring good energy with me to work, and also in my personal life. Taking part in bigger races and marathons has taught me to be consistent and to always push myself. Hospitality has a reputation for being a tiring space to work in and I think we can all be victims of that at times. By carving out time to go for a run, I can claim part of my day back so I’m not always working on someone else’s agenda. Whether it’s running or another hobby, just taking the time out is important. Go for a walk or find a park and do some yoga – whatever you’re into! Those small things can make such a big difference to our health and well-being. It’s all in the balance.
YOU RECENTLY RAN THE NEW YORK MARATHON! WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO TAKE ON THAT CHALLENGE?
I’d originally planned to run in 2020 but COVID, unfortunately, got in the way. New York is one of the best world majors with upwards of 65,000 entrants, so I had to do it! I’m trying to take part in an event a month, whether that’s running or a triathlon; it’s a great excuse to make a trip out of it.
It’s very strange to see any city on foot when you’re running a marathon. Especially with an event of that size in NYC; the whole thing’s set up for the runners. You get to run through all five boroughs which is something you could never do on a regular day, let alone on foot. The crowds are known to be amazing in New York – they were remarkable the whole way through! There was everything from the NYPD doing helicopter flybys over the city – it gets very hyped up.
HOW LONG HAS RUNNING BEEN A PASSION OF YOURS?
I’ve always been a runner to varying degrees since I was a kid. I started taking it seriously after Uni and it’s been in my life ever since. I find it so relaxing; even if I’m tired it makes me feel better and ready for the day. I do most of my running in winter then switch to Triathlons through the summer - so my year is almost based around that. I don’t run every day but for a sport that’s so accessible, I know it’s something I will always try to do – I feel a bit lost without it!
HOW DO YOU INTEGRATE RUNNING INTO YOUR WORK AND PERSONAL LIFE?
Day-to-day, I’ll try to run to and from the office – I love running along the River Thames in the morning; it’s the best start to a day. When it comes to larger events and milestones I want to reach, I really love travelling to do it – whether it's New York or somewhere new in the UK. I'll also tend to chuck some trainers in my suitcase when I travel and get up pretty early so I can squeeze a run in. It’s a great time of day to do it, feels like it’s just you, the locals and the garbage collectors! Getting lost in a new city on foot is always helpful if I’m there for work too, rather than googling or taking a cab to the hotspots I get a better perspective. There’s always something I see that sparks inspiration for the design of a hotel.