Leader of the Future: Christine Rumbaua

By: Amy Watkins

Christine Rumbaua is a shining example of how inspiring mentors create inspiring leaders. At only 23 years old, Rumbaua is now second in command at Days Inn by Wyndham Vancouver Downtown.

“Inspiring mentors create inspiring leaders.”

She didn’t intend to pursue a career in hospitality, having originally applied to study film at Capilano University. However, the universe had other ideas, and Rumbaua ended up gaining a Bachelor degree in her second choice, Tourism Management, instead.

She actually began her tourism career working as a Rides Attendant at the PNE at age 15 and then as Guest Experience Guide at FlyOver Canada. In 2018, she joined Harbour Cruises as a Tour Sales Agent and worked her way up to her current role as Tour Sales Supervisor.

“I loved being part of the guest experience and showing guests the beauty of Vancouver,” she says. “I wanted to pursue hotels and started working at the Blue Horizon hotel as a Guest Services Agent in 2019.”

After COVID-19 lay-offs in 2020, Rumbaua saw an advertisement for a Front Office Supervisor position at the Days Inn by Wyndham Vancouver Downtown. “I didn’t feel like I had the proper skillset to excel in this role, considering I only had six months of experience in hotels, but I decided to apply anyway,” she says. “To my surprise, I was hired.”

Within six months she was awarded a certificate of achievement for earning a spot in the Days Inner Circle for providing the highest level of service excellence. From August 2021 to June 2022, she worked on rebuilding the Front Office team to what it is today.

When the Assistant General Manager role needed filling in July 2022, General Manager Dave Stevens hired from within. “I was ready to take on a new challenge and mentor an even bigger group (housekeeping, front office, maintenance, restaurant),” says Rumbaua. “I moved up to this role not knowing what to expect, but very excited for the challenges ahead.”

“Talent knows no age.”

Being the youngest employee brought imposter syndrome. “I overcame this by acknowledging I’m here today because my boss and mentor Dave saw my potential and capability to deliver in the role,” she says. “I do my best to focus on the tasks at hand and create a plan to complete them. I remind myself every day that talent knows no age and I am capable of the challenges that come my way.”

Rumbaua credits Stevens and her other current boss Josephine Clarke at Harbour Cruises for her confidence and skills.  “Josephine’s not only taught me proper phone etiquette and customer service skills, but confidence and personable skills that I’ll take with me through my career,” she explains. “Dave has given me an insight on the trends in the accommodation sector and where my career could take me from here on out. Despite my age, he doesn’t see me any differently and he treats me as an equal colleague.”

“I’ve witnessed so many great qualities in Christine, but what really pulls it all together is the self-motivated attitude she possesses,” says Stevens. “This constant desire for growth has created a remarkable base on which she is building herself as a leader of the future.”

“Learn from people you admire and be open to unexpected opportunities.”

Now Rumbaua uses the same compassionate approach to leadership. “I approach situations like a mentor approaching a mentee,” she says. “I like taking people under my wing and helping them achieve their individual goals. I try to motivate my staff both intrinsically and extrinsically, to create a positive outlook in the workplace. I also do my best to empathize with each situation and mitigate the roadblocks they encounter that would diminish their performance.”

Her advice to other young leaders is simple: Learn from people you admire and be open to unexpected opportunities; don’t limit yourself.