General Manager of The Caledonian by Thistle Graduates from Leadership Scholarship

Deborah McHardy, general manager of Thistle’s recently transformed The Caledonian by Thistle hotel has proven she has what it takes to lead her colleagues to being the very best in the business, with her successful completion of a Leadership for Managers Scholarship programme in Geneva. 

Developed by Scotland’s leading hotels body; the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland, the programme saw the country’s top hotel talent come together to understand how they can inspire colleagues and become the most effective leaders. 

Taking time out from managing the busy 83-bedroomed hotel, located in the city-centre on Union Terrace, Deborah went back to the classroom to attend a series of workshops, seminars and lectures for the scholarship - recently returning from the Hospitality Consulting University in Lausanne, Geneva, where she undertook the intensive three day programme.

Encouraging a positive attitude in the hotel, building morale, keeping focussed success goals and learning how to monitor the changing industry to ensure the hotel is always inline with the market, were all lessons Deborah had to learn to achieve her qualification.

Successfully completing the scholarship and returning to her role at the hotel, Deborah admits the programme has completely enhanced her management style and altered how she plans to take the refurbished Caledonian hotel into a new class of hotel:

“The scholarship has inspired me to instil a real sense of team energy and enthusiasm in colleagues to ensure the hotel’s standards are the very best they can be.  With the completion of the property’s £4.5million refurbishment and upgrade to Thistle’s new brand standards, there’s never been a better time to set the hotel’s future ambitions.

“I’m going to remain passionate and positive; leading by example to ensure The Caledonian, reaches new heights.”

Heiko Figge, chief operating officer, Thistle Hotels adds: “Deborah’s success with the Leadership Scholarship only proves the calibre of Thistle’s colleagues and the determination of these colleagues to ensure we offer only excellence.”

Deborah has been with Thistle, managing The Caledonian for over three years.  A natural in the hospitality industry, Deborah originally from Stonehaven, has spent her 18-year career in hotels; working up the career ladder from her kitchen porter role, through to sales, revenue and operations manger, until achieving a position as general manager.

The Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland works to achieve high standards of excellence in Scottish hospitality and encourages managers to achieve their potential through training and scholarships - such as the Leadership for Managers Scholarship achieved by Deborah.