Mid Year Highlights 2015

Featuring news (in sequence) from Saint Maarten, Jamaica, the USA, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, South Africa, Burkina Faso & Mexico. (January – June)


Saint Maarten, Caribbean
Sonesta Great Bay, Tue 3 – Fri 6 February

Founded in 1943, Sonesta builds, owns, manages and designs hotels throughout the world. Today, the Sonesta Collection comprises more than 55 properties in the USA and in destinations such as Saint Maarten, Panama, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Egypt. On 19 October 2013, a GULL briefing took place at the newly renovated Sonesta Great Bay (SGB) in support of a 15 month-long GULL pilot led by SGB General Manager, Karl Bourne and facilitated by Training & Development specialist Roxann Anderson.

The main objective of the pilot was to create an integrated customer service and guest satisfaction tracking system (a group project). Additionally the eight participating managers undertook and implemented an array of other improvement initiatives.


(Above left) The Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort Philipsburg St Maarten.

(Above right) SGB General Manager Karl Bourne pictured with one of five international awards arising from the SGB with GULL pilot programme outcomes.




Sonesta graduation day
Thursday 5 February

SGB is using the GULL system to secure incremental improvements in customer service, revenue and guest satisfaction. Roxann Anderson, Group Facilitator explains: ‘Our aim is to be as effective and responsive as possible and GULL has been our vehicle for multiple projects – all of which have been implemented and are yielding benefits for SGB.’

To build on the outcomes secured by the pilot group of departmental managers, Karl and Roxann are initiating a Sonesta Academy that will provide GULL pathways for the staff of all three Sonesta Resorts in St Maarten (around 1,000 staff). The Academy launches on 1st July, 2015.


(Above left) SGB managers prepare to receive their GULL professional degree.

(Above right) Karl Bourne accepts the Sonesta Group Employee Engagement Award for 2014. This Award reflects the fact that SGB has the lowest turnover of staff and also staff that consistently deliver Sonesta’s service promise to customers.




Montego Bay, Jamaica
Sunday 8 February

In September 2014, a GULL pilot began for young adults in Seaford, a rural community in Westmoreland, Jamaica. On Sunday 8 February, the first two participants received their foundation level certificates at a ceremony in Montego Bay. Guest of Honour, Revd Dr Ena Grierson Thomas said: ‘A mind once expanded should not return to its original form – our consciousness has been awakened and with it comes a new way of thinking.

This is how GULL – working with people in the community – can help participants to develop the self- worth and confidence needed to take them to the next level.’


(Above left) Young adults from Seaford and mature professionals from Montego Bay pictured at the graduation event.

(Above right) Karen Adair receives her professional doctorate from Richard Teare, Norma Taylor and Ena Grierson Thomas (right).




New York, USA
Compass Group North America briefing, Tue 10 February

On Tuesday 10 February, a team representing some of the Compass North America brands gathered for a GULL briefing led by Richard Teare, Edward Mooney and Danielle Mooney. The Compass brand Eurest has run three successful pilot groups for hourly paid associates and salaried staff and with the support of Eurest Division President Mark Maloney, the group had gathered to discuss ways of widening involvement in GULL’s work with participation by other brands.

Given the company’s rate of expansion, wider deployment of GULL will enable Compass to extend its succession planning effort and utilize the GULL system to augment the range of development options available to its hourly paid associates. The next phase of this exciting initiative will commence in mid-2015.

(Above left) Pastor Joseph (left of centre) with team members at the budget hotel, owned and operated by JWCS.

(Right and centre) Eileen Springer, Senior Vice President, Talent Acquisition & Development, Compass Group North America with her colleagues and Danielle Mooney (second left), Richard Teare (third from right) and GULL Chairman Edward Mooney (second from right).




Porto, Portugal
Thursday 12 February

GULL’s work is partially supported by Richard Teare’s role as managing editor of the journal Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Trends (WHATT). WHATT is published by Emerald Group, a leading publisher of management journals and every issue aims to address an industry-related problem.

WHATT Volume 6 Number 5, 2014 explored the question ‘Did the context of economic crisis affect the image of Portugal as a tourist destination?’ WHATT theme editors Jorge Costa, João Gomes and Monica Montenegro linked publication of this issue to an annual Annual International Forum attended by some 300 industry representatives.


(Above left - left to right) Daniel Berze, Executive Publisher Emerald Group, Dr Jorge Costa, President, IPDT – Institute of Tourism, Portugal and Richard Teare

(Above right) International Forum delegates at the WHATT theme issue launch on 12 February at the Hotel Solverde, Porto Portugal.




United Arab Emirates
Abu Dhabi, Tuesday 17 March

WHATT theme editor Eunice Taylor worked as a Policy Specialist at the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) and as an outcome of this work, Eunice and her colleagues were able to provide a comprehensive response to the question: ‘What action can government take to improve food safety in a diverse and multi-cultural hospitality industry?’ (WHATT Volume 7, Number 1, 2015).

The writing team drew on a four year strategic initiative dedicated to assessing and improving food safety management in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Taken together, the seven articles in this collection form an essential resource for anyone with an interest in how to secure sustainable improvements in food safety management.


(Above left) 150 practitioners and government agency staff attended the journal issue launch event at ADFCA’s offices.

(Above right) Theme issue contributors pictured with WHATT managing editor Richard Teare and a representative from Emerald’s regional office.




Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Thursday 19 – Tuesday 24 March

Ulaanbaatar is Mongolia’s capital and largest city, located in north central Mongolia at an elevation of about 1,310 metres. In 2014, its population was more than 1.3 million. World Vision Mongolia (WVM) began its Learning for Transformation (LfT) with GULL programme in 2014 (building on successful piloting by WV Lanka) and the purpose of Richard Teare’s visit to Ulaanbaatar was to meet the LfT with GULL team and to brief them on other potential applications of the GULL system.


(Above left) A view of the snow-covered hills surrounding the city. Due to its high elevation, latitude and location - hundreds of kilometres from any coast - Ulaanbaatar is considered to be the coldest national capital in the world.

(Above right) Completing LfT with GULL module 2. The WVM team from around the country celebrate with the LfT facilitators Nigel Goddard from World Vision Laos and Viraj Abeysekera from World Vision Lanka.




World Vision Mongolia
GULL briefing, 20, 21 and 24 March

Three of the LfT with GULL cluster leaders together with other technical specialists are serving as GULL resource persons and they will design and implement additional GULL pathways aligned with WVM’s priorities. These include: the integration of GULL with a funding proposal to develop community healthcare volunteers, the rapid deployment of GULL so that volunteers can participate prior to the completion of community partnerships with WVM and personal and professional development for WVM staff.


(Above left) Saturday 21 March: Members of the LfT with GULL lead team and WVM head office staff. This group will develop a number of GULL pathways during 2015.

(Above right) Sunday 22 March: Pastor Munkhtuvshin with Richard Teare at the door of his church plant in Ulaanbaatar. The church provides support to internal migrants from the Mongolian countryside who live in nearby camps.




Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
World Vision PNG, 12-17 April

In 2014, World Vision Papua New Guinea (WV PNG) began to link WV’s integrated competency development (ICD) approach with GULL. In recognition of her innovative work, GULL core team member Grace Heaoa recently won a WV award for successfully developing pathways that strengthen the capacity, self-awareness and competency of WV PNG staff and volunteers.


(Above left) Richard Teare met with WV PNG core team members, field staff from Madang and education and health specialists for a review and planning workshop from Mon 13 -Thu 16 April at the country office in Port Moresby.

(Above right) The ICD with GULL leadership group from Madang explored options for extending their work and ways of involving community volunteers in quantifying the social return on investment arising from their ICD with GULL development pathway. Our white board was brimming with ideas!




Celebrating outcomes
WV PNG, Port Moresby, Thursday 16 April

A number of country office staff have recently started their ICD with GULL journey and we celebrated completion of their foundation stage work on 16 April. Last year, 80 volunteers and 20 staff received GULL certificates reflecting different levels of achievement. Among the outcomes, Education Management Committees and volunteers in Madang established 10 community learning centres for children aged between 3-13. Additionally, two learning centres in Central Bougainville are now self-sustaining as an outcome of the WV PNG with GULL pathway. The next step is to widen access to GULL and among others, WV staff and volunteers involved in administering the national Tuberculosis programme will participate.


(Above left) Completing the foundation stage – WV PNG staff on 16 April.

(Above right) Celebrating outcomes with a sumptuous buffet lunch.




Annual Graduation, Kuala Lumpur, Sunday 3 May

GULL’s 5th Annual Malaysian Graduation took place on Sunday 3 May at the Vivatel Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. The event was attended by more than 300 students and family members. GULL South East Asia (SEA) led by Dato’ Dr Vincent Tang has developed an innovative network of more than 40 associate centres throughout the region, spanning both commercial workplace and non-commercial community service applications.


(Above left) GULL SEA is proud of the fact that many of its graduates left school with few qualifications and did not anticipate that they would be able to gain professional awards that affirm their readiness for employment.

(Above right) The associate centre network focuses on developing professional practice skills and all students must demonstrate attainment of a range of skills in each centre’s own realistic work environment prior to receiving GULL’s professional Certificate or Diploma awards.




Community Care in Action
Visit to an Associate Centre, 4 May

GULL’s action learning system is used for personal and professional development by a number of non-profit agencies in Kuala Lumpur. In 1998, Dr Tiew Chew Ming founded Persatuan Kebajikan Kanak-Kanak Istimewa Insan (PKKII) a residential home that currently cares for 47 brain-injured children, supported by a team of volunteers that vary in number from 30 to 50 people.

PKKII faces a number of operational challenges – it has to sustain a sponsorship network and recruit and train its own volunteers. As the care schedules vary from child to child, extensive technical training is needed and so together with GULL, PKKII has been able to integrate its training with action learning via the creation of a staff development pathway to GULL awards.


(Above left) Dr Tiew (PKKII founder) and Dato’ Dr Tang (President, GULL SEA)

(Above right) Pictured with Dr Richard Teare (President GULL) and some of the children who live at the PKKII’s residential centre in Kuala Lumpur.




Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Back to School for Parents, Wed 27 May

Bruce Damons, Principal of Sapphire Road Primary School, Port Elizabeth, South Africa has developed an innovative volunteer programme so that unemployed parents can assist in various aspects of the life of the school. The school’s catchment area is characterized by low formal education levels and high unemployment and so a group of staff together with 14 volunteers are designing and piloting a programme they have called ‘Ubunye’ or ‘Unity’.


(Above left) Sapphire Road Primary School volunteers and staff are piloting action learning with GULL to enable parents to play a more active role in supporting their children.

(Above right) On 27 May, the group began implementing three learning pathways with support from GULL. These include parenting tools and study skills development to equip parents to help pupils in Grades 1 to 3 (foundation phase) and Grades 4-6 (intermediate phase).




Burkina Faso, West Africa
Inaugural Graduation, Friday 29 May

Designed and developed by GULL Ambassador, Dr Francis Njoroge, the ‘Church and Community Mobilization Process’ (CCMP) supported by GULL is helping to secure community-led development throughout the African continent. The international UK-based agency Tearfund has enabled CCMP to expand via its network of national offices and on 29 May, the inaugural CCMP with GULL graduation event took place in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Representing both CCMP and GULL, Dr Ngoroge presented the awards at an event attended by the Vice President, Assemblies of God, Burkina Faso and the President, Federation des Eglises et Missions Evangeliques (FEME) Burkina Faso.


(Above left) Five experienced CCMP facilitators received GULL’s Bachelor of Professional Studies (Church & Community Mobilization Process)

(Above right) Mbairodbbe Njegollmi, Tearfund Country Representative with his wife.




Charlotte, North Carolina
Compass North America start-up, 4-5 June

In 2008, Eurest, a division of Compass Group North America began piloting GULL among their hourly paid frontline employees, many of whom have had limited educational opportunity. By linking a development pathway with coaching and workplace improvement project work, the participants of this and two subsequent pilot groups were able to advance personally and professionally.

Given these outcomes, senior representatives from four Compass Divisions met in June at the the company’s headquarters for a briefing facilitated by Richard Teare. A lead group of 11 participants is now implementing GULL more widely and will meet to review progress in January 2016.


(Above left) Day 1 of the briefing – small groups draft and discuss their own pathway designs.

(Above right) Day 2 – ending well! After discussing action points and next steps, the group parted to begin with GULL in four divisions of America’s largest food service company.




Tijuana, Mexico
GULL updates, 7-8 June

Dr Patricia Hartasanchez began using GULL more than 5 years ago in her role as an education specialist with an international agency. Now with Eduardo Smith they have set-up a non-profit organization to introduce GULL to Latin America. Patricia, Eduardo and Richard Teare met on 7-8 June in Tijuana to discuss current initiatives and plans for the region. Richard greatly enjoyed his stay with Eduardo’s family and wonderful home cooking by Eduardo’s mother Minerva.


(Above left) Patricia, Eduardo, Richard and members of Eduardo’s family discuss next steps for GULL in Latin America.

(Above right) Patricia and Eduardo aim to introduce the GULL system to a wide range of community-based organizations in Latin America and additionally to reach out to Spanish speaking communities in the USA.


GULL is a non-profit public benefit corporation registered in California, USA. GULL’s mandate to confer professional awards is based on a statement of recognition offered in perpetuity and signed by the Head of State and the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea on 10 April 2007. GULL is also endorsed by other Governments, Leaders and Institutions.

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