Sisters are doing it for themselves!

August is women’s month and at First Group we are celebrating the super-star ladies that run some of the best-loved properties in our portfolio.

Learn more about:

Jolene Miller
Hastings Hall & Mount Sierra


Jolene started off from humble beginnings as a receptionist with the Protea Hotels group and quickly progressed to the post of General Manager at the Hatfield Manor Protea Hotel in Pretoria at just 21 years old! She then made the leap ‘across the pond’ to the United Kingdom, serving as Assistant General Manager and Administrator before returning to home soil to fulfill a position as office and administration manager for the highly esteemed Gary Player and Lost City golf courses.

  • What are your favourite things about the property(s) you manage?
    The most amazing view of Table Mountain! What a privilege to live in SA`s most beautiful, vibrant city.
  • What are some of the challenges you face as a female in your industry?
    None – I don’t have to stand back for anyone if I give full commitment to a job that I am passionate about.
  • What drives you?
    I am a very determined individual who strives for perfection and I want to achieve exceptional heights in the hospitality industry.
  • How do you balance work and family?
    You have to make every effort to switch off from ‘GM’ and turn into ‘mom’ and be there for the kids 100% as they are the people that motivate you to achieve absolute success and make it all worthwhile!


Shamini Pather
The Palace Resort & Spa


After completing her training at the ML Sultan Hotel School and Tsogo Sun group, Shamini’s career has grown from strength-to-strength, holding a number of positions at some of KwaZulu-Natal’s most highly esteemed properties, including the Elangeni Hotel, the luxury Royal Palm Hotel, the 4-star Riverside Hotel and is now enjoying her post as General Manager of one of First Group’s most prized properties, The Palace Resort and Spa on Durban’s Golden Mile boulevard.

  • What are some of the favourite things about the property you manage?
    What I like most about The Palace is its flexibility. It has qualities to sell itself as a resort as well as a corporate / conference city hotel. It is beautiful and its architecture alone is very majestic.
  • What are some of the challenges you face as a female in your industry?
    In all honesty I really believe that the days of females facing any challenges are a thing of the past. People love interacting with women, we have the ability to be both emotional as well as the ability to be really hard, which always helps when you are dealing with suppliers etc.
  • What drives you?
    Passion for the Industry. I have never once believed I made the wrong career move, in fact I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.
  • How do you balance work and family?
    By just being honest. I always make time for my family and I believe in empowering my staff, but I also understand and so do my family that when I am needed at work, it will come first.


Grace Brink
Club Hacienda

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Grace has a varied career history, starting out as a secretary, moving from the engineering industry into litigation and bonds and then into law, as a legal secretary. She then moved on to hold the position of a Public Relations Officer, all the while owning her own hairdressing salon. Since then she and her husband have owned and managed a number of businesses, including three restaurants and a pub! Grace now manages Club Hacienda in Margate and is most definitely no stranger to hard work and dedication.

  • What are some of the favourite things about the property you manage?
    My guests – because without them there would be no resort to run!
  • What are some of the challenges you face as a female in your industry?
  1. To keep all my guests happy and well looked after
  2. To run an efficient and well-maintained resort
  3. To maintain the high standards and expectations of all our guests
  4. To ensure that all guests are treated equally
  • What drives you?
    All the positive comments and feedback from our guests and to know that the sacrifices made are not in vain
  • How do you balance work and family?
    My work is my family – I reside on the property and am on call whenever needed. My family reside in Johannesburg and I see them perhaps once a year.


Petra Meyer
La Cote d’Azur

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Petra’s hospitality career began in 1992 at the luxury Kruger Park Lodge under the umbrella of Legacy Hotels & Resorts. After five years of service, she was promoted to her current position of General Manager at one of First Group’s most popular and best-loved south coast properties and has loyally served her post with First Group for 19 years!

  • What are some of the favourite things about the property you manage?
    Location, the magnificent views and luxurious accommodation
  • What are some of the challenges you face as a female in your industry?


  • What drives you?
    New Initiatives and there is always room for improvement
  • How do you balance work and family?
    Prioritizing and time management.


















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