Ruth Zukerman, Director of Public Relations, Conrad Bali Resort, at the end of January 2011 will be leaving the hotel that she helped open. A recognized expert in the areas of sales, marketing and public relations with a decades' long career including assignments in Australia, Europe, Asia, the U.S.A. and her native Australia – Ruth leaves behind one of Bali's most successful resorts.
Warm, witty, approachable and the ultimate professional – she has a large circle of friends and admirers in her adopted home of Bali.
As a colleague and a friend, Balidiscovery.com cherishes Ruth's demonstrated determination to always put Bali first - whether pitching in to restore a deteriorating monument, joining junior staff in a beach clean-up or donating her considerable talents in helping to strategize Bali's recovery after the terror attacks of 2002 and 2005.
Balidiscovery.com caught up with the unfailingly charming " Ibu Ruth" for the following brief interview:
The Interview – Ruth Zukerman, Director of Public Relations, Conrad Bali Resort
Balidiscovery.com: Ruth, cast your mind back to your First contact with Indonesia. Can you recall your initial impression?
Zukerman: "My first contact with Bali was jubilant. I came to Bali to see the Conrad project and meet with Michael Burchett - the soon to be General Manager, and the rest of the project team. Michael took me to KuDeTa to show me what a very chic place Bali is in which to live and work. Little did he know I didn't need any convincing; I had already decided that I was definitely going to take the position."
Balidiscovery.com: How have things have changed over the course of your assignment?
Zukerman: "Now a number one destination with many new hotels ranging from three to five stars, an increasingly array of outstanding attractions and facilities on offer to visitors, and an array of almost innumerable excellent dinning opportunities - Bali can now easily compete with any other destination, a fact proven by the number of important awards it has won and its reputation worldwide."
"However, among the challenges Bali faces are preserving its natural environment, worsening traffic congestion and over-development."
Balidiscovery.com: Your funniest moment?
Zukerman: "Suddenly realizing I am in my bathrobe holding my passport and lipstick as I prepared to evacuate the building after my first earth tremor."
Balidiscovery.com: Any poignant Indonesian moments?
Zukerman: "Tending to the Pan American monument located in a isolated mangrove behind Taman Festival, Sanur. After finding out that the Senior VP of Hilton for F&B had perished in the Pan American crash in Bali in 1974, a team of from Conrad Bali located the monument that was in a sad state of disrepair, overgrown with grass and weeds. Now well-tended and repaired, we now visit every month to tend to the monument and make offerings. Many of the relatives of the victims have located us to offer thanks. I am assured the caring of the monument will continue forever."
Balidiscovery.com: What were your highs and lows?
Zukerman: "High points – the enormous privilege of living and working in Bali. The dear friends I have made during the past 8 years and, of course, the Conrad Bali management and team members."
"In 2009 I returned to Bali after an absence of 4 months due to illness and lavished in the outstanding genuine love and support I received from Michael Burchett, the Conrad management, team members and my friends in Bali."
"Also, being commended for my role in assisting with the Public Relations and the sales and marking in the Australian market following the Bali incidents."
"Low points - seeing Bali without visitors following the terrible incidents of the 2002 and 2005 terrorist attacks."
Balidiscovery.com: What are your short term plans?
Zukerman: "Returning to Australia to be with family and friends. To explore opportunities, some of which have already been discussed. To complete a renovation of my Sydney apartment to make it look like a stunning Bali hotel Suite!"
Balidiscovery.com: Any chance we will see you back in Bali?
Zukerman: "Indonesia will be part of me forever; I will be a very frequent visitor to the Island."
Balidiscovery.com: Your colleagues in Bali admired the thoughtful leadership you displayed to help Bali get 'back on its feet' after the bombings of 2002 and 2005. Obviously, this has been more than a mere job for you.
In the same vein, anyone who knows you can't escape noticing your deep attachment to the Conrad. Tell us a little about the "love of your life" for the past eight years.
Zukerman: "The past 8 years have been extremely exciting and rewarding witnessing the creation of the hotel and its development from construction through to the launch and subsequent success. It's been a privilege to help create an industry benchmark with a strong service philosophy and culture, and basking in the genuine sincerity and warmth of the team members who contributed to the resort being established internationally. I will forever hold dear 682 of the most extraordinary team members you will meet anywhere in the world."
Balidiscovery.com: Amen. Any parting hopes and aspirations for the hotel, its staff and the Island of Bali?
Zukerman: "To my very close friends and colleagues: I thank you and wish you all the best in the future."
"To Michael Burchett and Conrad Bali: Thank you for your friendship and the marvelous opportunity you have given me."
"To the people of Bali: I need not comment, because the Gods have already blessed you."
"This has been an exceptional experience and a journey of honor. I will forever have a deep affection for Bali, the culture and the island's people."
Note: Drop Ruth Zukerman an email at ruthzukerman[at]gmail.com.
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