When Mbali Hlongwane joined the Durban ICC, she had only dreamed of travelling internationally, but now her dream is about to become a reality.
The 27-year old Sales and Events Coordinator has been selected by the American Hospitality Academy for an 18-month internship in Florida. The internship is designed to give young professionals in the tourism industry the opportunity to add to their training and gain international work experience.
Born and raised in Ladysmith, she came to Durban in 2004 to obtain her Diploma in Hospitality Management. Having worked previously with Southern Sun Hotels, she joined the Durban ICC team in 2010 and has not looked back since. During her time at the Centre she has become a trusted member of the team, and has worked on every type of booking imaginable, ranging from corporate conferences and banquets to concerts and exhibitions.
Mbali underwent a stringent interview and selection process to be chosen from among thousands of applicants for the internship position. As part of her selection, the American Hospitality Academy has subsidised Mbali’s tuition and her cost of her visa. The internship programme provides advanced management training and the opportunity for work-experience in the Food and Beverage field.
She attributes her selection to hard work, determination and the valuable experience she acquired at the Durban ICC. Commenting on the news of her selection, Mbali noted “I am deeply grateful to the people at the ICC who believed in me and gave me the chance to prove myself. These people have played a defining role in my career and given me the confidence to unleash my true potential.”
“We are all very proud of Mbali and whilst we will miss her dearly, we wish her every success in this exciting new chapter of her career. Mbali is testament to what can be achieved when someone takes the opportunities presented to them and applies themselves to the job at hand”, commented Julie-May Ellingson, Chief Executive Officer of the Durban ICC.
Mbali leaves for the United States in November to begin her internship at Casa Marina, a Waldorf Astoria resort situated in Key West, Florida.