HIS bubbly personality and down-to-earth character is the first thing that is going to strike your eyes as you set foot on Castaway Island, Fiji.
And he is not just an employee who is there to welcome you but the resort duty manager or the face of Castaway as some joke about.
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In fact, Lingo Reece has been part of the Castaway Island family for the past 29 years and he loves every moment of it because the resort, probably, one of the biggest in the Mamanuca Group is what he calls home.
If it wasn’t for those struggles, sweat and tears, Lingo would not have made it to where he is today.
He started from scratch. He worked his way up the ladder before earning himself a position with the resort.
He was just an ordinary teenager who just left his village in Kadavu to look for jobs in Suva.
Lingo worked for some time at Pacific Harbour before being asked by a cousin, who worked with Castaway at that time, to join him in the Activities Department.
From then on, Lingo never looked back. He believed activities was just the right place for him as he had a taste for meeting new people and making friends with each and every person he met along the way.
“I started here in activities and I was brought here by one of my cousins who used to work in activities so he knew my personality, considering that in activities, the demand is very strong,” Lingo proudly shared.
“You have to get the right person to work in this department and personality is a big demand and when my cousin left a few years later, I took over the role as activities manager.
“A few years after, I also looked after activities as well as sales and marketing, I remembered in those days there were a lot of consumer shows so I travelled to Sydney, Melbourne and a few other places doing marketing and it has been an interesting journey as I started in the industry very young and I was about 17, straight out from the village.”
Travelling according to the bubbly Lingo has assisted him a lot gaining the much needed confidence he needed especially being a young kid on the block when he first started.
And it was his village upbringing that instilled in him respect and humility which assisted him a lot to survive in a competitive work environment.
“When you are brought up in the village, life teaches you so many different things and I am a testimony to this.
“The village life teaches you so many good things and it can mould your life to be a very different person in life. I believe I am successful today because of what I was taught growing up.
“I am so humbled and I would like to thank my parents and my village elders for instilling in me respect and humility as these are the two qualities of life which have been my motivation and anchor all throughout.”
Lingo’s tourism experience has even gone to an extent that when a tourist visits the resort and introduces himself, he knows exactly how to handle them.
“Most of us now in managerial positions start from the bottom, we worked our way up the ranks, we all worked hard to be where we are today.
“The demand in such an industry is always big, they will demand for you to work the extra hours, you work holidays and if you take your work with pride you will always be proud of yourself and the work you do.
“I have always advised the younger people in the tourism industry that the demand is always there but the right personality is always needed … nothing more nothing less.”
Lingo’s experience has even established his name on the annual tourism awards as he has won the individual employees awards twice.
But what more could be his secret to success?
“The Lord watches what you do every day and he gave you this Earth to work on it and work hard on it.
“You need to believe in the Lord in everything you do on this Earth,” he added.