TEE MANA-BENNINGTON - Village Manager

About the author : Brand and Communications Team
Published on : 6/30/22
  • Tee’s respect for her fellow person extends beyond her family ties and is a trait she has been recognised for throughout her career. Starting as a kitchenhand in FIFO, Tee progressed quickly into supervisory roles, her leadership reflecting the transition from working beside to leading out front.

    When a friend asked TeAnuhea ‘Tee’ Mana-Bennington what her new years’ resolution was, Tee responded with a cautious ‘I think I want to get into Fly-In, Fly-Out (FIFO)’. Now nine years later and a budding Village Manager with Sodexo, Tee knows she made the right choice.

     Before being asked this life-altering question, Tee and her husband made the courageous decision to move from New Zealand to Australia in pursuit of better work opportunities to support their young family.

     When she was accepted into her first FIFO role, it dawned on Tee the significance of the commitment she was making.

     “I remember calling my mum and saying that I wasn’t sure about my decision anymore, that I couldn’t see myself being away from my kids for two-week swings,” Tee said.

     “When I was getting cold feet, mum asked me why I put my hand up in the first place, and I told her it was a better opportunity, better money, a chance to support my children. When I verbalised it, I realised that it wasn’t such a scary career move.

    “Mum told me to give it six months, and if I wasn’t loving it that I could quit. Now it has been nine years and I don’t regret a thing.”

    For Tee, the first three months were the most challenging where she had to adjust not only to a new job and team, but a new homelife in a different country.

    Tee’s respect for her fellow person extends beyond her family ties and is a trait she has been recognised for throughout her career. Starting as a kitchenhand in FIFO, Tee progressed quickly into supervisory roles, her leadership reflecting the transition from working beside to leading out front.

    “I think it’s important that I never ask my team to do something that I first wouldn’t do myself,” Tee said.

    Tee reached the position of assistant village manager with another facilities management company before transitioning to Sodexo in 2020. Despite her career move coinciding with the pandemic, this change was natural and without any obstacles for Tee.

    Coming over to Sodexo I knew there would be bigger opportunities for me given the size of the company, and I was excited to try something different and meet new people,” she said.

    With Sodexo, Tee has thrived and taken advantage of her opportunities, including her appointment to Village Manager, after acting in the role for three months and transitioning from a village of 400 rooms to one with more than 1,100 rooms.

    “I said ‘no’ when I was first offered the position, I didn’t think I was ready. It was a large village with a lot going on, but after trialling the role, in a sense, I figured it wasn’t so daunting,” she said.

    “For me, the role of Village Manager is about making sure every single person in every single department is taken care of. This involves being involved in everything.

    In my FIFO career I have basically done every single position in a village apart from being a chef – because I am not qualified in that area. But,” Tee shared jokingly,” if I had to, I believe I could.”

    Belief in herself and her abilities has been integral to Tee’s career, and she openly expresses the need for more people in FIFO to embrace their skills and open themselves up to more opportunities on-site. As a leader, Tee wants to see every individual succeed.

    “I’ve had managers or supervisors throughout my early careers who would not be accountable. I made sure not to repeat their actions, and to lead by example,” Tee said.

    I spend a lot of time with my team, and I know them very well. I'm very open and honest, and they know me just as much as I know them.”

    Sodexo applauds Tee’s work ethic and dedication to supporting her team. Her safety mindset has bolstered the values of her site and has fostered respect among all team members.

     

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