hospitality leadership

June 19, 2024 •

4 min reading

Hospitality leadership - Quek Huilin's journey from EHL student to CEO

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While Ms Quek Huilin always had her sights on pursuing theater, she was drawn to the passion, genuine human connections and camaraderie exemplified by both front- and back-of-house team members in delivering immersive, seamless customer experiences.

The short stint at Starbucks, as well as her parents’ strong encouragement led her to switch gears and formally pursue an education at EHL Hospitality Business School. Much to her parents’ delight, it also brought her back to her family hospitality equipment supplies business, Q Industries.


Following the passion

Similar to why I fell in love with the theatre, I was drawn to the zealous passion and commitment that everyone had for their craft and the high level of camaraderie between team members.

Each hospitality professional - be it back-/front-of-house - was fully committed to a common goal, with each playing his/her individual role well to create an immersive environment for guests.

I was further emboldened by the encouragement of my parents’, founders of Q Industries, as well as the appeal of the school of hospitality's diversity of nationalities, its extensive, global alumni network; as well as the pride and loyalty of the school alumni.

Bachelor in International Hospitality Management  See business through customers’ eyes. Enter the job market with a leader’s  perspective  Discover how we train our students to put customers first  Discover more

An alumni client of my mother’s, who was the CEO of a hotel management company essentially alluded that the hospitality management education at EHL - previously known as Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne - was the best, bar none. It was heartening to hear the unmistakable pride of an alumni and the institution’s enduring legacy of excellence since its founding in 1983 and that further fortified my resolve to join them, even though I had likewise been accepted into another well regarded Hospitality program.


Navigating the business landscape

After my graduation in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management, I joined Q industries first as a business development manager before becoming a sales director. Since 1987, the company operated primarily as a tableware distributor, and while I was impressed with the business and solid foundation that my parents have built, I recognised the need to pivot and diversify to keep pace with changing times.

How could Q industries, a traditional product distributor, innovate, stay relevant and find windows of opportunities in the current digitalised world?

Instead of staying stuck in the past, we decided to embrace and evolve with the digital new world. In addition to developing our brand of products, we embarked on a digitalisation journey in Singapore and Vietnam - key to its uninterrupted and seamless operation through the COVID pandemic. Our evolution culminated in the launch of Q Online Solutions, a digital procurement platform, and further anchored our new role as an integrated solutions provider.

This operation has clearly highlighted how essential critical thinking and adaptability is for multi-generational businesses. Luckily for me, EHL’s rigorous curriculum, and global internship opportunities helped hone these invaluable soft skills and developed my business acumen and clear-minded approach, which I apply daily in my leadership role as an CEO.


From EHL family to family business

Operating as a parallel company to the hospitality industry, it was crucial that I, and the company, adopted a clients-first business approach. Thankfully, the practical skills and industry focused learning that I had at EHL helped me understand how hotels and restaurants operated.


"I capitalised on my understanding of hospitality operations to curate solutions that were personal but also valued."

Discover her profile

Additionally, EHL’s unique approach to education and its expertise in, insights of and combined experiences of the faculty in the hospitality industry is unparalleled.

It endowed me with management skills that allowed me to take on the role of running my family business, with operations extending into ASEAN, Middle East and Australia.

Lastly, the incredible diversity in nationalities each intake had and a strong global alumni network really prepares and supports you for a global management role as a hospitality leader. Each intake is carefully curated, starting with the pre-admission interview in person. That highlighted the careful consideration that they took beyond academics. It mattered to them that the students had the right profile and personal acumen to be part of the EHL family. Once inducted, this was a bond that endures well beyond graduation.



Start your international career at EHL

Our Bachelor in Hospitality will prepare you to lead and launch businesses using a dual-excellence approach that develops the perfect balance of hospitality know-how and soft skills in an international setting.