When talking about Central Festival Phuket, people automatically think about a shopping paradise, the new centre of Phuket’s community, the trend setter, or they might have their own word for it. To get to this level of success, Central Festival Phuket was once and is now again led by Wilaiporn Pitimanaaree or ‘Maew’, the General Manager who returned and pledged to make it a colourful destination. Let’s hear and read what she thinks:
Where is the place you belong?
I was born, raised up and got a bachelor degree from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, before I decided to continue with an MBA at College of Notre Dame in US. I came back and began my career-life with the world-famous advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather Ltd. in their Thai office. This was followed by AT&T, Coca-Cola (Thailand), and L’Oréal Paris all of which were very good companies to accumulate working experience at. I stepped into the retail business with Thailand’s renowned retail property development and management firms, Central Pattana and Central Retail Corporation, which thereafter offered me an opportunity to come to Phuket and set up Central Festival Phuket in 2004. As I loved challenges but was still in love with Phuket, I then shifted track to learn things in the luxury market by spending 3 years as a Marketing Director at Royal Phuket Marina. Then last year, I finally came back to Central Festival Phuket since I feel this is a place where I belong.
What is Central Festival Phuket to you?
We intended to make Central Festival Phuket become the biggest shopping paradise in the south. We put heavy efforts into bringing together a wide selection of the world’s leading fashion brands, vast variety of foods from around the world, and many kinds of entertainment into one exciting package for Phuketians & tourists to enjoy all in one place. Considering the current situation, I think we have reached satisfying levels of achievement and have got a little bit closer to what we aim to be “the centre of the community”. Alongside the community, Central Festival Phuket also passed difficult times after the tsunami. But I think it was a test we got through and it was another step we had to take to become a leader in what we do.
What new developments are going to happen?
For the 6th year anniversary, we will use this opportunity to re-launch our shopping center. With new decoration, renovation and expansion, plus the opening of the new zone, the community can expect a higher level of satisfaction. The highlight will be our new ‘Kids & Family’ zone, the recently opened 4th floor of Central Department Store and the soon coming June, “CFP Eduplanet” which occupies over a thousand square metres on the Parking 1 area next to Office Depot, featuring a selection of skill enhancement academies for all children. As well, you will see a 30-40% larger Tops Supermarket extended to be “Foods Hall”, a first class supermarket that provides customers a broader range of imported food from around the world.
We will make full use of our space so that it can support more activities we plan to organise. Whether it be a motor show, fashion show, or art exhibition etc., these will happen at least once in a month. Like fashion, we continually develop ourselves, to ensure that the number of years passed means better experience too.
Did working hard make you who you are today?
From the moment I chose to leave Bangkok for the new challenge, I have to admit that I felt anxious and was on edge too. I knew no one here but my task, which was assigned by boss, was to grab big attention from every market segment in Phuket. Everyone had to notice it and our opening, which was scheduled in September 2004, had to become talk of the town. To be honest, that was not easy.
However, the difficult mission was the way to prove my skills, competency and leadership. I had to dedicate myself and used every aspect of knowledge that I have gained through previous studies, work and life experiences to make it perfect. Because there were a lot of details to work on, to open a shopping complex, I was so happy that we got an over-expected positive feedback with the opening.
I look back and found my previous thoughts about my career life were wrong. I had thought that it was because I had no luck for always being assigned big and tough tasks. But now I know that I was very lucky to have them as a stage to prove myself. Central Festival Phuket, for me as an executive, is a masterpiece and that for sure brings me much pride.
What is your self perception?
I will determine myself as a working woman. Being an executive for such a large organisation, to lead and monitor many people, I prefer a working atmosphere that is full and reaches the level of creativity, respectfulness and communication among the team. I believe that working and problem solving are better when done cooperatively and “’none’ of us is as good as ‘all’ of us” .
For my personal life, I’m kind of lively, sociable and a fashion lover. I’m also a positive thinker who loves challenges, excitement and adrenaline. That is what I am.