Meet Chan Aye: The Language of The Lodge

Guests of The Lodge at Turning Stone know they can count on impeccable accommodations when they check-in at our Forbes Four Star hotel. They have Chan Aye to thank.

As Lodge Housekeeping team leader Chan is responsible for making sure rooms and public spaces at the Lodge are as clean and tidy as the resort’s luxury pedigree would suggest. Communication plays a big part in this job, especially for those employees who do not speak English.

“I speak Thai, Burmese and English, and I translate for my coworkers,” Chan explains. “Some of them study English, just like I did. It can be hard in the beginning, but I’m here for them.”

When Chan began working at the Lodge in 2013, she did not speak any English. Originally from Burma, she grew up in a refugee camp in Thailand. Conditions were hard, and she struggled to communicate. But her goals were clear: She wanted a better life for herself and her parents, who stayed in Thailand.

She grew determined to learn as much as she could. Turning Stone proved to be the perfect place to build her English skills—and her confidence.

“I used to be scared to try new things. I would think ‘I’m not going to make it,’” she recalls. “But I learned that I like doing new things. Soon my manager could put me anywhere. I learned not to be scared to try something new here.”

Since those early days, Chan’s positive attitude and hard work in her professional life have earned her an “Outstanding Housekeeper” award and a promotion to Team Leader.

When asked about the best part of her job, Chan immediately mentions helping others. Motivating her team is a daily occurrence, whether she’s providing translation, explaining ways to work more efficiently or just brightening their day with a joke.

“I make it fun,” she says. “You never know when someone might need that motivation.”

Chan is committed to working hard and helping others in her personal life, too. After hours and on her off-days, you’re likely to find her helping other English language learners at The Center, a resource for refugees in Utica. She also recently earned a GED—a notable accomplishment for someone who didn’t speak English when she arrived.

“One day I’d like to go back to school so I can teach kids,” she states. Today, however, she’s focused on leading her team and excelling in a job where she feels supported each day.


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