Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Doeke Bonga, General Manager of Impiana Resort Patong and Impiana Private Villas and I’m lucky enough to be president of Skal Phuket. Skal has many active members throughout the hospitality sector, many managers in hospitality, hotels, resorts, travel agencies, wine companies, and more. Anyyone who works in the hotel business or hospitality sector is welcome to join us at Skal.
Please tell us about Skal
Skal is an organization of hospitality managers with different chapters throughout the world; in Phuket, in Bangkok, in Samui, and in many countries around the globe with various members contributing to local causes, local charities, and networking among friends. It’s really a networking club, to connect people within the business joining hands in doing good works for their local communities.
How long have you been supporting Skal?
I’ve been a member of Skal for nearly 10 years in both Phuket and Koh Samui and I was elected President of Skal Phuket in March of this year.
How would you describe the working culture here?
Skal Phuket is very easy going. It’s a lot of nice people who have big hearts and generous spirits. We get together once every month to dine, to catch up, and to network in different locations around the island. The get-togethers tend to be at members’ places but sometimes not… The highlight of the year is the main charity event which in this case will be held at the Hilton in November whereby we raise funds for various charities on the island with the aim to support them in the good works they do for our local area.
What are the greatest challenges that Skal Phuket is facing?
The greatest challenge for us is to improve our diversity. We’d like to have more Thais. We’d like to have more women as members to avoid us being an all-boys club. Because we are very young at heart, we’re also eager to get more young people on board something that is called ‘Young Skal’ which is for people who are younger than 30. But the key for us will really be to maintain more diverse membership. We’re looking to have more Thais and ladies on board because it brings us different angles and different insights. We’re open to everyone especially because we want to ensure that we have input from all; all sides and all angles on what to do for the charities and how we can network among ourselves and among friends in Phuket region.
What upcoming charity events do you have on your agenda?
As mentioned, the highlight of this year will be the event on 25th November at the Hilton where we will raise money for three or four different charities. Last year the funds we raised contributed to the ‘Pimali Foundation’, which does really good work for bringing underprivileged people into the world of hospitality by training and guiding them, as well as other charities here on the island. We’re looking to raise significant funds to give back to the local community and really do our part as members of Phuket society.
For anyone interesting in joining a new network of friends whether they’ve already been on the island for a long time or are looking for new friends and a new network, we invite you to join us at one of our monthly dinners. You’ll find information on our website skalphuket.org where you can check out upcoming events. We’re always happy to have people join us whether as a guest or as a member. So please feel free to check us out and come and join our event just to see what it is like. If there’s something that interests you, we’re looking forward to welcome you as one of our new members.