Yvonne Jackson's career in hospitality began when she spotted an advert in her local paper for a receptionist job at a De Vere hotel near her home in Cheshire. Having just left school, the idea of swapping her "boring office job" for dealing with hotel guests sounded too exciting an opportunity to miss.
From that moment on, she was hooked on hotels and determined to get to the top.
Jackson stayed with De Vere for nine years, moving around and working in a variety of management roles. "If an opportunity came up to transfer to another position at another hotel," she says, "I would take it, because it enhanced my skill set. I didn't study hotel management - my university was working in every area I could."
Leaving De Vere, she joined Hilton, then moved into running hotel and conference booking agencies, setting up her own agency in 1993 before realising her dream of opening her own hotel, the Raby Country House hotel in the Wirral. "It was run as a guesthouse, and with development I turned it into a three-star hotel," she says. "The plan was to have it for five years and then move on, but after two years someone offered a good price, so I sold it."
She sold the booking agency, too, and became a self-employed management consultant for the Paramount hotel group. But with the sale of Paramount and the formation of Q Hotels, Jackson was offered her current position.
"After working for myself for 16 years, I don't think I would have joined any other hotel group," she says. "It's purely because Q allows you to run your own unit, so it feels very much like my own business."
Since joining in February 2005, she has overseen a £3.8m refurbishment designed to return the hotel to "four-star luxury" standard. "My philosophy has always been to work hard and never be frightened to ask questions of anybody around me," she says.
"The good thing about being a general manager," she concludes, "is you can do everything - sales, marketing, finance. You can have every hat on that you want."