A lifetime specialising in quality hotel service brings the human touch to care for the infirm and elderly.
What is the difference between running top notch hotels and homes away from home for those of more advanced years?
That's not some puerile Christmas cracker joke but the question Our People posed to Robyn Filipo. Surely the two are poles apart?
She totally disagrees, insisting both are "about caring for people, giving service, developing relationships".
There's no one better placed than Robyn to draw parallels between these two seemingly disparate organisations.
After 40 years in the hospitality industry her present slot in the work force is managing Cantabria Lifecare village, rest home and hospital. That's followed time as assistant manager of The Gardens (formerly Mitchell Downs) and Redwood Village aged care facilities.
Under Robyn's stewardship they twice won the Rotorua Business Awards customer service category – nominated by the community.
Word has filtered Our People's way the accolade was acknowledgement of Robyn's leadership skills and personal empathy for those not as spry as they once were.
Her working life didn't exactly get off to a prize-winning start, she was expelled from school at 14.
"Apart from English I never liked school, I was always outside the headmaster's office."
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Her first job was on a factory floor making rubbish bags. "From that I kind of fell into waitressing."
Her introduction to Rotorua was working two jobs, motel cleaning by day, waitressing by night.
In 1973 she married Tokelauan Fala Filipo and was the mother of two when she joined the Geyserland Resort, working throughout her third pregnancy. When she left eight years later Robyn was restaurant manager.
Her first day on the job was to have a profound effect on her subsequent management style.
"I was handed a docket book and told to get on with it, training was non-existent, I'll never forget the sheer terror I felt. Because of that job orientation's something I'm passionate about, people can't just be dumped into systems, procedures and left to sink or swim as I was."
Robyn tried her hand at retail, but was enticed back into hospitality, becoming restaurant manager at the Quality Inn. Promotion to conference and events manager came soon after.
Next stop was food and beverage manager at the Lake Plaza (now Sudima).
"I supervised a staff of about 80, we had four or five in-house outlets [bars-restaurants] plus catering for off-site events. There were times I was working 21 hours on the trot, setting up venues, cleaning up afterwards, but I loved it."
Elevated to duty manager, it was Robyn who welcomed visitors to Rotorua, not all of whom were happy to be here.
"One night an American guest rang down demanding we switch off 'that goddamn smell'. She obviously didn't know about Rotorua's sulphuric delights."
Being duty manager taught Robyn a lesson she's lived by – the importance of good service.
"One guest was adamant the book she'd left on her bed had been stolen, I asked her its title and the name of the Auckland hotel she was heading to. I told them to buy that book, invoice us, and give it to her with our hotel's compliments, that's the importance of giving service that exceeds expectations."
That wee vignette has a corollary. The guest's 'stolen' book turned up down the side of the bar chair she'd been sitting in.
Ten years after she separated from her first husband Robyn met the man who was to become her second. She was assistant manager at Princes Gate when she was introduced at the "Citzs Club" to recently retired Rotorua detective sergeant Bill Scott.
"He was looking for a bit of part-time work, I said Princes Gate needed a gardener, he turned it down initially then said he'd give it a go."
They were drawn to each other, have been together 23 years, married almost 20.
When Robyn was appointed general manager of the West Coast's Punakaiki Rocks Hotel her husband became groundsman, with housekeeping thrown in.
"That really opened his eyes to the way some people treat hotels, because it's not theirs they don't have to look after it, some people do some absolutely disgusting things."
Common decency dictates Our People leaves these stomach-churning human foibles unspecified.
The couple loved the Coast. "It was so beautiful, we had lots of fun there, visited old mine sites and went to Cave Creek [scene of the 1995 bridge collapse disaster that claimed 14 lives]. Standing on the spot where all those people went over the cliff was really eerie, totally quiet, not even any bird song, 10 years later you could still feel something terrible had happened there."
Robyn's next managerial appointment was at Franz Josef followed by a Christchurch hotel.
Once more the hours were punishing: "7am starts often finishing at 2am after the last flight came in".
Big city life wasn't her husband's scene, he returned to Rotorua. Robyn wasn't too far behind.
The Scenic Circle group asked her to become relieving manager at a string of hotels around the country.
"After two years on the move I'd had a gutsful, came home but after a working life in hotels I couldn't get a job doing anything else. I think when people see you have 'manager' on your CV they consider the job they're offering is beneath you or you may be after theirs."
In 2009 the BUPA health care group were looking for an assistant manager at what was then Mitchell Downs retirement village, rest home and hospital.
"I applied, got it and discovered it was a dual role including the Redwood Village.
"To be honest I knew nothing about aged care or what happens to people as they grow older so this was the start of a totally new experience, it's been a journey I've grown into more and more every day."
Late last year Heritage Lifecare shoulder tapped her, in February she took over the manager's chair at Cantabria.
But this isn't a managerial type who believes in being desk-bound.
She relishes mingling with the facility's residents and has developed a special affinity for dementia patients in secure care.
"Doesn't it depress you?" Our People crassly queries. Robyn treats the question with the contempt it deserves, delivering us a look of pure pity with her blunt "Why ever should it?" response. Point taken, Robyn.
"I'm not a doctor, a nurse, but it's heart warming to be part of all our residents' lives, developing empathy, understanding, listening, showing compassion, respect, treating our residents in what is now their own home. From my hotel years I have the advantage of knowing how important genuinely caring for people is."
Born: Palmerston North, 1952.
Education: Roslyn Primary, Ross Intermediate, Freyberg High (all Palmerston North).
Family: Husband Bill Scott. "Ours is a big, blended family, we don't use the words step mother or father, we have 15 grandchildren between us."
Interests: Family. "I have a strong focus on my diet and health, my alarm goes off at 4.20am, for the next 90 minutes I'm on the treadmill." "The garden I've built from scratch." Reading (favourite genre crime). "Knitting for my family, baking for Bill."
On becoming older: "The ageing process is inevitable, a privilege not everyone gets."
Personal philosophy: "Never stop growing yourself or others."