When the previous owners were selling the place, the kind of investors they were looking for were the ‘conscious about conservation’ type. Having set up the AFEW Giraffe Centre as a breeding programme for the then highly endangered Rothschild’s giraffes, they had no interest in a business that would interfere with that. They also wanted all twelve of their employees retained.
Therefore, when Tanya and Mikey Carr-Hartley visited with a viable business idea that not only invested in giraffe conservation but also in the environment and communities at large, they fit the bill perfectly. They also cared about making a positive impact on employees, which was just what they were seeking. That sense of family is what Jane still feels today and what has kept her here 28 years later.
For Jane, no year has been the same at Giraffe Manor. There is always something new to learn and a different experience. When asked what advice she would give to anyone starting out in their career, Jane smiled as she said, ‘Own your mistakes…we can only learn through those mistakes!’ Unsure of whether she should be telling us this particular story or not, she described how she once accidentally double-booked guests at the Manor who were unable to change their travel dates. Panic ensued and they had a year to find a solution and make everything right. In the end, her mistake gave birth to the addition of the Karen Blixen Suite – a beautiful family room with a spacious balcony allowing guests to feed the giraffes in the early morning hours. We celebrate you, Jane!