Jai Leighton


JW Marriott Resort & Spa
Gold Coast


Jai’s interest in the hospitality and entertainment industries was sparked from an early age, as his family own and operate carnival events attractions around Australia. He is a hospitality professional progressing through roles including Restaurant Manager, Director of Food and Beverage, Conference and Sales Manager, and Director of Operations in various 5-star properties around Australia.

In his current role as Director of Operations, Jai sits on the Executive Committee responsible for bringing the first JW Marriott Hotel (classic luxury brand for the biggest hotel company in the world - Marriott International) into the Australian, New Zealand and Pacific region.

Prior to this, Jai worked for The Star Gold Coast where he oversaw the Resort Hospitality division and was responsible for a team of more than 300 staff. He played a leading role in launching The Star’s 15 new bars and restaurants as well as other services, products and facilities as part of the $380 million development.

Jai’s achievements have been recognised through numerous awards including the Restaurant and Catering Employee of the Year (South Australia 2008) and the Australian Young Waiter of the Year (2007). This saw him travel to Italy to represent Australia in the San Pellegrino Cooking World Cup and to the United Kingdom and Japan to work in world-renowned restaurants.

"Never stop learning and be your best self, always!"


Jai Leighton

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Alongside his impressive experience in all facets of hotel food and beverage operations, Jai has attained an Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Management, Master of Business Administration and is a Level 2 Wine Steward/Sommelier. He is passionate about imparting his knowledge and experience to help others achieve their career goals and participates in the Griffith University Mentoring Program.

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