How did you discover your career path in hospitality?
My story is actually quite funny. I was working for several years in a completely different field, actually in a criminal justice police office. Then around 2009 Kempinski announced its expansion into Slovakia and I read an interview from the General Manager in a local paper. I was so inspired by what he had to say in the article that it led me to apply and in 2009 I joined as a Personal Assistant to the GM, and one of three pre-opening hotel team members. It was of course a very busy time as we were preparing to open the hotel, but I just fell in love with hospitality. I shared with my leaders that I wanted grow in the company and I received complete support – I was given numerous opportunities to complete different trainings and do cross exposure and task force at other properties. Eventually, in addition to my duties as personal assistant to the GM, I took on training responsibilities first as coordinator and then manager and then moved into operations. Most recently, I was promoted from Director of Rooms in Berchtesgaden to Executive Assistant Manager in Budapest and I am very much looking forward to this new challenge, to be Number 2 to the General Manager. There has been no day since I joined Kempinski that I had any doubt that this was the industry for me.
What do you feel makes Kempinski unique?
What I very much like about Kempinski is the size. In my work I have been fortunate to move around a little bit, taking on pre-opening responsibilities at different hotels, or for training in different departments. In my private life as well I have visited more than 25 of our hotels for leisure. Wherever I have been either for work or for pleasure, it feels like a family. It’s difficult to explain, but it’s in the way we communicate and care for each other. You can pick up the phone and call another hotel if you’re facing a challenge or have a question. Leaders are very accessible. We have standards and policies, but we also have freedom to make decisions and resolve issues creatively, from managers to supervisors and line staff. When I joined Kempinski, I immediately identified with the values and culture on a personal level. We are empowered and we know that the work we do matters. We are encouraged to question the way things are done, find ways to improve practices, and this is how we evolve.
What is your most memorable Kempinski moment?
I have so many! When you work in hospitality, sometimes issues arise, or you have to manage a guest complaint. I think the most memorable moments for me are when I have turned what could have been a negative situation into a positive. Often when you resolve an issue this is when guests are most appreciative and in some instances become like friends. Some guests even write me Christmas cards!