Hospitality: is it a vocation?
“Even when I was very young, I travelled around the world and stayed in beautiful hotels with my parents, who both worked for an airline. These trips taught me a lot, showed me other cultures and made me more aware of “beautiful things:” places that are beautiful, materials that are beautiful, delicious tastes and fragrances.And as I loved foreign languages, I decided to study in hotel and restaurant management. The relationship aspect this dynamic sector has and the variety of jobs it requires is what I was looking for. I of course chose Vatel Paris because of its reputation and the quality of internships proposed there. My uncle, who at that time was a Chef in a restaurant, also praised this school.”
Tell us about the time you spent at Vatel.
“I can say that Vatel was a pivot in my life. I made great friends, got to meet many mentors and artisans who were interesting and loved their jobs, as well as other involved professionals. When I started school, I was young and immature but was attracted by the professional outlook and by the beauty of the hotels I discovered as time went by. When I graduated I was determined to succeed in this fabulous line of work.
During the practical application weeks, I learned tenacity, adaptability, that you have to help others, and how to listen to people. These values are a part of my daily life as a consultant, as I work to develop the activity and reputation of clients who all have different expectations.”
What was your first job?
“I worked withHyatt Hotels and Resorts for eight years. This was an incredible and plural experience that required constant involvement and an eye for details.
Quite rapidly, I found that I liked public relations, promoting and adding value to services the hotel offered. I started as a multifunctional front desk agent and began climbing the corporate ladder: one promotion after another, my skill sets, my pugnacity and the support of my managers allowed me to become the Hyatt Regency Paris-Madeleine’s Communication Officer
And then I had a fantastic opportunity: working as the Assistant Communication Manager at the Hotel Meurice. I applied, but didn’t think I’d get the job: after all, it was the Meurice. I was contacted by the Communication Manager and spent two hours at the hotel where I had two key encounters: with this lady, and with this unique venue! A magical adventure had started: for a year I assisted the Manager every day, led key events in the hotel and learned a lot. I was totally involved in these projects which were more interesting one than another and was able to hone my relationship sense, be introduced to luxury and meet unique people. At that time, I met many contractors and new opportunities began to knock at my door.”
More here: Solene Le Blevenec - Chapter 2: Daring to be an entrepreneur
Photo © Valerie Semensatis