1. How has your career path changed up until now?
My career path has changed quite a bit over the years...From joining a travel business startup, with very limited resources, where every person worked crazy hours and had to do everything on their own...to management positions with no managerial experience (making all the possible mistakes )...to senior executive positions, all the way to COO & CEO.
“The startup” grew to a $1B global travel tech success story thanks to its 850 talented employees in 26 locations. In 2017 the company was sold to two large private equity funds allowing me to switch my career path from an “operator” to an investor, advisor, mentor, board member.
2. Did you have a mentor who helped you get to where you are now? If so, what would you say is the most important thing you learned from your mentor?
I did. My mentor knew how to get the best out of me. Like a good coach, he pushed me to my limit, kicked my a__ when required and gave me a big hug when needed.
The most important thing I learned from my mentor is to take care of my employees as if they are my closest friends or family.
3. What advice would you give to those pursuing their first business venture?
Strongly believed in the quote “the harder you work the luckier you get”!
I don't think there are shortcuts in business. It's a lot of hard work. It requires dedication and commitment to the process. And of course you have to be very passionate about it...
4. How do you overcome risk when it comes to making business decisions?
Surround yourself with the best people for the job and you will make better decisions. Risk will never be eliminated in business, but it can be mitigated with the right team. Always hire people that are better than you...they will push you up!
5. Why did you decide to become a mentor/ investor for the Hospitality Innovation Hub Incubator?
I really enjoy spending time with young passionate entrepreneurs, who wish to make an impact, challenge the status quo and create value.
Also, it's another way for me to give back and help the next generation in any way I can. And lastly, let’s be honest...in every conversation...I learn from them too!!!
6. What book are you reading now?
Just finished Gung Ho! Highly recommended to anyone in a management position.
7. What is your favorite vacation destination?
New Zealand - the most amazing place on earth
8. What is your favorite movie?
Well that's easy...TOP GUN!
9. Any last words you would like to share....
Your future is in your hands, Never give up!