Agnieszka Powązka-Celer's story
I have been at Accor for 17 years and have been a GM since 2019. I started as an intern while still at university and held various positions, working as assistant GM, sales manager, reception manager, Deputy GM in hotels in Poland and the UK. I worked outside the company for a year. I was still in hospitality, I worked as a deputy GM in a 5-star resort & SPA hotel but my heart was at Accor and I came back on a Fast Track Programme.
It is fantastic that I became a general manager shortly after becoming a mum; my superiors had no hesitation in offering me that role, which shows how supportive Accor is of women and how important gender equality is in our company. And that is the other thing that brought me back to Accor, the company has great corporate culture; you can work with people who believe in you and give you every opportunity.
During my time in Accor, I have enjoyed taking part in a number of development programmes such as Top Talent Management, Boost Your Potential and a Fast Track Programme. I became GM just before Covid struck, so it was difficult to put anyone on a training course because of the pandemic and the financial situation, but that is my aim to inspire for development, for all team members from the bottom to management and last year, I sent some of them on training courses.
Working in hospitality has taught me to look for opportunities rather than difficulties. I was Operational Manager when I was rebranding Orbis to Novotel and Ibis and it was like building a house from scratch; renovation work, working with the authorities, setting up a hotel system, training and recruiting, and introducing a Novotel and ibis philosophy. It was stressful in some ways but seeing the hotel change every day and knowing I was having an impact gave me incredible satisfaction.
Doing the brand change was a baptism of fire because I had never worked on such a project before, but with the support of great managers and a wonderful team in Wroclaw, I felt I was the right person for the job and I learned a lot. I was very happy with the result because the change was a great success; the hotel was performing well and now, although I am not there anymore, I can see they are still succeeding.
I have never met more receptive people than at Accor; people are sincere, they are willing to learn about others and develop them – and we have fun. It is a fantastic job!
To anyone new in the industry, be authentic and approachable, communication is key in this business. When you are working in hospitality, you are creating the guest’s journey; you need to remember to smile and it is important to work with your colleagues because hospitality is a team game. If you like people, have an open mind and heart, and if you are flexible, a fast learner, the hotel business or hospitality sector will be for you.
If you are job hunting, there is a lot of potential for development in hospitality and if you work hard and show initiative, you will soon find yourself in a senior position or leading a project. There are hospitality jobs all over the world, so you can discover new countries, cultures and people; it opens the door to the world. And hospitality companies have a great atmosphere; the industry is fun and dynamic; you will never get bored.
- Agnieszka Powązka-Celer
- General Manager
- Novotel Poznań Malta (Poland)