Caroline Schubert's Story
I started hospitality at a very young age, I was 15. I’m originally from Berlin and I started with a restaurant apprenticeship in a big 5-star hotel in a small village. I was there for two years and then I went back to Berlin and studied hotel hospitality for three years in an apprenticeship. I was offered to be part of a re-opening team at 18 years old in the middle of my apprenticeship. I did a lot of work in housekeeping there because our housekeeping manager got pregnant and she gave me all of her tasks.
Then I wanted to go to Zurich or Vienna and that was when I got an offer from Sofitel, my first Accor position. I was offered the job of floor supervisor 7 and a half years ago. I love everything about Accor and the vision of the company. From the first day, I realised nothing stands still; there is always a new concept, good changes and great opportunities.
Lucky me! One of my friends left her position as Human Resources Coordinator, so I applied for it and I am now in Human Resources; why not put a smile on the faces of the staff, so that they can put a smile on guests’ faces! I have been doing this for 3½ years. I am Assistant Human Resources Manager now and I just turned 30, so I’m pretty young to have been in hospitality for 15 years. And I have enjoyed everything I have done, even travelling within Accor hotels – that is one of the great benefits, to see how other Heartists are working.
I am an Accor hero because my boss Matthias, who is also a friend of mine, sent my story to Accor recommending me. It was the last day of nice weather before lockdown in Vienna and a friend and I went to a restaurant near the hotel. We were toasting each other when people started screaming and running; they came into the restaurant and said we should get down because there was someone shooting outside. It was the 2nd of November, the day of the terrorism attack in Vienna.
There was a family in the restaurant with a baby and a little girl of about two years old; you could see how scared they were after hours in this restaurant and they were super busy with the baby. I talked to the girl and asked her if she’d like to see a video, and I asked her mum if that was OK. I built a tent, a safe place for her, with some blankets in the restaurant, and we were watching Peppa Pig videos for about 1½ hours which allowed the parents to look after the baby. I saw a situation and realised I could do something to make it better.
Seven hours later, we went out of the restaurant and I went straight to the hotel; I felt really safe there. They took good care of me. Until today, I think about this girl and whether it made a difference for her. Will she think of a crazy night or about a tent and some cool videos and a complete stranger looking after her?
The day the restaurant reopened after lockdown I went back to confront my demons; I came away knowing I had done something good and knowing I’m fine, I’m alive. Matthias told me he had put me forward as a hero but I didn’t want to be called a hero; everybody should do something good and I did this.
It sounds cheesy but your appreciation for life, hell, it changes! You go to work every day and celebrate everything. It was lockdown immediately after the incident and I think it was good I was at home for a few months. But when I came back I realised that I am so much more aware of people’s feelings because I had learned so much about myself. Even if you are in a rush you can still put a smile on someone’s face. People should realise that a bit more.
To someone in the industry: I went into human resources without any background knowledge but I had passion and I still have that. You don’t need to know how to do everything perfectly if you have passion and the will to change something.
If you work in a boring office and it never changes, go to your favourite restaurant once in a while and look at the people, the surroundings, and see how much things change in hospitality. Hospitality is growing and there is so much happening if you are just willing to see it!
- Caroline Schubert
- Assistant Casting and Coaching Manager