Egle Navikaite's story
I was promoted from team member to F&B manager, front office manager and then I worked for the group. There is no secret to success, you need to work hard and be open to new opportunities. Hospitality is such a broad industry that one day you can work in F&B and if you want to move into a different department, you can do that and find what touches your heart. That’s why I was hopping from one department to another to discover what I like and find my career path.
I like working with people and I never thought I would. Hospitality is a people industry – there is such diversity and you make lifelong friends.
What’s next is a big question! 2023 brings many new things and that’s what we are planning to do in ibis Shepherds Bush. We have a lot of new starters and my plan is to develop them. I am very grateful for what Accor did for me and would like to do that for others, to develop people and help them find their way. The opportunities are enormous; if someone is working in F&B and would like to experience another department, they can do that. In ibis, we are multiskilled so if you are working in breakfast, reception or maintenance, you will pop in and help other departments as well.
Do not be scared that you do not know everything when you start in the industry. Be genuine and be prepared to roll up your sleeves. Hospitality is like a tree – all these beautiful branches and leaves but nobody sees the roots. We are the roots and there are lots of ways for you to grow and develop. Be bold, genuine and be a people person – we thrive on that!
After I graduated, I came to London to work part time for the summer, and my first job was at ibis; I never thought I would still be here 12 years later! You might think hospitality is a temporary job in a restaurant or reception but it captures you; especially in Accor, where there are hotels in so many countries. I’m Lithuanian, if I wanted to go back home, I’m sure I would find a place there, or in Spain.
You can travel widely, learn new languages and you see such a variety of people – 20, 40, 60 people every day; you hear their stories and you are part of their story. The experiences you have, you will never find in another industry – though I’m probably biased! If you talk to people from other sectors, they don’t have as many stories.
You can be part of your customers’ beautiful moments. One of our guests travelled all the way from Africa to see his sister, whom he had never met and he was so nervous. He told us the story and they met at the hotel – it was wonderful to see and we were in tears in the office. Where else can you be part of someone’s life? Guests want you to be part of it, especially when they are travelling alone, you are their immediate contact.
- Egle Navikaite
- General Manager
- ibis London Shepherds Bush (United Kingdom)