Malgorzata Podbielska's Story
I started my adventure with the hotel industry at Sofitel Warsaw Victoria in 2014, and I have been here throughout these 8 years. At first, it was a casual part-time job I took in college, and I did not think it would captivate me for so long. I took my first steps in the world of gastronomy as a breakfast hostess. It was there that I encountered the spirit of Sofitel, the microcosm of the legendary Victoria I heard about in the songs and the movies my parents watched. After some time, I left the breakfast world for an adventure in the banquet and conference department, spending a few years as Magnifique Meeting Concierge. Gastronomy was a wonderful stage in my professional life. I learned the true meanings of hospitality, passion, and devotion; I learned humility and patience, and the beauty of appreciating even the little things. I had the opportunity to work with wonderful people, possessing impressive charisma, skill, and love for the profession.
The next chapter was a big change for me, because I took the position of Assistant Director. The beginnings were difficult. From the small world of gastronomy, I entered into the unfamiliar world of hotel life. After 4 years I am delighted, enchanted with this world, and am looking forward to the next chapter in my working life.
My general manager, with whom I have the pleasure of working, gave me great freedom and the opportunity to touch all areas of the hotel’s activity. She showed me the work of the reception, housekeeping, accounting, sales, T&C and F&B. Most importantly, to achieve great results, all these departments have to work in extremely close symbiosis, which is very difficult, considering the diversity of personalities and experience. I have the opportunity to work with experts who have great passion and pride in where they are. In the period of 4 years, I learned to look globally at the place I work in. Having a good sense of the needs of local business, my place of employment included, allows me to make decisions consciously. The leaders we meet along our way shape the person we will be in 10–15 years. It is very important to meet someone in our life who believes that, given opportunities, we can become part of the new generation of hoteliers. I can say with conviction that from a hotel teenager I have become an adult who is where she is for a reason.
The biggest challenge nowadays is creating a team and maintaining its quality. The pandemic put the hospitality industry in the group of professions associated with risk and professional uncertainty. We are currently trying to reverse this trend, but it takes time and commitment to encourage new people to stay in the industry indefinitely. As we know, it is not brick and mortar that make a place, but the people.
I am one of the people who not only found professional fulfilment at Sofitel Warsaw Victoria, but also met a spouse at the hotel! So I owe this place even more.
There is something magical about the hotel business, something you do not feel when you walk through the door of a 15-story office building. In a hotel there is hospitality, kindness in the air, as employees we feel needed, we are here for the other person. We create beautiful stories; participate in meaningful family occasions, elegant company events, and big galas. We can see how our ballroom one day is a restaurant under the Eiffel Tower, where dishes are served by star chefs, and in a dozen or so hours, in the same space, lawyers take their exams. This is something that is special and unique about the hotel industry. The hotel is a place where diversity is encountered in many forms – the employees, the range of activities, and the many career paths available for people seeking their place in professional life.
The hospitality business includes everything that I value in life that I value at work: respect, passion, humility, creativity, pushing my boundaries, a welcoming atmosphere, gratitude, contact with other people, empathy. Is there another profession, which offers so much? I am the kind of person who abhors a vacuum in my life – at work; there is not a half-hour that I am not busy. I love it when there is a lot going on, when at the morning briefing we hear that we have 97% occupancy, a lobby full of guests, 3 conferences happening, and no time for complaining – a morning pass-time for Poles. It gives me an even stronger drive for work. In these eight years, I do not remember a day that would be the same as the one before it. Sofitel’s motto is “joie de vivre” – after some thought, I think it perfectly describes me. I take great joy in the work I do, in the people I have the pleasure of working with, in the place where I am.
I believe that both for me and for many other people who were looking for a place to belong, the hotel is a very good choice.
I certainly see my future in the hotel industry, which is my passion. Time will tell what places and vocations I will find for myself.
- Malgorzata Podbielska
- Talent & Culture Manager
- Sofitel Warsaw Victoria (Poland)