Overcoming Stereotypes – the inspiring story of Anna Szalai - fragment of the interview

Q: Why now?
A: The world has changed in the past few years, so has our company’s philosophy and strategy. Data, charts, checklists are less important, people come first, guests and colleagues are in the spotlight more than ever. As a woman, I can naturally identify myself with this mindset as it’s about EQ, feelings, caring, listening and empathy. You just simply have to listen and follow your heart and intuitions. So I felt if not now, then never.

Q: Why were you reluctant to apply to a GM position?
A: No one can escape the transformation if you have ambitions and a career plan. I couldn’t either and as it takes time for everyone so it did for me. It took almost 2 years for me to believe that I can be myself at work, have feelings and dare to show my personality, ideas and professional skills, and suddenly people around didn’t only just see a pretty face but the potential in me. Of course, for that I needed support and mentoring and had to grab every opportunity that crossed my way.

Q: Why did you apply to such a job?
A: Nowadays as a GM you have to be a true Heartist in order to fulfil everyone’s expectations. Everything is about human relations and trust.
You have to understand, support and motivate your team. Empower and let them to be creative and learn from their mistakes and always be available for them, like a caring mother. You need to listen actively and think proactively when it comes to guest’s satisfaction, you have to use your creativity and intuition to surprise and make them remember.

Q: Family or career is there a problem?
A: I have never had any problem finding the balance between my career and private life. This has nothing to do with your gender; it’s only a question of time management, prioritization and delegation.

Q: What do you enjoy the most?
A: I can simply be myself. If I feel like making a coffee for a guest, I go for it. If I want to have a chit-chat with the chambermaids during their cigarette break I do it. If I want to bright up the day of a guest or a colleague I can be creative and seeing their happy faces is just the cherry on the cake. There is nothing I cannot do and it’s an awesome feeling.

Q: What would you tell other women who are not sure if GM position is something they can reach, cope with, excell at?
A: Believe in yourself, follow your intuitions, work hard and never miss a single opportunity to improve yourself. Even if you have doubts, listen to your inner voice, take a deep breath and try, cause at the end of the day if you follow your Heart everything should be okay.