Hired January 2, 2009
First Evo Position: Director of Security
Current Evo Position: General Manager
How did you come to work with our company? Tell me your story.
I was born in France and moved to Finland when I was nine years old. My father is French and my mother is Finnish-Swedish. I was 17 years old when I first came to visit the U.S. I was accepted into student exchange program during my senior year in high school. I lived in Iowa City for a year and completely fell in love with the city, state and the entire country. After my senior year, I had to return to Finland but had it been my choice, I would have never returned.
A few years later, when I was 23, and to my complete astonishment, I found out I had won a Green Card in the yearly Federal Lottery. After completing the massive amount of paperwork, I moved back to Iowa to get orientated and started working for the Sheraton Iowa City as a server. Six months later, I moved to Los Angeles and worked at the Marriott Long Beach as a Guest Service Manager and then the Sheraton Delfina, in Santa Monica. After spending seven years at the Front Office, in various capacities, I wanted to try something different. Having completed my military service in Finland and working in the Executive Protection field for many years in Europe, I decided to put those skills to use for a change, and took a position as the Assistant Director of Security for the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
My sojourn with Evolution (then Tarsadia), started in January 2009, when Matt Greene (then the General Manager of the Hard Rock Hotel) offered me a wonderful opportunity to work at the Hard Rock as the Director of Security. I was initially reluctant to move due to a myriad of reasons but Matt made a great case, he especially emphasized the company’s culture and ethos. He pointed out that with dedication, commitment and hard work, there was no limit to what one could accomplish within our company. During my tenure as a Director of Security, I attended as many operational meetings as I could, listening, absorbing everything I could about running the hotel. Everyone was more than happy to share their knowledge and mentor me. After a few years, I was promoted to the Director of Rooms at the Hard Rock Hotel. I continued my learning process and after three years, I started task-forcing as GM for a few properties.
In August 2015, I was promoted to General Manager for the Hampton Mission Valley and subsequently transferred to my current property, the Hilton Garden Inn Old Town/SeaWorld.
Things you like about your job or working for Evolution Hospitality
- Our company’s focus on mentorship and development of associates and managers alike. Having been given great opportunities myself, I not only feel I have a responsibility, but the privilege, to help and mentor anyone that desires to learn and develop. In fact, I learn just as much from them as they do from me.
- One of our Guiding Principles is “its okay to say, “I’m sorry…I’m wrong…I don’t know”. To me, this principle denotes a profound understanding that none of us are perfect and that the learning process never ends. I also feel it’s important to follow up with “but I will find out”.
- What I love most about my job as a General Manager is having the liberty and latitude to imbue our Guiding Values and Principles in our own individual and unique ways.
- One of the most enjoyable part of my job is working with people I love and respect. They possess an incredible work ethic and truly care about performing at their very best.
Favorite Guiding Principle: Listen.
It is our shortest Guiding Principle and to me; the brevity of this guideline makes it all that much more powerful. Quoting Richard Branson, “nobody learned anything by hearing themselves speak”. I think anyone that aspires to maximize their full potential needs to learn how to actively listen. These days, I occasionally find myself being too verbose and have to remind myself to actively practice this principle.
Most interesting thing about you that’s not work-related
I’m a polyglot; I’m fluent in five languages and can communicate in a few others on a very casual level.