1. What was your first job?
I started my career as finance director in a resort hotel in Senegal.
2. What parts of your job keep you awake at night?
The hospitality world is moving fast and one cannot afford to leave any stone unturned. I constantly wonder how we can improve our approach, and do things differently to engage better with our customers and business partners.
3. Who has had the biggest impact on your career?
Several people, but mostly the 10 years’ work relationship with Kurt Ritter, a former CEO of Rezidor.
4. What is the best professional advice you’ve ever received?
Well, this takes me back to my student years a few decades back. We asked our lecturer whether it was better to have a career in the home country (France) or embrace an international career. His approach and demonstration of the reasons to consider an international career changed my perspective. As soon as I graduated, I packed and left and never looked back. Travelling from Europe to America and Africa made me a global citizen.
5. The top reasons why you’ve been successful in business?
Passion, dedication and execution.
6. Where’s the best place to prepare for leadership? Business school or on the job?
Without a shadow of a doubt, on the job… and if you get lucky, to have a job immediately after graduation and get jobs where you are empowered.
7. How do you relax?
The time I spend with my loved ones (family). When living in a different location than the family, getting together is a cherishable time.
8. By what time in the morning do you like to be at your desk?
Preferably between 08:00 and 08:30, and after a good run session when my schedule permits.
9. Your favourite job interview question?
I value more the sense of connection to the candidate. I trust the feeling and level of comfort – the flow of conversation. As such I do not have a “favourite interview” question.
10. What is your message to Africa’s aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs?
Believe in yourself and your project, and surround yourself with the right people to help deliver your vision.
Mangalis Hotel Group has portfolio of hotels in West Africa.