Today we’d like to introduce you to Claudia Di Gino, General Manager – Novotel Miami Brickell.
Hi Claudia, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I started my career in hospitality more than 20 years ago at Walt Disney World as an international student, which led me into guest services and front-of-house operations. During my time there, I helped open the Animal Kingdom Lodge and Coronado Springs Resort. I then worked with TUI Magic Life hotels, where I helped open Magic Life World in Turkey and the Magic Life Trendorado in Spain’s Canary Islands. Upon returning to the U.S., I joined the opening team for Le Meridien’s first condo-hotel in Miami, where I helped the hotel achieve a rating of AAA Four Diamonds within the first four months of operation. After working as a general manager in few other local properties within the luxury segment, I was named general manager for the debut of the first Atton hotel in the U.S. Two years later, Paris-based Accor announced plans to spend $105 million to acquire the Atton name and rebrand the hotel as Novotel Miami Brickell.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not everything in my career has been easy, especially when there are not many “women general managers” in the industry. This is one of the areas where I love to support and encourage other women to take on executives roles. It is also the attitude that you take towards each challenge that makes the difference. I have learned many lessons and overcome struggles, and now it is my turn to transform challenges into positive experiences for my team and my guests. I like to see every challenge as an investment. I know that in the end, these experiences will continue helping me to develop my professional career and react better when needed. Throughout my journey in the hospitality industry around the world, I’ve learned to adapt to local cultures and be open to new perspectives. There’s always something to learn from new people and places.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
My responsibilities as general manager are to oversee all hotel operations including, sales, marketing, revenue and to create a comfortable and safe environment for all of our employees and guests. As well as implement new structures and policies for the hotel by increasing guest service and satisfaction scores. Being in the hospitality industry is not as easy and glamorous as some people think. This is especially true for a General Manager. You have many responsibilities – not just hotel performance and revenue – but also to the team that works with you. I think I’m best known for the way I support my team and the community. I have an open-door policy as my goal has always been to be an approachable leader. I support our team at all levels and am committed to providing solutions to any challenges we face. I am also involved with different local organizations supporting women and young students continue their education and follow their passion.
Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
I have very simple advise – you need to truly love and have a passion for what you do, do it right!. You must also practice discipline and patience to commit to yourself as well as your team. And most importantly, have fun while working hard. We need to enjoy the present and be part of the current moment. Feeling positivity will reflect in the way you interact with your team members as well as those in your personal life, which yields great results.
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Aleasha Bahr is a sales & marketing strategist known for showing introverts and ambiverts the Secret Art of Subtle Selling. She personally sold millions in revenue while discovering introverts are usually top sales people – as soon as they stop trying to act like extroverts. We’ve partnered with her to produce Introverted Entrepreneur Success Stories. Check out episode 1 below: