Not all our graduates go into operations. We caught up with Alex Ghinea, to talk about a different career path she took.
Did you always want to work in hospitality?
I chose Hospitality and Tourism Management as my bachelor’s degree, because I’ve always found it such an interesting industry, but also challenging. During my time at university, I realised how much I loved hospitality, particularly as I worked part time in coffee shops, resorts and fine dining restaurants. It was during my placement year I realised it the industry I wanted to build my career in.
What do you enjoy most about the hospitality industry?
The food! Seriously though, I think it’s the element of diversity. Every day I get the opportunity to meet and interact with people from various backgrounds and cultures. This kind of diversity creates a great working environment.
Tell us about your current role.
A few months ago, I joined our sustainability team as a Sustainability Manager, and wow what a learning curve it’s been! My role involves conducting assessments of our locations by looking at their current practices in terms of sustainability, such as energy use, packaging and waste streams. I then provide recommendations to help our teams be as sustainable as possible. Another exciting part of the role is hosting on-site roadshows, where I get to interact with our customers and talk about the initiatives we have as a sustainable business.
I developed an interest in sustainability during my masters at university, and I completed my dissertation on this topic. When the opportunity arose to join the sustainability team, it was a no brainer! BaxterStorey is so passionate about being a sustainable business and I have been so fortunate to learn from both Mike Hanson, our head of sustainable business, and Henry Cawson, Benugo sustainability manager.
How has having a mentor helped you on your journey?
Having Mike Hanson as a mentor has proved invaluable. To be managed and mentored by someone that has achieved so much for our business in terms of sustainability, is a great learning opportunity. With an operator background, Mike has such a vast understanding of our business, which has been vital particularly as I am transitioning into a different area of the business.
What was your favourite training course on the Graduate Programme?
That’s a hard question. Probably the WSET Level 1 in wines! The creative thinking and managing difficult conversations were also interesting and gave me those necessary skills to help advise our customers. In nine months, we covered so many courses!
Tell us about your most memorable day at work.
I had the opportunity to work with one of our operations managers in the London region, supporting in mobilising new locations, and opening my first site was memorable. It was so exciting, although challenging but gave me such a buzz! What made it memorable was seeing all the hard work that we’d put in as a team, from planning and mobilising, to the thrill of welcoming customers in on the first day. It was great to see the team come together to deliver BaxterStorey’s vision.
What gives you the most satisfaction in the workplace?
Without sounding cliché, I love that my new role as sustainability manger allows me to be able to do something good for a bigger cause. Working for a company who strives to deliver a sustainable culture is something that is true to me as a person. In my role I learn from people who are so passionate and knowledgeable, and in return I hope I can do my part in helping the planet.
What would you say to any Graduates thinking of applying for our Graduate Programme?
If you like the hospitality industry, want to grow in an environment that’s passionate about training and development, and of course taste amazing food, what are you waiting for?