How a hospitality degree led alumna Victoria Pairet to a sales position at LinkedIn
Many believe that networking is one of the most important variables that can dictate one’s career: leading to new beginnings, opening new paths, and unlocking unforeseen adventures. This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Victoria Pairet, a Belgian alumna who graduated in 2018 and accumulated experience in over six countries. After having gained hospitality experience by being part of opening teams for two different hotels in Amsterdam, Victoria is currently working for the renowned professional networking platform: LinkedIn. Let’s find out her story!
What did you do after finishing university?
For my second internship, I was an intern for the opening team of Hyatt Regency Amsterdam. It was a highly valuable experience as I was a Management Trainee, working closely with the General Manager, Director of Operations, and several other managers to set up the hotel in six months. After this phenomenal experience I realised that this was just a start, and I was looking to get stuck into a similar experience again! I saw that Moxy Amsterdam Houthavens was planning a hotel opening a couple months later and chose to apply to be part of their opening team. After successfully opening that hotel, I was responsible for both sales and operations of the Meetings and Events department. However, as we all sometimes feel the need for a change, I decided to start a new adventure and signed up for a master’s degree in Management in Dublin!
How did it start at LinkedIn and how was the journey with them?
I was already based in Dublin pursuing my master’s degree when LinkedIn reached out to me about an Open Day at their offices. I was quickly blown away by the company’s mission and work culture, so I applied for a job. After a rigorous interview process, I was offered a job as part of their Business Leadership program: a six-month program designed for students who just finished their studies. Throughout this time, graduates rotate within the company and discover the ins and outs of three different departments. This experience enabled me to better understand the LinkedIn teams and gave me my first ‘taste’ of sales. Fast forward a year and a half and I’m in my second sales role. In my current role as Account Executive, I am responsible for bringing in new business to LinkedIn. I never thought I would end up in sales, and certainly not in a tech firm, but I’m learning so much every day and still have a long road ahead. The company is investing in me, and I continue to develop and grow in my role.
From your point of view, what was a major pandemic-related change in your industry?
From my perspective, I have been fortunate to be part of an industry that has faced fewer challenges during the pandemic. In my role, I went through a long period of ambiguity in 2020 as the businesses I worked with went through an intense period of change and a high degree of uncertainty for the future. I was fortunate to be working for a company where we had a strong focus on listening and supporting our customers through this time.
Do you have any tips for businesses that struggle with transitioning to the online work environment?
While the transition to working from home has been different for everyone, my experience has been largely positive. As we moved to long hours on video conferencing, our team found ways to inject fun through cooking events, informal team meetings and regular check-ins. Despite not meeting most members of my new team in person, I built meaningful connections through these new, innovative formats and would recommend others to follow a similar approach.
What achievement are you most proud of?
I’m particularly proud of the opening of the Hyatt Regency hotel in Amsterdam. We were able to succeed within the designated timeframe and with the resources that were made available. Whenever I walk into this hotel, I notice certain aspects or parts of the concept that I helped design. For instance, I designed the menus in the hotel, and it makes me very proud to see my work and effort turned into reality. Knowing that a piece of me still stands in this hotel is very fulfilling on both a professional and personal level.
What do you consider your biggest failure?
As an intern, I sometimes had ideas that I thought could be brilliant but avoided sharing because I believed that the opinion of a 20-year-old would not matter much. How many times did I not share my ideas? This is completely wrong! You do have opinions and ideas that matter just as much as anyone else’s. Thanks to my manager, who helped me by taking into consideration any idea I would come up with, I was able to overcome this difficulty and start sharing my thoughts and opinions at ease. One of the most important lessons that I would like to share with you is the importance of standing up for yourself, regardless of how small you would think you are. Although you might be an intern in a six-member team with individuals who have more than 20 years of experience, it is okay to have an opinion as long as it is underpinned, of course. So, as a bottom line, if you have an idea and you can back it up, just stand up and say it!
What is your best memory of Hotelschool The Hague?
By far one of the best memories is doing the Strategy Development course of Phase 3 abroad. It was fantastic to finally get the real feeling of a business environment, meet people and work for a real-life company. During the course, my team and I spent six weeks in Miami working with the Four Seasons and I think that it goes without saying how memorable that time was. At that stage, it was one of the greatest challenges that I had ever undergone as we were required to come up with a project and deliver it to the management team of the hotel. However, the best part was that we had mixed teams across both Amsterdam and The Hague campuses, bringing everyone together.
Needless to say, we also wanted to discover the personal side of this successful graduate so we asked our usual quick-fire questions. Here is what we learned about Victoria:
How do you prepare yourself for a workday? What is your ritual?
As I have been working from home for the past 15 months, my morning ritual is simple: coffee and breakfast! My roommates and I have our own “morning huddle” around a good cup of coffee. It is nice to start the day by interacting with someone face-to-face.
What is your biggest dream in a few words?
My long-term goal is to become involved in humanitarian aid.
What is your advice for students graduating in 2021?
Do not underestimate the power of your network. Out of the three jobs that I have had so far, two of them came from personal connections. Networking opens doors and can lead to amazing opportunities!