“The primary goal of the conference was to bring together global leaders and professionals as well as friends and partners of Glion Institute of Higher Education in an open panel discussion, under one roof to discuss the challenges facing our professional and personal position and to develop possible strategies as to how to become aware and more engaged in initiatives.” (The Networking Committee)
This event with gala dinner took place last week and boasted a high profile panel discussion on the topic How to position yourself in a professional environment?
HoCoSo’s chairman Jonathan Humphries, who has been appointed as the Head of Specialisations at Glion Institute of Higher Education, created and delivered the school’s International Hotel Development and Finance specialisation programs earlier this year. For the network conference he took pride in hosting the lively panel discussion.
Read about the panel highlights experienced by specialisations coordinator Catatlina Moisescu:
Following a comprehensive introduction to Crypto currencies by Mr. Jesper Bentzen, panel host Mr. Jonathan Humphries introduced the guest speakers and kicked off the panel by asking two questions in line with the topic of the conference and students’ future careers: “Where you should go? What you should do?”
To answer these questions, the speakers provided students with some insights into their personal and professional life.
Mr. Georges Nour’s remark that “40 years ago, I was just like you” made the audience smile, and just like that, the connection between the two generations established. He explained that he has chosen a career in real estate because it is connected to all industries and fields, including hospitality: “everything is about real estate”, he said. The most important aspect in the real estate domain, is the need to put the community before any personal interest. Later in his career, Mr. Nour has been developing and rebuilding cities. One of the first challenges he had to surmount was the reconstruction of Beirut, that after almost 20-years of war and destruction needed to be rebuilt. While the money, the know-how and the political power were an asset, time was the main constraint he had to overcome. Real estate is continuing its evolution, investors are now focusing on the ‘citizenship by investment’ in countries such as Cyprus, Portugal, Italy and Malta.
Ms. Christiane Demgenski’s career in the banking sector started with a BBA and MA in Political Science and International Relations at Sciences Po. After, a year spent in Jerusalem and an internship with an UNESCO NGO, she has been offered the opportunity to work in a bank: challenge accepted. Since then, and within the same bank she has changed several positions, because her main motivation in life is to learn and make an impact. Talking about impact and the importance of being part of the community, she has decided to take on a new challenge and volunteer as firefighter in the canton of Zurich.
Mr. Jesper Bentzen has had a ‘one-of-a-kind’ professional journey: from being a butcher in the family run business, to self-employed, sales person and business owner. Two things changed his life: doing what he loves and the book: Rich Dad Poor Dad, written by Robert Kiyosaki. A motivational speaker, Mr. Bentzen is passionate about changing people’s lives.
Mr. Joseph Sack was born in Israel, and later on moved to Canada and Zurich: “Growing up in the reality of Israel, it really teaches you a lot.” Detailed-oriented, he is now working in the block-chain technology. As the audience wanted to know more about this domain, including its benefits and process, Mr. Sack shared some further insights into this relatively new field. A block-chain is a database that stores huge amount of information that can be shared with other users, as it works on peer to peer technology. The government cannot control or tax the transactions, and it is not regulated.
Mr. Emmanuel Levanti is a French lawyer specialized in planning law.
The second part of the discussion, a Q&A session, started with the first question of the Glion audience:
Q1: What is the hardest decision you have had to make in your life, and what was the outcome?
If for Mr. Bentzen the hardest decision was to put an end to the collaboration with his business partner, for Mr. Nour there are hard decisions every day, but it is extremely important to always have in mind the public interest. To stay true to her values and make a difference, Ms. Demgenski had to get out of her comfort zone and switch positions within the company. For Mr. Levanti the hardest decision is to do something against his own conscience, while for Mr. Sack was to recreate his religious beliefs from scratch. Mr. Bentzen encouraged students to “take chances” and live the life they want right now. Mr. Humphries joined the discussion by sharing a relevant, but difficult decision he had to make in his career: setting up his own company, while he learned that “up can be something else”.
Q2: What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
For Mr. Bentzen was losing trust in a friend and business partner, but nevertheless he strongly encouraged the students not be afraid of dramatic changes. Mr. Sack’s failure was not to trust himself: “when you are pursuing your life you have to do it with passion and love what you do” and “be kind, it comes back.” Ms. Demgenski believes that there is no safe path, while Mr. Nour had to put aside at times his family, health and passion for foreign languages to succeed in his profession. Along the same line of thought the host of the conference, Mr. Humphries has added: “Follow-up your passion but keep in mind the people around you.”
Q3: What was the hardest transition going from studying to working?
For Ms. Demgenski is having to deliver things fast, while no one is holding your hand anymore, but she reminded students that “if you want something you have to go and get it.” Both Mr. Bentzen and Mr. Levanti put forward the word ‘responsibility’ and its importance in a future career.
Q3: How did you position yourself mentally to achieve what you have today?
Ms. Demgenski got out from the trap of if: “you are the only person who could stand in your way.” Mr. Nour accepted that a bad decision should be considered a positive factor and not a guild one.
Mr. Humphries added that it is important to stop pleasing the people around you and free yourself.
In the closing remarks, the guest speakers encouraged the students: to “never stop learning” (Mr. Nour), “take the time you need” (Ms. Demgenski) “to take chances” (Mr. Bentzen) “don’t settle” (Mr. Benzen), “be passionate” (Mr. Sack), “keep always in mind the human side” (Mr. Levanti) and to “take the time and enjoy it when achieving something” (Mr. Humphries).
Swiss-based HoCoSo, which stands for Hospitality Consulting Solutions, brings together teams of global experts to create tailor-made solutions for client projects. Jonathan Humphries, Chairman and Owner of HoCoSo, and his direct team specialize in the extended-stay hospitality market, the boutique sector, and resort developments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). We create innovative and future-oriented solutions for each of our clients across the following three fields of services:
- Product & Concept Creation, for both portfolio & individual asset developments.
- Strategic Project Scoping, Execution & Asset Management, with a focus on strategic business planning, partner selection, and market & nancial feasibility studies.
- Hospitality Education for companies and academic institutions, with a focus on course development, training and teaching innovation.