Silvia Cantarella leads the RaizUp community in Italy and back up our mission to advocate for a more diverse culture in hospitality and travel-tech organizations. Silvia is Revenue Management & Commercial strategy, based in Verona, Italy.
Get to know Silvia better in the following blog interview and learn more about RaizUp Italy chapter plans.
What was your first travel job and what did it teach you?
I started my internship in Florence at two former Starwood luxury properties. After the internship, I was hired as Market Analyst and overviewed the sales, digital, marketing and revenue data for the Hotels.
This first job taught me everything: I was very young and my knowledge of the hotel industry was only theory-based. It was an eye-opener experience where I had the opportunity to learn from such a great international company and inspiring mentors that supported my development professionally and personally.
I learned that in order to grow, you need to challenge yourself. That if you want to thrive in this industry, you need to experience a lot and be open-minded. Theory and passion are just not enough, get your hands dirty and experience as much as you can: learning is a never-ending process.
Which company in hospitality/travel tech you admire and why?
It is hard to mention just one, I love disruptive companies that are visionary and take bold decisions to turn our industry upside down. Think of Airbnb for instance but even Booking is always top-notch like it or not. As I am fond of Hospitality, brands like CitizenM, 25Hours, Joe&Joe are completely redesigning the concept of a traditional hotel stay.
What’s one book or movie you’d recommend to other tourism professionals?
I once read the book “It’s your ship” written by a former commander that was illuminating when it comes to inspiration on management techniques.
Recently, I read “Performing as You” by Diana Theodores – great reading for female empowerment as it talks about how to make an impact and perform at your best in every situation, and unlocking your true self.
Why did you become a RaizUp chapter leader?
I started following the community during the first lockdown and I immediately found a perfect fit with the ideals they were promoting. I love sharing and I believe in constant self-improvement. In my career, I often found myself as the only woman sitting at the table or lecturing at a conference.
My mission is not about fighting against men at all, it is about helping women find their inner strength and work on themselves: you might become your worst enemy if you do not develop self-confidence and awareness.
In my career, I had the joy of mentoring many people and seeing them grow. If I can help other women and underrepresented groups, support and grow their confidence and awareness, I will be the happiest person.
What are the current hospitality and travel tech challenges in Italy? How do you plan to address them?
Italy is still a lot family-driven in the hospitality sector and the tech adoption is still low. I have 13 years of revenue management background in an international chain: I rely on data and facts, not opinions and gut-feelings that are unfortunately still widespread.
We can address these obstacles through the right education and in my personal opinion, coaching and mentoring: when I help hotels it is never about “I will solve your problems”, it is always about “I will teach you how to solve your problems and improve your processes yourself”. Again: self-awareness, learning, and growing.
What are your chapter plans for 2021?
I will stick to at least two live webinars per month: one focused on soft skills and role models and one educational where we will be focusing more on our industry and give practical advice and learning.
On the blog side, “A day in the life” interview series will be talking about some women in the industry and their typical working-day, how they got there and what it’s like working in specific fields to shed some light on women asking “I would love to work as…but I don’t know how to get there”. Probably opening an Instagram page too.
How can members get involved with WHTT Italy?
Follow the social pages and become a member of the WHTT website, we will post regularly our updates. Besides, get in touch with me anytime through LinkedIn. I am always keen to exchange ideas and open up to new connections.
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