Leaders of tomorrow 
3 min

Ambitious, efficient and animated by team spirit, they are among the youngest hotel managers of their brand... Mercure Hotel Hannover City and Mercure Hotel Hannover Mitte General Managers Sandra Schmidt and Arne Sgodda share their experiences and careers tips!

Sandra Schmidt mentions appreciation, transparent communication and team building as being the most important building blocks on her way to the top.

"Speak freely, act freely, decide freely – without fear of the consequences", is how Arne Sgodda describes his recipe for success. When it comes to management style, the 2 are united as regards viewing each member of staff as an individual, taking their age, culture and personal skills into consideration and supporting them as much as possible.

A move up into the 4-star segment

His aim to become manager of a hotel in the near future was what motivated Arne, 34, to take advantage of all the various tools and programs available at Accor. He is now in his 2nd position as General Manager.

"I’m delighted of the confidence that is shown in the talent that exists in-house and that it’s being given the helm in a strategically important and growing market."

Away from work, too, the pair has already begun to appreciate their new surroundings.

"What I’ve already seen of the city makes me want to see more. I can understand when people say Hanover’s attractions are underrated. I am looking forward to my first longer walk through the city to discover all the beauty of the city ", says Arne.

How did the pair achieve their current leadership roles so young? 

After studying hotel management, Sandra and Arne went through the approximately one-year-long Accor Traineeship Program, which prepared them for the job of department manager. They then completed several of the company’s staff development programs.

"Accor offers its staff countless possibilities of training and career development. And the support and guidance you get from mentors is also very helpful, very valuable", says Sandra.

The Accor Académie is also an in-house program available for those starting out in their career. In seminars and online training sessions, the knowledge and skills gained during initial training can be further developed in a targeted and individualised way.

"It’s excellent that trainees in our establishments can see, in the course of their day-to-day work, what one can achieve as a hotel manager." adds Sandra.

Their future: Helping to shape Accor’s hospitality business

Sandra: "My aim is to continue contributing, with great dedication and commitment, to shaping  the Accor world and the hospitality sector. I’d like to bring in young ideas and focus on themes such as leadership, values and visions. I’d like to provide innovative employees with a platform for development. With clear structures, honest management and boundless ambition I want to inspire others, captivate guests and get impressive figures on that bottom line."

Her colleague Arne adds: "With its wide variety of brands and its international network, Accor offers the ideal conditions for developing an international career. I’ve got a number of different ideas. I could well imagine a GM assignment somewhere abroad, a newly-opened hotel would also be an exciting challenge and, who knows, in the longer term I might one day be responsible for more than one hotel."

Career tips from Sandra and Arne

  • Ask yourself: For me, personally, what is "success"? And then: What am I prepared to give, in order to achieve it?
  • Very important: Frequent exchanges of views with mentors and colleagues – and time for self-reflection
  • Living an open feedback culture: Views change when one’s in the leadership role – discussing things helps all involved
  • Promote respect and appreciation in interpersonal relations
  • Demonstrate you’re pro-positive power and take your team with you on this
  • Set realistic goals, to be worked on in stages in order to keep you motivated
  • Don’t lose patience if things occasionally don’t go as planned. A career includes setbacks, which, at best, can make you stronger
  • Be as flexible as possible as regards the region you’re assigned to, it can considerably boost your career
  • Be curious, ask questions, make demands, have clear ideas, get yourself talked about by the right people, be daring, be prepared to occasionally give up on something in order to ultimately achieve more.

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