By Eva Koller
Director of Rooms, Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi Hotel
They say diamonds are created under pressure, and without challenges, we never know our own potential. This International Women’s Day, women all over the world are embracing the need for challenge to bring about change and this resonates with my own life. My personal secret to success has always been to challenge myself.
When I was still at school in Austria (where I was born and raised), I set for myself the goal of becoming a Front Office Manager in an international hotel chain before the age of 30. I’ve always been fascinated by the hotel industry; I find it thrilling to interact with people from all over the world and it is a great feeling knowing that your job is to make other people happy. For these reasons, I always aspired to work in the UAE, which has some of the highest standards of hospitality in the world.
The first time I came to the UAE was for a two-month internship in Sheraton Deira Hotel Dubai, where I worked and learnt from the most inspirational person, the General Manager, Josef Sorger, who demonstrated impeccable leadership traits, from listening and communicating to greeting and appreciating every team member, which always moved and encouraged me to be the best version of myself with my future team.
A few years later, after I graduated; I was working in a hotel in Austria when the opportunity presented itself to work in Abu Dhabi’s Emirates Palace Hotel. I jumped at the chance and took the most junior position just to get my foot into the hospitality industry and at one of the leading hotels in the capital.
Within 18 months of arriving in Abu Dhabi, I had achieved my goal and was promoted to Front Office Manager when I was only 28. Some of my colleagues resented me and it was really challenging, but I was supported by a wonderful manager, who backed me up all the way.
My career progression continued at Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi Hotel in 2014, as I joined as Front Office Manager. After years of continuous challenges, achievements, and growth, I am now the Director of Rooms, managing the second-biggest team in the hotel including the Rooms, Front Office, Concierge, Housekeeping, and Laundry departments. I genuinely care about my work, team and the guests, and I believe as long as you care, you will go the extra mile, and this helps you grow and progress.
I cannot not mention the woman who taught me everything I know – my mother – the source of power and love, the person I look up to in all aspects. She raised me and my brother at the same time as managing and cooking in the family restaurant and even did so after she suffered a life-threatening brain haemorrhage. Like so many strong women I know, my mother inspired those around her, and I thank her for my dedication to my career.
Alongside my passion for work comes my flooding love for my small family. I ensure to place great value on balancing career and family life.
Women are much stronger than they are believed to be or what they think they are and that is why we should choose to be challenged. Maybe that way, we will change the world.