“I’ve always had a passion for the art of hosting others on an international scale.” This curiosity for elsewhere comes from her family, and particularly the career of her father, who was sent to a new country or city every four to five years. “I’m a French woman from Russia who was born in Chile”, says Alexandra de Rohan Chabot. Her interest in service brought her to the Ecole hôtelière, a hospitality university in Lausanne. “I like to anticipate people’s needs”, she explains. “You should bring a person a glass of water before they ask for it.” After graduating in Lausanne, she quickly realized she didn’t want to work in the “front office”. Alexandra followed up with a master’s degree in human resources at Paris 2 University and landed her first job with the staffing department at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme. She stayed there for one year, during which time the hotel earned the status of “Palace”. She then joined the Costes family group, where she worked for five years and reports having “learned a lot”. Costes owns over twenty hotels in Paris and employs some 700 staff during the high season.
HER ARRIVAL AT TOVALEA EXECUTIVE SEARCH
It was a conversation with Valérie Bisch on LinkedIn that led to her leaving Costes. “I wanted to do something else, and the fact that I had studied at the same school as Valérie helped.” Indeed, this commonality created a bond. When asked to describe the “Tovalea spirit”, Alexandra replies: “It’s sincerity above all, and a smile. We are there to help build the applicant up, not tear them down”. When interviewing talent, in addition to the resume, she pays attention to their personality, how they present themselves, and the impression they make. “I hate shaking hands when people have sweaty palms. I need honesty and humility.” Alexandra also steers clear of profiles that are “too polished”. “I prefer people who are a bit different and have experience from outside the industry. In my opinion, a customer relations manager for a department store, for example, has a lot to offer within the hotel industry.”
Her definition of the word resource: “The applicant.”
Her definition of the word human: “A person’s character. What drives them to keep going.”