The careers of our former students are as exciting, unique and diverse as their personalities. Some of these personalities are presented here. Enjoy reading.
MICHELLE GATSCHET | CUSTOMER SUCCESS MANAGER, OKTA, SAN FRANCISCO
TAKING THE PLUNGE INTO A NEW INDUSTRY
Michelle Gatschet took quite an unusual career path after graduating from SHL. After holding a variety of managerial positions in the hotel industry, she ventured into the technology sector. Yes, that's right - the technology sector. As Customer Success Manager at Okta, the leading San Francisco-based identity and access management provider, Michelle is responsible for keeping customers happy, retained and growing strategically with Okta. «As far as customer service goes, I have a distinct advantage as a hotelier in the tech world because we know it and experience it in all aspects.» Michelle also likes to draw on what she learned during SHL in other ways: «The understanding of working with different departments, the leadership skills and business acumen help immensely.» However, it is not only skills and knowledge that have remained from my time at SHL - but also friendships for life: «They are priceless!»
DANIEL KÜCHLER | RESTAURANT MANAGER, DAUGHTER IN LAW, MELBOURNE
LIVE «DOWN UNDER»
The relaxed and pragmatic SHL alumnus Daniel Küchler «landed» in Melbourne rather by chance. According to Daniel, «the world's best coffee» can be found in this bustling city where he has stayed ever since. Together with his multicultural team, affectionately described as a big, crazy family, he satisfies so many guests as the manager of the Daughter in Law Melbourne restaurant. Daniel's passion for excellent food and drink is also apparent outside of his professional career. As an enthusiastic guest, he likes to test pop-up restaurants and his wish would be to visit all the restaurants on his bucket list at some point in time.
URS MICHEL | MARKETING MANAGER UK & IRELAND, Switzerland Tourism
New York - Zurich - London
Three world cities. Three places of work for SHL alumnus Urs Michel, who currently represents Switzerland Tourism in London as Marketing Manager UK & Ireland. Michel's area of responsibility includes extremely exciting projects - some even quite unusual: He is currently planning an «Out Of Home» promotion for the Europe's largest advertising space in Piccadilly Circus, and a Swiss garden for the world-famous B2C «Chelsea Flower Show». But Urs has not always inspired foreign guests to travel to Switzerland. As Room Service Manager at The Peninsula in New York and Senior Sales & Marketing Manager for 25hours Hotels in Zurich, he and his teams made sure that travellers always felt completely comfortable at a chosen destination. And what makes Michel feel comfortable as a guest? «When hospitality comes across competently and enthusiastically».
MICHEL BACHMANN | RESORT MANAGER, AMAN VILLAS AT NUSA DUA, BALI
Back to the Roots
Even before starting his studies at SHL Schweizerischen Hotelfachschule Luzern, Michel Bachmann knew exactly where his footsteps should take him. His destination: to become a general manager of a hotel in Asia. And he consistently pursued this goal even during his education at SHL, gaining valuable practical experience in renowned companies in Beijing, Koh Samui and Shanghai. In 2016, Michel fulfilled his dream and assumed the role of Resort Manager for the luxury chain Aman Hotels & Resorts in Bali. Now settled in Indonesia, which Michel has called home for the past seven years, the curious, calm and passionate hotelier has not only found his dream job, but also his love for his native country and his wife.
Wilhelm K. Weber | Vice President Global Revenue & Digital Strategy, Kempinski Hotels
THE COURAGE TO TRY SOMETHING NEW
One could almost believe that Wilhelm was born with the joy of entrepreneurship. He took his first entrepreneurial 'steps' at the age of 14 by importing mountain bikes from South Korea. Even before graduating from high school, he founded his own newspaper, hosted ski trips and parties, and programmed websites for local businesses while many still saw the Internet as a fad. His passion for the hotel industry eventually led him to the SHL Schweizerische Hotelfachschule Luzern, where the idea for his next business venture was formed: With SHS Swiss Hospitality Solutions, Wilhelm founded a consulting company specialising in revenue management and online distribution concepts that became a niche market leader in just five years. Wilhelm's contributions to the European imprint in revenue management did not go unrecognised. "Despite his young age, his persistent commitment and courage to break new ground already make him a sought-after expert in the industry." - These were the words chosen for the laudation for when Wilhelm was named "European Young Industry Leader of the Year" by the HSMAI European Travel Marketer Awards in London in 2010. Resting on his laurels? - Not Wilhelm. After almost ten years at SHS Swiss Hospitality Solutions, he moved to Kempinski and assumed responsibility for the hotel group's global digital strategy and revenue management in 2019.
Leo Maissen | Chief Executive Officer – Hotel Operations, Tschuggen Hotel Group
ON BEHALF OF THE GUESTS
With an unerring sense for the right tone and a large portion of knowledge of human nature, the man from Graubünden knows how to give his guests what he himself expects from a good hotel: "The most important thing is to be perceived as a person with special demands, idiosyncrasies and feelings and not as a reservation number." Leo Maissen is as nonchalant as he is professional and spreads a calm dynamic that also carries his team along. This has not gone unnoticed: in August 2013, the Swiss business magazine Bilanz named him Hotelier of the Year at the age of only 33.
Meret Brunner | DIRECTOR OF ROOMS, THE DORCHESTER LONDON
Thriving for excellence in the heart of London
Meret, a positive and enthusiastic leader with an energetic personality, started her international career in hospitality directly after graduating from SHL in 2015. Right from the word go, she made herself valued in teams of luxury hotels worldwide and took over management positions in the renowned “The Peninsula” hotel group. While being part of “The Peninsula Tokyo”, the hotel maintained the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star award and was voted the No. 1 "Top Hotels in Tokyo" by Travel and Leisure Magazine. These days, you will find Meret in the iconic “The Dorchester” in London. Acting as its Director of Rooms, she makes sure that the guests experience an elegant, efficient and luxurious service.
Dany Lützel | General Manager, Hotel ÉCLAT bEIJING
Working among Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol & Co.
Early on, Dany had precise ideas of where his career would lead him: «Even before applying to the SHL programme, it had been clear to me that I wanted to be a hotel manager at the age of 30.» And, impressively, that’s exactly what he achieved. With passion and dedication, he pursued his goal and took over his first General Manager position in the Radisson Blu Hotel St. Gallen, Switzerland, at the age of… 30. In 2014, the world stage was calling: Dany left Switzerland and headed to China, where he ran the Kempinski Hotel in Chongqing City, before taking over the unique Hotel Éclat Beijing, a five-star boutique hotel that offers a rare opportunity to experience museum quality art while enjoying stylish, cool accommodation.
ALINE TSCHAEPPAET | SENIOR MANAGER DESIGN, MELCO RESORTS & ENTERTAINMENT, MACAU
Pulling the strings behind the scenes
“The world is my home”, says Aline Tschaeppaet who’s been living and working in Switzerland, Berlin, London, Beijing, Bangkok and Dubai before moving to Macau. As a Senior Manager Design, she is responsible for the construction and renovation of several Melco Resorts & Entertainment Developments in Macau.
A very varied position as Aline confirms: “No day is like the other!” Hotel construction site inspections, design coordination meetings, creating new restaurant, guestroom and spa concepts, construction planning and many other things fill the day of the enthusiastic, hard-working and open-minded “Hotelière”. And what does she appreciate when changing the perspective and entering a hotel as a guest? Employee friendliness, honesty and smart design.
Rico Haus | Executive Assistant Manager, COMO Hotels & Resorts Malediven
A workplace in paradise
Rico’s decision about starting an international career in hospitality was driven by three major elements: “I am a travel enthusiast, very interested in getting to know different cultures and I absolutely love meeting people around the world.” Therefore, after graduating SHL in 2008 and collecting some valuable experience in well-known hotels in Switzerland, he took off. In Bali, he found himself not only a paradise, but also an exciting job: For four years, he was running “The Menjangan”, a peaceful, exquisite retreat within the boundaries of a National Park. From one workplace in paradise to the next. With his communicative, open-hearted and authentic manner, he’s currently the perfect host and manager of COMO Maalifushi – the first luxury resort in the Maldives to open in the pristine Thaa Atoll.
LUCIA EPPISSER | Managing Director, SEEDS Restaurant & Lounge in Yangon, Myanmar
A continuous voyage of inspiration
After an impressive career in the Fine Dining and Boutique Hotel industry in Switzerland, Lucia – a dynamic, active and sparkling personality - moved abroad in 2010, where she managed high-class “Le Planteur” in Yangon with her husband before running a five-star luxury boutique resort in Malaysia. Their culinary life journey resulted in realizing and opening their brainchild: SEEDS restaurant & lounge in Myanmar. And what about Lucia as a guest? “I appreciate a superb service and people going the extra mile”, she points out. Nothing less to expect from the staff that the passionate practitioner of Yoga trains all over Asia. Inspiring.
DAMIAN KILLER | Besitzer und General Manager, The Belle Rive Boutique Hotel Luang Prabang, Laos
5’635 miles from home
Damian has a vivid memory of his first day at SHL: “I sautéed 600 scallops and was happy that all the guests survived.” Since that day, a lot of good things happened for Damian. He now lives in Luang Prabang in Laos where he manages “The Belle Rive Boutiqe Hotel” since 2014. A mighty varied job for sure: He chats to guests at breakfast, talks through the daily business with his staff, answers emails, checks on reservations and numbers, leads expansion projects... “The move abroad was definitely a milestone for me”, says ambitious Damian who loves playing football with other expats after a strenuous day at work. And what does the demanding, fair guest appreciate when visiting a restaurant himself? “Good, honest service.” Simple, but crucial.
JÖRG MEILE | General Manager, Paris Marriott Champs Elysees Paris
Le savoir vivre
Jörg, who was born in Peru and lived in several South American countries in his youth, is now at home in romantic Paris. From an early age he has been fascinated by travel and the hotel business. So it was obvious for him to pursue a career in this industry. After graduating from SHL in December 1992, Jörg quickly gained a foothold in the international hotel chain business. However, he prefers to be a guest in small, privately run hotels. It is there, in unique surroundings and at home, that the General Manager recovers from his lively everyday life. "Cooking together with my wife is pure relaxation for me," says Jörg. Preferably with fresh, local products from the market. And, of course, French white wine and cheese are also a must. Bon appetit!
THOMAS MACK | Managing Director, Europa-Park Rust
Life is a roller coaster
You can physically feel his pride when listening to Thomas talking about Europa-Park, a thrilling entertainment park in the heart of Europe, run by his family and him. And rightly so. Five years in a row, Europa-Park was crowned “Best entertainment park worldwide” at the Golden Ticket Awards. A big achievement for Thomas, who acts as managing director and is responsible for the hotels, restaurants, marketing, PR, and the entertainment department. With so much on his plate, it’s understandable that there is no daily routine in Thomas’ professional life. “Every day is different, every day is exciting and challenging”, remarks Thomas, probably thinking of one of his many projects. Like the water adventure resort with 300 new hotel rooms opening in 2019. Talking about water: When it comes to his time at SHL, Thomas misses the beautiful scenery around Lake Lucerne. “That and the really good friends I made at SHL are amongst my fondest memories”, he adds.