10 years after Les Roches: Alumnus shares top 5 tips to becoming a leader

3 Apr 2019 | by editor


Name: Andrés Tobón Lascano
Nationality: Colombian
Graduation year: 2007
Program: Diploma in Hospitality Management
Current position: Area Director of Revenue Management
Company: Marriott International, Caribbean and Latin America


After graduating from Les Roches, Andrés Tobón Lascano went straight to Olympic Beijing. His career then took him to Argentina, Costa Rica, Trinidad, Mexico and the US, achieving a master’s and working across multiple hotel departments. Now leader of a team of 20 across the Caribbean and Latin America, Andrés’ journey is one only the hospitality industry can give you.

“After completing my studies at Les Roches, I did a one-year management training program at The Ritz Carlton Beijing Financial Street. It was 2008, the year of the Olympics in Beijing. I focused on Food and Beverage and was then assigned to lead the In-Room Dining Department for the hotel.”

Andrés may not have been competing at the Beijing Olympics, but he was definitely on his way to achieving success. “After Beijing I went to complete my bachelor’s and get my master’s degree in Vatel University in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The opportunity presented itself and I had a brief experience working in a small boutique hotel in the F&B department, before being selected for the Elevator Graduate Training program for Hilton International.”

How to become a leader – Andrés’ top 5 tips

1. Take all the opportunities the hospitality industry offers

Whether you work in an independent hotel or for an international chain, few industries can give you exposure to the cultures and worlds that hospitality can, as Andrés discovered. “My first assignment was in the Doubletree Cariari hotel in San Jose, Costa Rica focusing in the Rooms and Finance department. I also had the opportunity to carry out a one-month special project supporting the Hilton Trinidad in Port of Spain.

“I was then transferred to the Hilton Mexico City Reforma for the second part of my graduate program, focusing on the Sales and Marketing department. I was assigned the International Sales segment with excellent results. Because of my performance I was then offered a permanent position as Director of Catering and Special Events, which is part of the Sales and Marketing department for the hotel.”

2. Find your inner passion and leverage it

As the hospitality industry continues to evolve to meet the increasing needs of investors, guests and the marketplace, the role of revenue managers has seen a dramatic change. Andrés discovered a hidden passion for the position, and its challenges. “In 2014 I decided to venture into revenue management as I had identified a strong interest in this field. I moved to Washington DC to work in the Marriott International Headquarters in Bethesda, MD as part of the Revenue Management Remote Solutions organization.

“After one and a half years there I moved back to Mexico City to open the Remote Solutions organization for Caribbean and Latin America with 10 hotels. We now have over 75 hotels in our portfolio, 16 different brands in 18 different countries and, as Area Director, I lead a team of over 20 professionals.”

3. Punctuality, commitment and consistency: Embrace the qualities employers look for in a leader

Given his experience across multiple hotel departments in properties around the world and his current role, Andrés is well-placed to understand the requirements of a leader. “I think it is crucial to have an eager and curious attitude and raise your hand before opportunities are given to you. You must ask and make yourself be heard, letting them know how hungry you are for opportunities.

However, it all comes down to your punctuality, commitment, consistency and generated results. And, as a leader, on how engaged and productive your associates are and how you positively impact their lives, lead by example and support their growth and development.

4. Celebrate any small victory

Recognize and celebrate every small victory you have. Do the same with the challenges you face. Learn from them and thank them for the lessons they can provide you with. In my own belief, everything happens for a reason and you must accept challenges as they come and always give your best.”

5. Have a plan

“Stay true to who you are, your values and what is right and wrong for you. Once you achieve that, success will come and will continue coming. Make sure you have a short, mid and long-term plan and identify mentors who are willing to guide you. Be persistent and…don’t give up!”

Thank you to Andrés for sharing his amazing career journey so far, we wish him continued success and will check back regularly to see where he is in the world!

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