Lisa Stoffel, an alumna of Glion’s BBA Hospitality Class of ’13 gives us some insights into the fast-paced Luxury PR industry while also opening up about the her role as Senior Communications Exec at luxury public relations firm, The Qode in Dubai.
To our surprise, Lisa revealed that like most high schoolers she too was a tad unsure of what career path she wanted to choose – “I thought hospitality was a good route because it has many departments to work in and it gives you experience, so changing career paths later on isn’t tough.”
Lisa was also quick to point out how vital her internship experiences were in her overall growth. “Internships give you a good chance to try things practically. If you don’t have that experience, it’s hard to know how you will work, what you will like etc.” She continues to mention how her initial internships in Sao Paulo and Phuket weren’t PR related at all.
In fact, Lisa only learned about her penchant for PR when she began to notice how effortlessly she made interpersonal connections. “The way I quickly and easily formed connections with colleagues, despite the different cultural backgrounds and languages was really amazing. My gift for PR had never been clearer to me.”
After graduating, Lisa had trouble finding work in PR since her previous experience was in different departments. “Eventually, I decided to start applying to private agencies and this is how I found my first job! My work at The Qode is related to hospitality as we have several F&B, and hospitality clients, so I am able to bring in my knowledge and experience from Glion when we strategize a new campaign for a brand.”
You can’t help but notice Lisa’s enthusiasm as she talks about her love for the field. “PR is a really fun job, and it was a great opportunity coming straight out of university to work with many different types of clients.”
Contrary to her chirpy disposition though, Lisa’s job is no cake-walk. Her role includes launching and managing PR campaigns for different brands across F&B, beauty, lifestyle and art & design industries in the Middle East. She mentions how her firm works primarily with luxury and lifestyle publications in the region and how giving them maximum exposure in the right markets is top priority.
On the many hats she has to don as part of her job, Lisa says, “As a Senior Communications Executive, I’m required to do a little bit of everything, as I’ve started handling some accounts on my own and yet still manage day-to-day activities such as reports, issuing press releases etc.”
All in all, she seems to be enjoying Dubai’s vibe. “Dubai is a fantastic city to launch a new concept, there are people from all over the world and always ready to try something new.” But she also recognizes the limitations of her target audience since it’s predominantly a Muslim country. “We have to be careful with our communication. For instance, instead of “Wine & Cheese”, we would say “Cheese & Grape” since we don’t mention alcohol in our news announcements.”
By now, we were already enthralled and a tad envious of all that Lisa had shared about her job. She was even kind enough to go into detail about what Luxury actually means in the PR industry.
“Firstly, it’s about dealing with a certain type of client. So The Qode is a luxury PR agency primarily because we deal with luxury brands in the region. Exposing the brands to the right social crowds and maintaining that level of exclusivity is a major factor in luxury PR.”
At the end of our discussion, Lisa gave us her personal mantra for hospitality students looking to pursue luxury. “Don’t be afraid to go further than hotels, there are so many industries that are related to hospitality that could be a good fit for students from hospitality management schools. Maybe you won’t figure it out right away, but don’t stay in a position you are not happy in because you are afraid to try something different. Also, you never know when someone you meet might come back in your life again at some point, so make sure you always leave a good impression.”
We’d like to thank Lisa for her time and reiterate just how proud we are of all that she’s accomplished.
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