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EHL Success Stories: Davina Cisier, Director Development Luxury AccorHotels

Discover our Alumni success around the topic of sustainability.

For the 6th edition of EHL Success Stories, we welcomed 8 of our Alumni to share their success. The topic this year was sustainability.

Who is Davina Cisier?

Davina Cisier (AEHL 2013) is the Director Development Luxury at AccorHotels.

After her graduation, Davina worked in Revenue Management for the Swissôtel Metropole Geneva and Swissôtel Bosphorus Istanbul.

She joined AccorHotels in July 2016 through the acquisition of FRHI Hotels and Resort.

Currently she is leading the growth of the AccorHotels Luxury portfolio in Europe, which include the luxury and LifeStyle brands of the Group Accor: Banyan Tree, Raffles, Orient Express, Delano, Fairmont, SLS, So Sofitel, Sofitel, The House of Originals, Mondrian and Hyde.

Can you describe yourself when you started EHL in one word versus now?

When I started EHL I would say I was just young and naïve, now I’m more confident, ambitious and always wanting to learn more.

What are the best moments you keep from your studies at EHL?

There’s many amazing moment at EHL, study wise I think it was when we handed over our IP finance, such an achievement after 5 weeks of hard work. We were living this project, it almost felt as though it was a real development.

Another great moment was with the inter-cultural/ inter-religious committee when we organise an event around Judaism. The aim of the event was to explain to the students the basics of Jewish practice – what you need to know if you work in hospitality and welcome religious Jewish guests. The event was really well received by the students and the staff, I even had some people contacting me few years after EHL to have the booklet we did at the time because they were organising an event involving some Jewish guests and they reused our material with their team. It was so successful that we replicated the format with different cultures.

All in all, I had a lot of great moments at EHL and met amazing people.

Looking at where you stand today, how do you think EHL made a difference in your life?

EHL opened my eyes to the word of hospitality and also taught me how to be proactive in any job, to be curious and ambitious.

What were the most rewarding experiences during your studies at EHL?

The most rewarding moment was definitely when I received my Bachelor as well as winning the prize for coming 3rd in the French section. Before EHL, I wasn’t good at school, I was passing every year with average grades. I really discovered in myself a passion for hospitality and numbers throughout my studies, so receiving this prize in front of my family was very rewarding as they were definitely not expecting it.

Tell us something that you learned at EHL and that you are using every day.

The IP finance: it was a very intensive 5 weeks, we had only 3 guidelines: Casablanca, branded hotel, 4-5 stars and we had to do a full feasibility study and at the end recommend whether to invest there.

We had to look for the information, to be curious, be creative. The group needs to work together to find out how to put all the information, find benchmark, reach out to industry people and then analyse the information.

These skills translate to professional life, when working in the industry, no one tells you how to find information, you need to find it yourself. The IP finance project was an invaluable experience because it used skills closest to what I do today.

How do you see your career evolving?

Not sure really. I love what I do today, and I feel privileged to be in a position that I would never have imagined I’d be in at this age. Looking to the future, I don’t have a defined plan in mind, I think opportunities come when it’s the time to grow or make a change.

What would you advice to young people that are not sure about their career aspirations?

Don’t hesitate to speak with the people around you: teachers, alumni, family and friends. Don’t be afraid to make the wrong choice, you can always change later if you’re not happy where you are.

Every experience counts and helps you to build your career and who you are.

Photo Credit: Banyan Tree