iDelight Luxury Hospitality Service
Marta Otrebska worked at Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai as Club Lounge Manager before moving to Magnums Academy. Following this, she founded her own business iDelight Luxury Hospitality Service, as well as started Lecturing at Kozminski University in Poland.
What is your most memorable career moment with Mandarin Oriental?
The first memorable moment that will stay with me forever was breaking the record of Forbes Travel Guide history and winning five stars within nine months of operations – after the opening. I remember the joy on everyone's face, the celebration, the pride of an amazing achievement as a team; we were literally given wings to fly.
I selected this moment because it consists of fundamental parts that significantly influenced me and shaped me into the person I am now. The big factor was the leadership – I had true leaders, Directors leading by example. I didn't have to read books about leadership – I had Mr Barthes, Mr Apraiz, Mr Teixeira, to look at and be supported by them. The Directors of other departments were also there for me. This was an experience – I never worked in a hotel with such dedicated support from top management. They were always available. This taught me how crucial it is to be for the team and how it determines the team's engagement, positive attitude – how it enhanced the work environment.
Another aspect was the training. We were given lots of tools, not only with instruction of usage but also inspired and empowered – that's how you really develop and grow your people! I think plenty of hotels are afraid of empowering their team members; they worry that the colleagues allowed to make decisions will make more mistakes. This was never an issue here. My superiors allowed me to stumble, and they offered a hand to assist. This also defined my way of developing the team's skills.
The third thing was the atmosphere. Mandarin Oriental has one of the most beautiful Service Cultures I have ever worked with. The Pillars & Guiding Principles are timeless, unique & mindful guidance for everyone. These ensured keeping the highest standard of service constant and influencing and shaping departments and colleagues' relationships. We wouldn't achieve the prize if we did not have a firm understanding that we are one team working for one goal. Treating each other with kindness, supporting each other, genuinely caring about each other with this beautiful Asian sincerity and humbleness is what makes this brand so successful. Mandarin Oriental truly appreciates and praise their people.
After you moved on from Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai, you enjoyed a very successful career, having founded your own business, iDelight, as well as started lecturing at Kozminski University. What did you learn during your time at M.O., that helped you in your career growth?
Well, I definitely learned that I became a true fan of Mandarin Oriental, and that I owe a lot to life-long relationships that I build there with wonderful people. I am still bonded with Mandarin Oriental through butler projects. I always start my introduction by highlighting that my initials are MO Marta Otrębska, exactly like MO Mandarin Oriental, so I laugh that I was destined to be with this brand forever.
I partially answered the question in the first part. But what also helped me with career growth is the constant craving for perfection, delivering the best, the finest, the most unique, the attention to details, the elegance & grace. And my favourite part that I enjoy entirely: the passion for developing others, sharing knowledge and interest for the legendary standards – incorporating them in real life, making them natural.
Mandarin Oriental's Asian heritage cultivates kindness, empathy & respect towards others – I have significantly flourished in this aspect. It did not only help me with my career, but my personal life as well.
What also makes me follow the brand, and every update is the innovation & creativity; last year, I heard Anja Luthje (one of my forever hotel role models) in an interview about Beekeeper App. Although I have never used it, I have learned that this is a massive tool for developing colleagues, keeping them connected, enabling them experiences exchange and not only this! Once you fall for MO, you never fall for anything else.
What advice would you give to other Forever Fans who are still growing their careers?
I have a very simple recipe. Whatever you decide to do in your life, do it only up to Mandarin Oriental's standards and passion, nothing below – your success & fulfilment is guaranteed.
If I could take the opportunity to thank some people for being there for me: Eric, Julia, Pat, Yvonne, Daisy, Scott, Lyndell, Atsushi, Andrew, Hilde, Marco, Virginia, my whole Club Lounge Team, and all with whom I had the pleasure to work with – thank you & I miss you!