Marie-Louise Sciò

Marie-Louise Sciò

Ben Pundole: The hotel industry is historically a very male dominated environment. How do you not only navigate that, but how do you succeed and thrive in this environment?

Marie-Louise Sciò: I think you just do what you believe in doing, and then you just have to stick with it. In our offices we have 14 girls and one guy. I’m a big believer in women. It is an industry that would certainly need more women.

Ben Pundole: I agree, certainly in senior positions.

Marie-Louise Sciò: Yes, and I think especially in Italy. Abroad there’s more women involved, but in Italy, it seems like it’s quite male-centric. That will change.

Ben Pundole: Any advice for people who want to make it in the hotel industry?

Marie-Louise Sciò: That’s a really big question. I never studied hospitality. I grew up in it, so a bit of it is innate. You have to be someone who likes people, that’s key. The basic fact is you really need to be a people person. The way I got into the family business — which was the last thing I was planning on doing — was just bringing a lot of my own interests in the experience. If you are true to who you are and you can bring that into your job, that is what I could advise: just bring yourself.

Ben Pundole: What are some of those interests that you brought into the hotel world?

Marie-Louise Sciò: Film, art and music. It’s about being a conductor of an orchestra. You have to make everything play together. The hotel experience is a sensorial experience, so all of those senses have to be on the same page. I brought all of that together to make the famous pasta sauce, a little bit of salt and pepper and da-da-da-da-da, and put it all together.

Ben Pundole: It’s not something you can write down. There is no recipe.

Marie-Louise Sciò: No. There’s an idea maybe on what you want someone to feel. It’s like when someone comes to your own home, how you want them to feel, what you want them to smell, what you want them to eat. It is — excuse the word, because I find it overused — curating that sensory experience that you do at home and doing it in a hotel. I only do in a hotel. My house is a mess. I do the opposite.

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