Good morning Bozena! First off, is that a Dutch name?
No, I’m Polish, although I feel very European! I’ve lived in The Netherlands for 18 years. My friends and colleagues call me Bo, by the way.
What made you move to Holland, Bo?
I grew up in southern Poland, and after high school, I had the urge to see more of Europe. To experience what the world has to offer. That’s when I decided to become an au-pair in Haarlem. After that, I started an international study program called Tourism & Leisure Management – a 5-year Bachelor’s degree. After my studies, I worked part-time as a sales executive with Gassan Diamonds, a diamond factory in Amsterdam.
What skills did you learn that you can still depend on today?
The experience in sales taught me a lot on how to deal with different kinds of people. I also learned how to provide unique experiences to customers, how to sell exclusive products and how to negotiate. Essentially, it was all about that personal touch and the experience you create. Today, I still use some of these skills when I negotiate with suppliers or deal with internal issues.
Are negotiations a large part of your job?
To a certain extent, yes. In my job every day is different. Supporting our Commercial Director, managing our office, dealing with suppliers, lease cars, team events and renovations to name a few. That’s what I love about my job, and why in January I’ll celebrate 10 years with Amadeus. I’m a person who fundamentally like change, but because my job here is so varied, I’ve never felt the urge to leave.
Besides, making sure that everting is professionally managed gives me a great feeling. I feel much appreciated and this drives me forwards.
Why did you make the switch from retail to a corporate environment?
I’m always looking for new ways to push myself, and it felt like the logical extension of my career at that point. Working for such a well-respected and great company such as Amadeus attracted me instantly. The dynamism of the travel industry is very appealing to me.
Do you come into contact with Amadeus’ product as a Management Assistant?
Some yes. I assist René, our Commercial Director, so I hear and see a lot of stuff pass by. I really admire our technology and the advantages it brings to the travel industry.
Do you make use of those technological advancements when you book travel?
Sure I do. By now the algorithm knows that my two favourite destinations are Greece and Italy. I just love the Mediterranean. Australia is on my bucket list too, but I can’t stand sitting still for hours and hours. Travelling long distances is a real challenge for me.
Pending your journey, who would you like to hear from next time?
Kees Kruithof from our Leisure department. He’s a great colleague and has had various positions within Amadeus. I respect his flexibility and I am curious about his experience.
Care to link up?Find Bozena Bakaj on LinkedIn here.