Good afternoon Priya. How do you face the complex HR challenges of today?
First of all, I do it together with my team. I have 2 great ladies working with me in the People & Culture team, 1 in Brussels and 1 in Eindhoven. Together we take care of training, payroll, recruitment, candidate selection & talent management for the whole of Amadeus Benelux and for Pyton, our newly acquired sister company.
Of course, we don’t stop there; I see HR as an important strategic business partner for the entire company, not only locally but also in an international context. That means nurturing a positive culture, planning out resources and developing our teams in the way the company is headed.
How did you prepare for your career at Amadeus?
I’ve been in HR all my career. I first attained my MBA in India and arrived in Belgium some 20 odd years ago. I started my career here at a typical IT firm, but when I was asked to join Amadeus, I jumped ship immediately. Many of my family members are in the travel industry, so Amadeus was already a household name.
All in all, it was a pretty good decision. After 17 years, I’m very proud of what we have achieved together at Amadeus Benelux.
Do you feel half Belgian after living in Brussels for 20 years?
I think I’ve integrated myself well with the Belgian culture and the weather. I do value a lot of what I see here: the structured processes, the peaceful attitude of the people, the timeliness … But I wouldn’t consider myself half-Belgian. Rather, I consider myself a citizen of the world.
How do you deal with cultural differences?
Working in HR, I deal with people every day. That means dealing with culture differences, too. But I still see each person as a human first. The key for me is to find the person’s drive. To help the person become him- or herself to the fullest.
Can travel help someone become a more complete person?
Absolutely! Travel connects people and cultures. And the beauty is that the travel experience is different for everyone. I, for instance, love to meet new people when I go abroad. Discovering new cultures, seeing new places – that is what makes me feel whole.
I try to actually live with local people wherever I go. That means no fancy hotels, but small family-run B&Bs. I like people, not destinations.
In which country do you feel that connection the most?
It might sound a bit unusual, but for me it’s my own home country, India – I experience it differently every time. The warmth, and I mean more than just the weather, is so special. There’s colour everywhere, passion, nature, … So much to explore. I’ve only seen a small part and I come from India! Of course, I know the South quite well, but I really want to explore more of the North.
How would you most like to travel in the future?
Easy. Simple. Fearless. Borderless. Imagine a world without borders! I’m a dreamer, like John Lennon, as you might have noticed.
I think Amadeus is doing a pretty good job of helping us accomplish these things and shaping the future of travel. We have the top talent and top technology needed to accomplish a lot.
Travel is becoming more accessible, but borders seem to be growing in strength.
Sadly, that is true. My dream is that Amadeus, as a global player, has a role in opening up our world. We’re already doing it on the technology side, but influencing security and political issues is something else entirely.
Thank you for the conversation, Priya! Who would you like to see next time?
I’d love to hear from Sam Griehser, Unit Manager – Products and Solutions. He’s our latest hire and I’m interested to see Amadeus from a new perspective entirely.
Care to link up?Find Priya Mouttou on LinkedIn here.
People & Culture Director