“The secret of happiness is to do things you like. The secret of success is to like things you do.”
This interesting saying is what Martin Bremond, a Vatel Nimes 1998 alumnus said. Today he works as the Administrative Manager and Technical Adviser to develop CEESO, the European Osteopathy Higher Education Pole.
Far from the realm of hospitality? Not really! They’ve got a lot of things in common. Let’s have a look.
Martin, let’s start by talking about your days at school. What made you want to attend Vatel and what are some of the memories you have?
As I spent my childhood in Africa, I wanted to study to be able to work in a field where I would be able to speak several foreign languages as well as travel. After high school, where I studied English and Spanish, I wanted to continue in a service-based sector with an international outreach as well one that worked with people. Working in the hospitality field corresponded to this.
In 1995, Vatel was already reaching out to Europe and the World. I decided to start studying in a program that, in my opinion, seemed complete, varied and enriching, both from a personal as from a professional point of view. What are my fondest memories? People that I met. My teachers, directors and friends in class. I succeeded in my studies because one of my classmates motivated me, coached and advised me. Nineteen years later, she’s still my best friend.
So what kind of opportunities did you have when you graduated?
My opportunities always stemmed from things I loved doing and people I met.
On January 1st, 1999, I was appointed as the Polyfunctional Front Desk Officer, at the Pavillon de la Reine, located on the beautiful Place des Vosges in Paris. The hotel was luxurious, with a dynamic team and multi-national guests.
In May, 2000, after having looked around a bit, I was hired as the Reservation Clerk, a highly coveted position in the historical and emblematic Cliveden Relais & Chateau Hotel in England. My best professional experience: 139 rooms, a staff of 182, 4 reservation agents, 3 restaurants including one with a Michelin star, a spa, etc. In October, I was elected by Management as Employee of the Quarter, and I won a four-day day in one of the hotels belonging to the chain, the Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath. As many luxury hotels in Great Britain had their end-of-the-year gala at our hotel, I received two job offers that I turned down as I really wanted to stay at this hotel: a Guest Manager position in the London Savoy as well as a Receptionist position at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park.
As I had honed my sales skills and also had worked at the restaurants’ cash registers and in the Finance department, in May, 2001, I was promoted to “Guest Relations Executive.” My role here was to maximize revenues by selling the hotel’s services and products while continuing to ensure total customer satisfaction. Unfortunately I had to leave England for personal reasons, and in June, 2002, I began working at the Hotel du Castelet for its grand opening.
In November 2003, I decided to change careers and turn a page and began working at the CEESO, in Paris, where I began as the Executive Secretary and now have been the Administrative Manager as well as the Erasmus Coordinator for the past ten years.
So how did you go from hotel management to osteopathy?
I wanted a job where there were a lot of possibilities of being promoted, in a European context where I would be able to continue to speak foreign languages and have many different things to do, to satisfy my natural curiosity. Also one that would continue to allow me to use my sales and relationship skills, that would require commitment, and one that would be a service based position. Osteopathy, a fascinating field, coupled with the field of education, met all of these conditions. I applied in various private education schools, and was hired by CEESO.
How did you get the job you are currently doing?
I worked for ten years to obtain what I wanted to do. The fact that I was always promoted is the combined result of all my personal work: determination, failures and success, dogged perseverance and natural curiosity. I was able to be promoted to this position because of three points.
- First of all, General Management uses Anglo-Saxon management techniques: Gender diversity, a very important team spirit, plus recognition of skills and knowledge to get the job, not just because you have a degree.
- Continuing education also allowed me to be promoted. After having learned to speak Italian by myself, in 2011 I was appointed to be the Project Leader to launch our third center, located in Venice. I was also the internal ISO 9001 auditor.
- And last but not least, my personal skills. My natural curiosity and various skills allowed me to represent my company in congresses, to manage partnership files with French and foreign universities, to organize scientific research congresses in France and in Russia, to speak at the Royal Society of Medicine in London to present the work I was doing, to manage registration and candidates for my school, etc.
Could you please give us some more details about your job and what CEESO does?
CEESO is the number one training center for this profession in France. We are located in Paris, Lyon and Venice. CEESO was founded in 1991. It is a benchmark for the quality of its curriculum, relationships with universities and outreach to the medical and scientific communities.
My role consists in:
- Ensuring our top quality image on a nationwide and European level,
- Ensuring good management, optimizing costs and income,
- Representing my school,
- Fostering and monitoring development.
How did the skills and knowledge you acquired at Vatel as well as your experience in hotel management allow you to comprehend the sector of higher education?
I’m naturally curious and out-going. When I was a student, I was close to my teachers, the administrative staff, technicians and executive board at Vatel Nimes. Let’s just say that Vatel really gave me much more than expected.
I also acquired the skills and qualities that I use day in and day out: respecting hierarchy, an open mind, alertness, conflict management, multi-tasking, reactivity, pro-activity, a service and sales mindset, and above all keen people-oriented skills!
What are your short, mid and long-term projects?
My short term projects are to gain even more skills in this position. My mid-term project is to work in an innovative and modern company, in the service field, either in teaching or hospitality, that has a European or international vision and gives me the possibility of being promoted and in which I can use my transversal skill sets.