We were honoured to interview Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale, who recently became a Corporate Finalist of the Year 2017. Read on to find out how his uncle’s summer lectures inspired him to pursue his hospitality dreams at The Fullerton Heritage.
I was born and raised in Rofrano, Salerno in Italy. As a teenager, my uncle used to work as a teacher in the Hospitality School and he would take me along to attend his lectures during my summer breaks. I remember it being a very different approach to academic education, which I much preferred. My uncle saw that I had a natural talent and enjoyed interacting with people so he encouraged me to pursue my education in the hospitality industry.
I really wanted to delve in further so I decided to study at the Hotel School of Hospitality in Italy, which I later graduated from with a degree focused on Food and Beverage. I was an adventurous individual with a growing desire to understand what the real world of hotels was like. With the support of my parents, I completed various internships in Europe and Abu Dhabi, where I worked for a renowned chain of hotels. Through my work experience, I came to realise that I was particularly passionate about hotel operations.
Working for the Beaurivage in Lugano and onto Claridges for the Savoy brand were the first official career steps I took in the industry. Given the opportunity to work in both back and front of house, I gained a diverse range of knowledge and in-depth understanding about hotel operations.
From then my journey drastically changed after being assigned my first role in Abu Dhabi and at the Conrad Hong Kong as a Maitre’d. This opportunity led onto me becoming the Director of Food and Beverage, where I was eventually appointed as the Resident Manager. In 2010, I was delighted to have been asked by the owners of Sino Hotels to support The Fullerton Heritage in Singapore as General Manager. This was a tremendous move for me as I was able to oversee the direction and development of the opening of The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore and their new ventures.
The hospitality industry has taken me on many different journeys and one thing that has always stuck by me is to give thanks and gratitude, whilst maintaining a positive attitude towards life.
I have been very blessed and fortunate to have been guided by a number of mentors whom I believe have helped me through 33 years of my hospitality journey. My first job in my 20s was with Mr. Fossati at Claridges, London (who had since passed on), he taught me the art and technique of anticipating customers’ needs and offering service with a smile. Through the guidance of Mr Dario Regazzoni, I learnt that apart from the ‘brand’ name, quality standards must always be maintained. His support and belief helped me advance in my career. Lastly, I also had the pleasure of working with Mr Dennis Clarke whose style of management was focused on empowerment, which is a teaching I have continued to embrace to this day.
Ultimately, one of the most important factors that has helped me to get where I am today is my team members. People are the assets in this industry, and it is so important to nurture and watch them grow. It is gratifying to see as their career path develops, it is a reflection of my own success. Striving to recognise the potential in others has taught me so much about myself as an individual and a leader.
Supporting the next generation of hoteliers is something that I have always been very much involved in. Annually, our marketing, banquet and culinary teams come together to organise Fullerton Junior Chefs programme, which aims to offer hospitality career options to underprivileged teenagers.
Now as a Corporate finalist of The Hotelier Awards 2017, I would love to be able to share my personal stories with students, in the hope of inspiring them for their future. I would also like to offer the younger generation an opportunity to work with me and my team at The Fullerton Heritage.