Leila Aliyeva: Public Relations Manager, Four Seasons Hotel Baku, Azerbaijan

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Leila Aliyeva was born and raised in beautiful Baku, Azerbaijan. She was always passionate about working and being independent and since childhood had a dream of having her own office, which back then, sounded a bit odd to everyone, especially when knowing what other kids her age dreamed of. When she turned 18, the first thing she did was find a job in a lifestyle magazine, where she worked for around 6 months as a Photo Editor. Despite of the fact that she actually enjoyed what she was doing there, she felt like that job was not helping her develop and improve any of her skills and it was then when she realized she wanted to move forward and find something better. After attending quite a few interviews, she almost gave up but her friend mentioned to her that this new hotel was opening and she might want to send her resume there as well. Not believing even for a second that such a huge hotel chain would offer her a job with absolutely no experience in hospitality industry, she still went ahead and sent her resume thinking she had nothing to lose. In around 3 months after that she finally received the anticipated call from Four Seasons Hotel Baku, asking her to come for an interview. She will never forget the sincere, absolutely genuine environment in that pre-opening office where she had her first and last interview as she has passed all stages in only 1 day and the next call from the hotel was to share the good news and ask her to come and sign the agreement with them.

As a result, Leila started her career with Four Seasons more than 6 years ago as PR Coordinator, doing everything she loved and wanted to do. Her job consisted of writing, photography and all kinds of creativeness she could ever think of. After 2,5 years Leila got an opportunity to get a transfer to Sales Department, which was a completely different but very exciting path for her. She became Sales & Marketing Coordinator and in 2 years got promoted to Assistant Sales Manager. Her time in Sales helped her gain a great experience that is now helping her a lot in her new journey, as she recently was appointed to the role of Public Relations Manager of the hotel. Being only 26 years old and already managing a small department of hers, it seemed like a drastic change, a huge step forward and a blast from the past at the same time. But these two major transitions in her career from PR to Sales and back, made her realize that everything is possible and can go absolutely smoothly if you don't get scared of the challenges on your way, but instead - embrace them.

What do I do best?

I am very responsible. Sometimes I even find it a bit annoying :)

What makes me the best version of myself?

I think that the most important quality that has gotten me to where I am today is the fact that I can sometimes stop and look at myself from aside. See where and when I am doing okay and what other aspects I need to work harder on and become better at. Another thing is I am always very appreciative of reasonable feedback as I think it really helps you improve. But, of course, reasonable is the key word.

What are my aspirations?

My biggest aspiration is actually to always have one. I truly believe that those with no goals in their lives, no particular plan, no ambitions – cannot and will not be able to achieve anything. For me, there are few steps that are always running through my mind: realize what is it that I want right now and/or in the nearest future. Set a clear goal for myself. Make an action plan and finally, start working on achieving it. And it does not necessarily have to be something huge. Goals can be different. You can start with something small and then go bigger. In my case, no matter what I do or where I am, if I don’t have at least few crystal clear goals in my mind and a to-do list on each of them, you may consider me dead  All that I have at the moment, was once just a goal in my head.

My Biggest Success?

I guess the biggest success of mine is the fact that I somehow learned not to give up when it felt like the right thing to do.

My Most Challenging Moment?

I started working at Four Seasons when I was only 19 with absolutely no idea what a hotel job was. The first whole year when the hotel was in its pre-opening stage, it was very tough for me because I wasn’t used to such tight schedules, endless number of last minute tasks & deadlines and just constant pressure from everywhere. Everything seemed 10 times harder than it really was and at some point I thought to myself that quitting and finding an easier job (in terms of schedule at least) was not such a bad idea after all. I remember sharing these thoughts with my father and how he told me that I could quit my job anytime and run from anything that seemed difficult at any stages of my life. “But you have to be so ambitious, so goal oriented, and a true leader at heart to actually stay and continue no matter what.” – he said. That was the moment when I realized that it’s either you let the challenges that you face win you over or you benefit from them. I chose the second option and I could not be happier with the result.

My Motto?

I think not everyone understands that we don’t go anywhere without actually moving. So my main motto is to never stop moving forward.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

If talking about family, my most favorite person on Earth and of course, a role model as well, is my Grandfather. I don’t know anyone wiser than him. Apart from that, I am a witness to a beautiful story of one of my colleagues climbing her career ladder for so many years and becoming an amazingly successful, fair team leader that she is right now. Knowing how many obstacles she had during her journey, to see how passionate she is about her job, her team and any additional knowledge she could gain from wherever truly inspires me and makes me want to look up to her in every possible way.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

If talking about favorite destinations, I have lots of them. I wouldn’t be able to name only one or even a few. I enjoy travelling too much, but most of all I enjoy that feeling of inspiration and new ideas that I have in my mind and soul whenever I come back home from another trip. Fun fact about my trips and me: you know how people buy magnets so that they have something to remember their adventure by? Well, I collect songs and smells during my trips. Yes. That’s right. And I cannot describe the feeling I get whenever I hear for example, that one particular song I heard when walking into a café in Vienna with my parents many years ago or the smell of lavender I felt in that one small shop in Paris when I got completely lost and stopped by there to ask for directions. This kind of feeling is what I call having butterflies in your stomach :)

And if talking about places: my home is my favorite place where I am in complete peace with myself.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

Well, considering the field of my job, my favorite tool would be my Iphone. It’s my best friend when it comes to work.

My Current Passions?

I guess I am lucky enough to call my job my passion. However, apart from that I do have a little something that really relaxes my mind: my food blog. It’s been my passion for the last couple of years.