Aileen is the Customer Success Enablement Lead on the Implementations Team at ALICE. Throughout her time at ALICE, Aileen, currently located in Denver, has enhanced the Customer Success team and made significant contributions to ALICE.
ALICE’s People Team sat down with Aileen to chat with her about her career and what led to her current role at ALICE.
Tell us a little about yourself!
I have been in the hospitality industry for about 10 years; food and travel are my heart. I recently moved to Denver, and I am looking forward to exploring the city (when it opens back up)! I grew up in northern Mexico and my family moved to Texas when I was a little girl. When I was in middle school, my dad decided to open a Mexican food truck. Initially it was a hobby and he used it for competing for the best brisket in festivals around Texas. That’s really where I learned to love the food and beverage industry. My little sister would run the cash register, my brother was in charge of inventory and all the prep work, my parents were in the kitchen, and I would take care of the guests. I hope to run a food truck again in the near future with my family in College Station, Texas. Those were some of the happiest moments in my life. They are also where I learned about hard work and passion.
What roles and industries were you in that led you to your current position at ALICE? How have they impacted where you are today?
As an undergrad student, I completed an internship with Wyndham Hotels. The program was for hospitality students from all over the United States. I was recognized as one of the Outstanding Interns of the Summer, which helped me land my first hotel job at the Hilton College Station and Conference Center. I never thought I would actually get the job because, at the time, every senior in my program was trying to get a job at the Hilton CS. I did a little bit of everything there as I was trying to pick up as much hotel operations knowledge as possible.
Later in my career, I joined Hotel Emma in San Antonio as an Assistant Director of Housekeeping. This was where I learned about the impact of technology in the workplace. The hotel was opening and a lot of things were happening. In my first week of work, I was asked how I felt about technology. I’m no IT expert, but I grew up using technology, so that’s something! The next thing I knew, I was assigned the wonderful task of being the Property Administrator for our housekeeping software and I became obsessed with what it could accomplish for hotel operations.
During my 2+ years at Hotel Emma, I learned from brilliant leaders in the industry who have the highest standards of guest service excellence that I have ever encountered. I was then promoted to Front Office where I continued to see the positive impact of a SaaS in luxury operations. Hotel Emma instilled in me the important values of teamwork and that “YES” is always the answer.
I knew that someday I wanted to explore the hospitality tech space more and travel to the world’s best hotels. It’s what led me to ALICE and the rest is history! I’m thankful for all the people who pushed me and helped me get to where I am currently.
In your experience how has it been working for a hotel tech company? Did you ever think you would develop your career in this industry?
Never! In fact, I was surprised when I actually made it to the interview finish line and received an offer. In my mind, I had such a concrete understanding of the path I wanted to follow to be the General Manager of an independent luxury hotel. I was making my way through the Rooms Division and seizing opportunities as they came up.
I’m thankful that ALICE granted me this opportunity and almost two years later, I can say it’s been a phenomenal period of growth and learning!
Do you have a mentor?
I’ve gotten really lucky and have met some of the most genuine, caring, and honest people. The second I notice that somebody approaches management as a servant leader, they have my full respect. A mentor is somebody who truly pushes you towards becoming the best version of yourself and I have those people in my life. I wouldn’t be here without that guidance and trust.
What has attributed to your success thus far and has helped propel you to the position you have now?
I’ve always seen ALICE as a venture for creative individuals. You get a whiteboard and a marker and OFF YOU GO. With that being said, I’ve found it helpful to draw out what you’re envisioning so that others can get a glimpse of what you’re thinking. Communicating is essential, but taking action is even more impactful! It means a lot to me that I get to work with people who listen and explore fresh ideas -- people who encourage innovation.
I am currently in a hybrid role that is allowing me to be a Product Owner in our Service Delivery Pod, which is a core ALICE feature. ALICE continues to challenge me and grant me unique hands-on experience in areas that are of my interest, so that I can continue to grow. As a member of an Agile Team, I get to build things in cross-functional settings, working with different areas of the organization to answer the essential question of what we, at ALICE, can create to bring value to and empower hoteliers to continue to meet and exceed guest expectations. I am working with incredibly talented people from across the world on a daily basis and I'm truly grateful for this opportunity. As I continue to develop skills in such an immersive environment as a PO, I'm able to better understand what a transition from a Customer Success role to a Product role entails.
What tips would you give to future professionals?
Think about what excites you! We should all try to be a part of an organization that we admire, and that also gives you the freedom to try new things. Company culture is everything! It’s easy to feel like you may not be an ideal candidate, but take a look at your experience and previous positions; you’ll end up surprised with what you’ve done. Speak to somebody who is already in that field and learn more about the desired skill set. Above everything, be yourself and follow your aspirations!