Kimberley McCormick, information systems manager at the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, explains to Janet Harmer how her 32-year career with Hilton Worldwide has enabled her to pursue her passion for travel
Describe your position at the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice?
I'm responsible for the information technology (IT) department at the hotel, which involves interacting with all departments on a management and business level, seeking new methods to carry out day-to-day activities using IT.
How did you get involved in working in hotel IT?
It was back in 1988 when I told the general manager at the Hilton in Milan, where I was then working, that I wanted to work with computers, which were just beginning to be introduced. As a result I helped set up the computerisation of that hotel.
Although I've been in the IT department for over 20 years, I'm not a technical person or a computer fanatic. It really helps that I originally worked in hotel operations.
What enticed you to work in Italy?
In 1982, when I was working at the Hilton in Stratford-upon-Avon, I undertook a two-month exchange with a member of staff at the Hilton Milan, where I worked as a front office cashier and income auditor.
While I was there, I met the man who I eventually married, Alessandro. I decided to eventually return to Milan, which I did the following year, via a job I first took in Germany at the Hilton Dusseldorf.
Where else is the world have you worked?
During my time as assistant information systems manager (ISM) and then ISM at the Hilton Milan, I was loaned out to other hotels - in Rome, Sorrento, Kuala Lumpur and Algiers - to provide IT support and training.
I then spent two years as cluster ISM in Dubai working for the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah and Hilton Dubai Creek.
I joined the Rome Cavalieri, part of Hilton's Waldorf Astoria Collection, in 2005, before transferring to the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice in 2006, eight months before the hotel opened the following year.
How does the hospitality industry differ between the UK and Italy?
The Italians are much more laid back than the British. I often want something done now, but here it usually takes much longer - and that can be very frustrating.
Would you advise young people in the hospitality industry to work abroad?
Absolutely, it is a wonderful way to experience other cultures and a different way of life. It is only by working in a country, that you really find out about a place - it is not something you can discover on holiday.
What do you enjoy about Venice?
To be honest I don't particularly like living in Venice, as it is a difficult place to get around. So I only stay here during the week and go back home to Milan at the weekends.
Venice is a wonderful city for tourists, but there is nothing for residents. I also don't particularly like the Venetian food - there is too much seafood and liver. I like being close to the lakes and the mountains in Milan.
What do you dislike about living in Italy?
The bureaucracy - there is so much of it. Because this is one of the worst countries for tax evasions, there are lots of controls in place.
Is there anything you miss about the UK?
Yes, Boots the Chemist for paracetamols - which you can't get in Italy - and a whole host of toiletries. Cadbury's crème eggs and fruit and nut chocolate. And decent Cheddar cheese.
CV KIMBERLEY MCCORMICK
1978 Stratford-upon-Avon Hilton as coffee shop waitress, then restaurant cashier, front office cashier and night auditor
â- 1982 First permanent job abroad as front office cashier and night auditor at the Hilton Dusseldorf, Germany
â- 1983 Transferred to the Hilton Milan and worked through a host of positions including PA to the executive manager, sales coordinator, F&B coordinator, assistant information systems manager (ISM) and ISM
â- 2002 Appointed cluster ISM for Hilton Dubai Jumeirah and Hilton Dubai Creek
â- 2006 Transferred to Hilton Molino Stucky Venice as ISM