Alvaro Villar Lopez (Spain)
Les Roches Marbella, Hotel Management Diploma, 2012
Head of Operations WeWork Latin America (MEX, BRA, ARG, PER, COL, CHI)
“Les Roches provides you the right education and experience to adapt your professional career to different industries.”
Alvaro Villar (Class of 2012) is Head of Operations for WeWork Latin America and is currently heading up the challenging launch of the company’s new division in the region. Although he lives in Mexico City, most of his time is spent traveling to the numerous markets in the region.
After he graduated from the Diploma program at Les Roches Marbella in 2012, he continued his studies at Kendall College in Chicago where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Hotel and Lodging. Studying and working in Europe, Asia, and America as a student gave him the opportunity to learn a great deal about different cultures, international markets, the importance of service, and the diversity of people around the world. His perspective on customer service and the standards of excellence demanded by the hotel industry took a turn after traveling around the world. In his own words, Alvaro says, “Simple things, such as serving breakfast in a five-star hotel in China, Dubai or Portugal is a completely different experience for both guests and employees in each country. This insight is something I could not get from any other university or job experience.”
Today, as Head of Operations for WeWork Latin America, and tasked with launching a new concept in a new market, he is facing challenges that would be very difficult to overcome without his previous experience and education at Les Roches. Reflecting on these challenges, he explains that the company is “implementing a new concept to modify how people live and experience their work environment, how they interact with each other and develop innovative ideas or businesses. Right now, our network represents many renown companies, startups, investors, NGO’s, and freelancers around the world. They are all connected through our platform and spaces. Working with WeWork allows you to be part of something far bigger than yourself. To be part of this Team in the Latin American region is an opportunity I never imagined when I started my career in hospitality management.”
Founded in 2010, WeWork is a global leader in offering shared office spaces for professionals across the globe. Their mission states, “we set out to create something more than pleasant and shared office spaces. We wanted to create a community, a place in which to integrate individually, to be part of the group. A place where we are redefining success, measuring it by personal fulfillment, not just accounting results. The community is our catalyst”. Almost eight years later, the company has offices in 59 cities covering the United States, Spain, France, Canada, Germany, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, China, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, the Netherlands, Mexico, Peru, Japan, UK, and Singapore.
Before studying the Hotel Management program at Les Roches Marbella, Alvaro had studied Psychology in Tenerife, Spain. During his three years in Les Roches, he completed internships in Cascais, Portugal (F&B Cross Training), in China as Manager on Duty for the Kempinski Suzhou Hotel and Spa, and finally in Front Desk at the Ritz-Carlton Dubai International Financial Center.
One of his biggest achievements to date in his career is the number of people he has met and worked with during his adventures around the globe. On a personal level, Alvaro excitedly recounts how he met his wife while studying in Chicago. As it turns out, she is an alumna of Les Roches Switzerland. Half-jokingly he says, “I am very thankful to Les Roches, for giving me a second family during my years in Marbella, for meeting my amazing wife, opening the doors to my career, and the unique opportunity to work in different countries and industries.” It is worth mentioning that he also brought five colleagues from Les Roches to work with him in WeWork Latin America — “I knew that working with ex-students from Les Roches is a guarantee of success and I do not have anything to regret, they are all crushing it in their markets. Many of the them got promoted just after a few months”.
The role of Head of Operations is tough, but it also keeps Alvaro motivated. “It’s a very interesting challenge — you wake up every morning with new ideas of things to do, and this always keeps you moving.” Variety and change are important to Alvaro; for him, hotel experience gives you so many tools that can be applied in different industries. He continues by stating that, in his opinion, “hoteliers should move around, change industries, departments, responsibilities and countries, because otherwise they miss out on the complete vision of customer service”.
For Les Roches alumni deciding between different job opportunities, Alvaro encourages them to keep the future in mind. “Always try to challenge yourself. You should think: ‘I will take this job because it is going to put me in learning situations where I do not have any previous experience’”.