It was during the summer of 1991 when Claudia Zahner was travelling the world as a flight attendant that she decided it was time for a change in her professional orientation. Joining César Ritz Colleges meant giving up a dream-job to study in a hotel management school, but it was not the only amazing decision she has made in her life. Claudia is truly multi-talented and has treated with enthusiasm the challenges that have paved her life since she took this brave step. Marga Cretton, Ambassador for International Relations at César Ritz Colleges recently caught up with Claudia.
How did César Ritz Colleges help you to develop your career and activities?
"I started my studies in Le Bouveret, and was one of the seven pioneer students studying at the sister College in Washington, Connecticut, USA in 1992. I continued at the Brig Campus and finished at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, at that time a partner university of César Ritz Colleges. This opened the doors to a truly international career with management positions at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City and openings with Hyatt International. The importance of multiculturalism in the workplace as key to every company’s success took a predominant place in my outlook on business and life."
Claudia has always stayed in contact with the school, and after marrying and leaving the hotel industry she was a part of the team running the House of Switzerland during the Olympic Games in Athens, 2004. Today she uses her many talents in her role as Founder and President of "A River of Hope", a nonprofit organization, where her activities are even more diverse than ever. At this internationally active foundation she is raising funds and is responsible for the activities of the main project the Foundation runs in Sanga Mamba, an underprivileged neighborhood of Kinshasa, D.R. Congo. With all the projects that "A River of Hope" initiates, Claudia travels to raise funds through events and to give presentations on her vision for the charity.
Claudia has many unforgettable memories of her first year at Le Bouveret that she shared with two amazing roommates, Bianca from Australia and Surani from Sri Lanka, both of whom she is still in contact with. The trio even met up and returned to Le Bouveret in the Fall of 2009.
Claudia’s advice to aspiring students
"You have the world at your feet, and the choices you make will determine your path. Listen to your inner voice, have the courage to go forward in directions that you may have never dared or expected to go to. Don’t be afraid to live your dreams and keep an open mind: One step sideways may take you many steps ahead. Don’t settle for something you do not truly believe in."