May 07, 2021 11:06am

We are delighted to support International Women’s Day today and everyday!

Kate Draper 

Sales Manager Dublin

Hospitality runs in my family, along with strong women. In 1911, at 21 years of age, my great grandmother managed the Central Hotel in Portlaoise. She told stories about the many guests she looked after, including George Bernard Shaw! I was fascinated. So it was an easy decision to make to study Hotel Management in DIT Cathal Brugha Street.

After finishing college, I headed to the US and was selected for a post graduate position at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel. As graduates we were working in operational roles in banqueting at events for up to 4,000 people, and at reception checking-in groups of up to 650 people. These experiences helped me to develop my decision making processes and reactions, but also gave me a thirst for knowledge and development.

I wasn’t satisfied with just learning operational roles, I really wanted to be exposed to Sales, especially at that level. I pitched it to my line manager and offered to do it on my own time, so one day a week I worked in the Catering Sales team on my ‘day off’.

When I retuned I ended up following the operational route for the first part of my career but my heart was in sales. I’ve worked as a General Manager, Hospitality Sales Manager and Group Sales & Marketing Manager across catering and events companies, moving into corporate sales. With the help of strong female role models, I got the opportunity to shine and be an integral part of the team.


That’s why I am so excited to be part of this Dublin Staycity team. My position as Sales Manager combines my multisite, corporate, and new opening experience all into one, taking the best parts of my previous roles into this new role. I knew it was the right fit after my first interview with Karen Wright the Director of Sales, we just clicked and I knew we would work well together.

There is a great ethos of collaboration in Staycity and I could feel, in my very first week, that this is driven in part by the commercial Director Paula Mullaney’s passion for communication throughout the sales teams across Europe. But also from our CEO Tom Walsh who is focused on our growth and yet still finds time to catch up with his team and the new recruits. It’s great to Bee somewhere that is buzzing about the near future … pardon the pun!.


Marion Millazo

Director of Sales France, Italy, Germany

As a French girl from a little village, my first time working in London in 2012 was a revelation. I travelled there to do an internship, after studying English in Germany for two years. I worked in an agency, as the point of contact between companies and hotels from all over the world. That’s when I realized I wanted a career in hospitality.

I loved the sales part, but I also wanted to be more on the ground, so immediately after getting my degree in International Business Studies I started looking for a job in a hotel. I started to work in Lyon as the Sales & Events Coordinator for Hilton, then found a Sales Executive position for a French aparthotel brand in 2014. I was in charge of 3 properties in the Lyon area and became fully immersed in the aparthotels’ world. It wasn’t long before I became the Sales Representative for the brand’s 17 hotels located throughout France.


At this time, I had the chance to mix my job with one of my biggest passions; travel. I got to visit several French cities and meet many different people, it was really exciting. A few years later in 2017 I got the opportunity to join Staycity. It felt like the perfect place to evolve my career while working in a multicultural environment (and practice my English!).


I joined as Sales Manager for the Lyon property and had the pleasure to manage a team of two sales executives. It allowed me to grow both professionally and personally. From there I was promoted to Director of Sales for France, then for France and Italy and now for France, Italy and Germany.

It’s a real pleasure for me to speak English every day, interact with people from different countries and cultures, to see how each market reacts… and adapt to it! It makes each day pretty special and I always have something new to learn. It can be very challenging, but one thing is for sure… You never get bored!

It’s an honor to work in a company that values its employees and allows them to evolve internally and grow their potential. I am not the only example and I’m sure we’ll continue to grow from here!


Marie England

Cluster Operations Manager

I joined Staycity Group in March 2017 as Operations Manager for the opening of our Manchester Piccadilly aparthotel. I have led a fantastic team that has continued to wow guests and encourage a very high percentage of repeat business.

More recently I’ve been given the opportunity to enhance my role and I’m now the Cluster Operations Manager for Staycity Piccadilly and our new, larger Northern Quarter aparthotel which opens in Summer 2021. I am responsible for the daily running of over 400 apartments and 60 staff across both properties.

My primary role is the day-to-day strategic management of the operations team (front desk, housekeeping and maintenance) in support of the Cluster GM which involves leading, encouraging and developing the team to deliver outstanding results. This has been reflected in some consistently high guest scores, with a 9.2 Booking.com rating since opening 4 years ago in Piccadilly.


I have also led and guided my team through the last 12 months of the coronavirus pandemic, managing the change in expectations and Health and Safety requirements, whilst keeping the staff safe and focused on continuing to provide a great guest and team experience.


Staycity have also actively encouraged my personal development and supported me whilst I studied and gained my Level 5 CIPD HR qualification.  I continue to be involved in the Staycity inhouse Bee Ready Development Course which is aimed at supporting, coaching and guiding future talent and promoting from within the company.


Karen Byrne 

Front Office Manager

I started my career when I was 18 years old as a part-time Bar Team Member in Liverpool, whilst taking a year out to decide what I wanted to do at University. 13 years later I was still there as I progressed into a full-time role in the restaurant, working my way up to Team Leader, Assistant Manager and finally Restaurant Manager. Like most jobs in hospitality, you never do just one thing, so over the years I also became an expert in meetings and events and reception.

After 13 years I was given some advice by my new GM that I should leave (not because I wasn’t good at what I was doing but because he could see I had more potential than the hotel could ever offer) and so I took a leap of faith and took a job as Restaurant Manager at The Richmond Aparthotel in Liverpool city centre and after 6 weeks was promoted to Food & Beverage Manager overseeing all F&B operations for the hotel.

13 months later (13 seems to be my number!) I joined the Staycity team as Front Office Manager at Manchester Piccadilly, my first move away from Food & Beverage. I spent my first 6 weeks learning the ropes from Daniel and the team and then we went into ‘new opening’ mode; recruiting a full team, putting processes into place, dealing with contractors, team training  and generally getting things ready to open whilst the property was still very much a building site.


Since we opened in October 2018, my role has constantly developed – one minute I could be having a good chat to some regular guests at the reception desk, the next I’d be serving 300 Norwegians their breakfast – no two days are the same.


I feel very passionate about creating the best guest experience and strive to deliver a 10/10 service and achieve great results. It’s not just those special WOW moments – it’s the evening chats with them after a long day or a wave in the morning as they leave. There are some special moments too – arranging birthday cupcakes for long stay guest staying through lockdown.

Since opening we’ve won 2 awards at Liverpool Lifestyle awards – Best New Business Award in 2019 and Best Hotel in 2020.


Sophia Vasileiadou

Accounts Payable Specialists

 My name is Sophia Vasileiadou and I work for Staycity Group in the Finance department. I was born and raised in Kavala, a small city on the north coast of Greece and ever since I was a little girl I remember loving numbers, Maths, drawing reports and playing with cashier machines. Thanks to the family business I was introduced to sales and customer service from an early age, which played a crucial role in developing my social skills and shaping my personality.

After finishing school, I left my hometown to study Economics in Thessaloniki, the second biggest city in Greece, and after lot of studying and hard work I got my degree. Right before graduating I was offered an internship in The Greek Exporters Association and worked for several months as Market Research Analyst Assistant.


Coming from Greece, it was inevitable for me to work in the hospitality and tourism sector. My passion for tourism and my love for Economics led me to Switzerland to study for my masters, where a year later I was proudly holding my MBA degree in Hotel management and Finance.


Straight after graduating, I was eager to start my professional journey in hospitality, so I headed to Ireland for a work opportunity and moved to Dublin. Not having any significant experience in hotels, I chose to work for the Front Office department so I could have a better understanding of the way a hotel operates. After acquiring enough experience in hotel operations, I decided to work in the department I loved the most, that’s when the Staycity opportunity appeared!

I joined the company almost a year and a half ago to work as Accounts Payable Specialist. I feel very lucky to work in an environment with such inspiring and hardworking professionals throughout all different departments, but especially my team which has supported and motivated me since day one.

My goal is to one day become a happy and successful CFO with a positive impact on society. I am very grateful to all the women and men that fought and are still fighting for women’s rights and gender equality in the workplace.


Sandra Kilgue

Night Manager, Wilde Covent Garden

I am of German and Chadian (north central African) origin and I grew up in a spa town in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany. 

I’ve loved travelling ever since childhood, and have a passion for history as well as different languages and cultures. Sometimes I think my love for travel must have been inherited, since all my family members are keen travellers, however I’m the only one among them who works in hospitality. Mixing with people from all over the world was very appealing to me as I am a curious and adventurous person.

I did an apprenticeship in Hotel management and studied Tourism. I worked and travelled around the USA and the UK for various hotel chains (Holiday Inn, Marriott and Native among others) before joining Staycity at Wilde Covent Garden in 2018.

I liked the style of the new Wilde property in Central London and the fact that the company was expanding so there would be future opportunities. My colleagues were friendly and my night shifts suited me well, as this allowed me to be flexible with my time and continue my studies of Modern Languages.


I have worked as a Night Manager for many years but it can be tough on your body and your social life suffers as you can’t spend evenings with friends and family. You also don’t get to see many guests, or work the same shifts as your colleagues. But you’re involved in all aspects of the hotel and gain experience in every department. It’s an all-round job with a lot of responsibility. It’s been quite a unique experience to be living in the hotel and looking after (essential travel) guests during the current national lockdown. I’m looking forward to welcoming our international guests back soon and going on a few trips myself!




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