There is an old Chinese proverb that says “A man without a smiling face must never open a shop”. George is one of the people gifted with a smiling face and a friendly attitude, and so he built a strong career on this two qualities.
George Bakopanos was born and raised in Canada by a Greek family. He started to work at 15, so he didn’t finished the high school. His parents trusted him – the Greek mentality is that a boy will always find his way just because… he is a boy. And he did find his way. He found a job in a restaurant, where, at the beginning, he was doing everything from pizza delivery to dish washing. In 5 years he was buying one half of the restaurant. After another year he was buying the other half.
This was only the beginning of a beautiful career who started in Canada and took him to Greece and then to Romania. He was working in hospitality industry all the time: from restaurants to hotels, tennis clubs, fitness clubs and SPA’s.
For 9 years he was working as a GM in Romania for different brands from the hospitality industry (Stejarii Country Club, Living Well, Sky Blue Hotel etc.) and he likes to say that experience is the best school ever. He never forgot from where he started and that’s why he is such a good leader: he knows the industry from the bottom to the top and he knows how important are the people in the hospitality industry. He is like a general who is always fighting in the first line, side by side with his soldiers. He gained his employees trust and trained them to be client oriented, not business oriented. If the clients are happy, the business is growing.
George’s philosophy is simple and it has applicability in any industry and in any company, no matter how big or small: “your sales are defined by your services”. This is the perfect translation into business of the old Chinese proverb.
After more than 30 years of experience, George became a consultant
specialized in customer care. He learned from hard work and from his own mistakes and now he trains others into how they can build successful businesses in hospitality industry.
I asked George if it was hard for him to be an expat in Romania, speaking only English. He said that a lot of people speak English in Romania, so it was easy for him. He didn’t plan to stay so much in Romania, but the deadline for leaving expired few years ago. Every time when he was planning to leave, a new and exciting project began, so he decided to remain for a while.
George is a great inspiration for many. His life proves that by using your strong points, in his case a nice smile and a friendly attitude, and with lots of hard work, you can reach the top of any career you choose.
Personal Branding Consultant