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Get to know your teachers and their areas of expertise. We support and invest in the education of our lecturers, transforming industry specialists into high-level educators by encouraging further education.
Dean Swiss Hotel Management School
Dr. Dominic Szambowski has a PhD in Education from the University of Sydney and has held Senior Leadership roles at various higher education institutes. Before SHMS, he was CEO and President of the International College of Management, Sydney. His previous roles include Vice Chancellor of BERJAYA University College of Hospitality, President and CEO of INTI International College, and Executive Dean, Hospitality, Culinary Arts and Tourism for the INTI Group.
ASSISTANT DEAN - Caux
Ms. Claire Jollain holds master’s degrees in both education and marketing, with extensive managerial and entrepreneurial experience. For over 10 years, she has organized prestigious events with high-profile clients in Europe, from fashion shows and celebrity weddings to seminars and film festivals. A Gen Z expert, Ms. Jollain is also currently Academic Dean at HIM, developing academic programs that complement each school within a wide hospitality education spectrum.
ASSISTANT DEAN - Leysin
With a Master in Education and a Bachelor in Hotel Management, Mr. Patrick Taffin has been encouraging the growth of SHMS students since 2012, assisting them in reaching their full potential. He has 20 years of international leadership experience in the hospitality and spa industry, working for brands including Ritz-Carlton and Six Senses. He is fluent in five languages.
Andrea Leuenberger holds an Executive MBA, a Master of Education, and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Design Thinking. She has held executive positions and training and development mandates at hospitality establishments in major cities across three continents and speaks five languages.
Mr. Nektarios Lykopantis graduated from the University of Wolverhampton with a BA in Hospitality Management. He holds a Master in International Hospitality and Tourism Management from Cesar Ritz Colleges and a Master in Education from the University of Derby. He has worked as General Manager in luxury boutique hotels, and as Director of Food & Beverage for a Hotel Management Consulting company.
Ms. Persson begun her hospitality career in F&B and has worked around the globe from the Caribbean isles to New York City. She has been teaching at SHMS since 2015, sharing her expertise in interior design, computer design, events management and communication. Ms. Persson holds a BA in Hospitality and Design Management and an MA in Higher Education.
Simon Thompson is a lecturer and program manager at Swiss Hotel Management School in Caux. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry working at five-star hotels and as a business owner and entrepreneur. He is passionate about helping students reach their full potential.
Dr. Olesya Tomyuk has an MSc in Marketing and a PhD in Economic Sciences from the Lviv National Polytechnic University (Ukraine). Before focusing on education, she worked as a marketing manager in the automobile industry, about which she has conducted extensive research. Her current focus is on investigating the changes to consumer behavior in the luxury sector. She is also working on a project to empower women in the workplace.
In 2015, Mr. Mikhail Prudent brought his extensive hospitality industry experience in Food & Beverage, Rooms Division, and Sales to SHMS. He holds a Bachelor in Human Resources Management and Hospitality Management, a master’s degree in International Hospitality Management, and a PGCert in Higher Education. He is an Apple-certified teacher and is fluent in three languages.
PGD & MSc Supervisor
Mrs. Laureline Wilain holds an MBA in Hospitality and Restaurant Management, a PGCert in Higher Education, a DEUG in Languages applied in International Trade, and a certification in HR. She is pursuing a Master of Arts in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities with the University of Oxford Brookes. Mrs. Wilain’s property portfolio includes 5-star hotels and the luxury sector, with experience in UK, Canada, and France.
Dr. David Milson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology and Classics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a Master of Science in Town Planning and Urban Design from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and a Master of Studies in Byzantine Studies and D.Phil. in Archaeology from Oxford University. Dr. Milson also founded 3DWM Design, a company providing photo-realistic imagery for the architecture, development, and marketing sectors.
Christine Barnes graduated from the City University in London with B.Sc. honors in Business Management. After obtaining her PGCert in Education, she went on to teach. While holding the position of senior lecturer at the University of Derby, she achieved her MA in Tourism Management. Christine began lecturing at SHMS in 2008 while also working as an associate lecturer with The Open University.
Dr. Erich Steinbock has over fifty years of experience in the hospitality industry. Among the many positions he held throughout his successful career, he was General Manager at several of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company's properties and served as the Vice President of Food & Beverage. He obtained his MBA at the City University of Seattle and his PhD at Iowa State University.
Ms. Dácil Rodriguez holds a Master in Architecture from the ETSAM (Polytechnic University of Madrid). After obtaining her PGCert in Higher Education from the University of Derby, she has been teaching and exchanging knowledge for the past 8 years. She has been involved in large-scale projects for research, planning, and design practices in developing regions.
Mr. Gilles Charlet holds an M.Sc. in International Hospitality Management and PGCert in Higher Education, both from the University of Derby. With his extensive experience in operations and project management and facilitating learning, he has successfully developed hotels, resorts, clubs, restaurants, and bars. He held executive positions with companies including Hyatt, Shangri-La, and Mandarin Oriental.
Prior to joining SHMS, Ms. Kiki Costa worked in Marketing and Advertising for over 10 years for clients such as Nestle Waters, Bacardi-Martini, and Vocento Group. Skilled in Marketing Management, Design and Branding, Product and Business Development, her career taking her from London to China. She holds a PGD in Hotel Operations Management and Higher Education Studies.
Mr. Ludovic Cosandey is an alumni of the Ecole Hôteliere de Lausanne, with a postgraduate degree in the Art of Education from University of Derby and more than 15 years’ experience in international hospitality management. A specialist in food and beverage management and in property openings, as well as a collaborator on large projects for renowned names such as Disney, Vienna Int and Club Med.
Ms. Kathryn Medico is a journalist, author and lecturer from the United States. A former manager at Ritz-Carlton, she shares her experience in the hospitality industry with students. As well as having written a book on the issues of juvenile justice, 'A Perversion of Justice', she is an international conference speaker on the rights of children and a University of Derby and University of Florida graduate.
Nicolas Reine graduated from the Institute for Political Studies of Aix-en-Provence, majoring in International Relations, and holds an MBA from ESSEC Hospitality Management School. He has over 20 years of professional experience in market research and in the hospitality industry, having worked in various operational, management, and consulting positions.
Mr. Robin Reid graduated from the University of Loughborough with a bachelor's degree and diploma in Industrial Studies in Business Administration. He has extensive working experience in both Sales and Finance, establishing distribution channels across the globe as an Export Sales Manager for a leading Publicly Limited Company before returning to the UK and becoming a CFO for 15 years.
Ms. Véronique Gaspard graduated from the Université de Toulouse-Le-Mirai, obtained an MBA from the University of Essex and a PGCert in Higher Education from the University of Derby. She has launched luxury brands, recruited and trained sales teams, and opened and operated points of sales. She held executive positions with luxury cosmetic companies including Estée Lauder Group and Beiersdorf La Prairie.
With a BA in engineering followed by a solid career spanning over ten years in food and beverage and events management. Mr. Botnari holds a master’s degree in international business and a WSET Level 3. Mr. Botnari teaches concept development, business planning, operational efficiency, and resort management. He is also responsible for menu design, pricing, ordering, hiring, inventory and costing for the academic F&B outlets.
Mr. Philippe Gueltzer holds a Master’s in Higher Education with a focus on Curriculum Design, a BS in Hospitality Management from Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, and is a certified WSET Educator. He has over 25 years of international experience in hospitality including executive management positions and F&B operations with luxury hotels and businesses such as Sofitel, Raffles, BW, SLH, and Group Flo Asia. At SHMS, he coaches students with his experiences and passion for hospitality.
Ms. Vanessa Mendes is a hospitality professional with over 20 years in the industry. Starting in Portugal in events, she earned a PGD in Hotel Operations Management from SHMS and has held hospitality management positions from Dubai to Greece. Ms. Mendes also has a Business Master's degree in Strategy and Leadership, a Master's in Hospitality Management, a BA in Business Management, and a certification in F&B Management from Cornell.
Mr. Xavier Wilain brings his vast hospitality leadership experience in Rooms Division, Revenue, and General Management to SHMS. He has worked in various hotels including Fairmont Hotel & Resorts, for brands such as Best Western, and for his family Hotel Business in France. He is on the consultative board of Best Western France and holds an MBA and PGD in Higher Education.
With a degree in Literature and French teaching from the Pontifical Cathoic University of Chile and a Postgraduate Certificate (PGC) in Higher Education from the University of Derby, Claudia Gin has over 17 years of teaching experience in language education. She worked as a full-time pedagogical coordinator at Ecole Païdos in Lausanne. Ms. Gin specializes in scientific and applied pedagogical methods that foster creativity in students and aims to meet the needs of different educational realities.
Mr. Sabatini started his career in Paris as a Chef de rang in 2011, before stepping into the world of luxury bars at the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace in Switzerland in 2013. Creativity and imagination are two of his key ingredients and he is passionate about mixology. His passion has taken him to exotic locations such as Bora Bora and now to SHMS where he is the Service & Bar Instructor.
A 20-year veteran of the hospitality industry, Mr. Florin Cadar has held supervisory and managerial roles in hotel departments including Accounting, Concierge Services, Front Office, Housekeeping, Events, and Sales & Marketing. He has a Bachelor in International Business from Strayer University and a PGD in Education with the University of Derby. As Event Manager, Mr. Cadar was presented with Hilton’s prestigious Circle of Excellence Award.
After graduating from Paris with a specialized master's degree in marketing, Ms. Stephanie Hawawini joined Swiss Hotel Management School to study Food & Beverage management. She has worked internationally for the past 10 years in various positions for luxury hotels in London, Paris, New York, and Geneva, with a strong focus on events and marketing.
With a master's degree in global corporate communications, Ms. Tiphaine Larcinese offers an approach to event management that is both operational and marketing. She has 15 years of experience in event management. She believes in the strength of a team united around the goal of making each event a unique adventure for the participants, where every detail matters.
Combining his hospitality background with finance and business expertise, Laszlo Kele has held several directorship and chief executive positions for Swiss International Hotels & Resorts, Golf Hotel Rene Capt, 9Stars Riviera, and more. As an alumnus of a hospitality school himself, he shares valuable knowledge and experience with students. Mr. Kele is currently Senior Advisor to Accenture in Zurich.
A hospitality-oriented learning and development professional, Nina Fleurie has over 20 years of experience in hospitality education and training. From Hilton hotels to cruise ships, Ms. Fleurie worked in hospitality before transitioning as a hotel training officer to finally becoming a full-time hospitality educator. She has an MBA in International Hospitality Management from Essec Business School and Cornell University, as well as several education certifications from Kristianstad University, Oxford Brooks University, and SMC University.
Executive Director of Industry Affairs & Career Services
Ms Bjorklund holds a master’s degree in Education from the University of Derby. She served as Academic Director of Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM) from 2013 to 2023, having successfully authored key developments for the overall development and positioning of this brand globally. Ms Bjorklund has extensive experience in the hospitality industry, managing hotels and resorts in Europe, the United States, and the Caribbean.
Internship & Career coach, Caux
Ms. Ayshe Erinc began her journey in Sales and Reservations at the Crans-Montana Ski Resort and has vast experience in various hotel and HR functions. She lectured and worked in Sales and Recruitment at Vatel before joining HIM in 2021. She was awarded a BBA from Temple University specializing in Marketing and International Business and a MBA in Hotel Management.
Internship & career coach, Leysin
Mr. Carlos Walter has over 20 years of experience in hotel management and personal development. Melia Hotels International, NH hotels, and Club Med are just some examples of the companies he has worked for, in countries such as Brazil, France, and Turkey. He holds an M.Sc. in International Hospitality Management from the University of Derby. He has been an Internship & Career Coach at SHMS since 2015.
Internship & Career Coach
Ms. Danchi Gao Bigot earned a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Management in 1999 at the Institute for Hotel Business and Administration in Lausanne. She is fluent in Chinese, English, and French, and she has accumulated over 19 years of experience in Hospitality Education with four esteemed academic institutions in Switzerland.
Internships & Career Coach
Mr. Cosmin Popescu has over 15 years of hospitality industry experience, including as Front Office Manager and Reservations Officer. Having studied law as well as Hospitality Administration and Management, he now advises students on finding success in their perfect career. He speaks six languages fluently, including French, Romanian, and Greek.