We would like to officially welcome Francesca Lupo, Innisfree Hotels’ newest Director of Human Resources. Francesca was born in Italy, but it’s hard for her to call just one place home.
“My father is a retired Italian Air Force pilot,” she says. “So, we moved every two to three years.”
The constant moving from a young age has given Francesca time to hone a very particular set of skills — cue the Liam Neeson references.
“I have become really good at packing,” she says. “I can pack the whole house in less than a week.”
Francesca studied in both Italy and England as an undergraduate.
“I finished my high school in England because my dad was based there,” she says. “We moved back to Italy and I was accepted at Verona University where I studied foreign languages and literature.”
From a young age, she was inspired by her father’s service in the skies above.
“I wanted to be a fighter pilot and follow in my dad’s footsteps,” she says. “But at the time, the military was not accepting women. Plus, physics is not one of my strong suits.”
But she found a way to still make a living at a high altitude.
“The closest I could get to being a fighter pilot was becoming a flight attendant,” she says. “And I flew for a little over two years and that’s when I discovered a passion for hospitality.”
Which led Francesca to a new career path on solid ground.
“When I came to the states, I started working as an Office Manager at a guest ranch in Colorado,” she says. “I was selecting staff for the summer and I remember the owner walking by and asking if I ever thought about going back to school for HR. Six months later, I started working on my Master’s Degree at Colorado State”
As Francesca’s time in human resources elapsed, she found that the position was more nuanced than she previously expected.
“I discovered that human resources is more than just hiring and letting people go,” she says. “The hardest part is retaining the team members and people already working for you.”
And it was more than just a discovery — she was hitting the ground running with research and exploring every facet of human resources.
“My curiosity was off the charts,” she says. “I tapped into psychology and sociology as well as the more analytical and law disciplines. That’s what I love about this function. It’s not just one thing. You get to utilize so many different aspects every day. It just makes me so happy.”
Francesca is also using her studies in foreign language to her advantage as a human resources specialist. To her, it makes a huge difference.
“If I can speak to a Spanish speaker in their native language, it makes it easier,” she says. “It makes them feel more comfortable and more able to express themselves freely.”
And her time spent abroad and traveling to different countries has given her a unique insight into multiple cultures and how the people from those cultures react to certain situations.
“My experiences have given me the tools to gain a deeper understanding of what’s going on,” she says.
So far, Francesca is inspired by what she has seen at Innisfree. She told us about her first impression.
“It’s a very positive one,” she says. “What I like is to see people smiling and to hear people laughing. It means that people are enjoying where they are and what they are doing.”
We also wanted to know if she has any goals or unique challenges that she is looking forward to facing.
“My goal is to bring human resources to the people,” she says. “I don’t particularly like the term ‘human resources.’ We are dealing with people, so why don’t we focus on people?”
Away from the office, she is looking forward to enjoying the best that Pensacola has to offer.
“Anything I can do outside and surround myself with nature makes me really, really happy.”