Humans of AHA – Ion Stefan (Truly)
Some call him Stefan, others Ion, as they do not know which is his first name. But his friends call him Truly.
The short story behind Truly is that he is an AHA alumni, he was student president, deeply involved in American Hotel Academy’s marketing actions, he experienced internships and living in different countries, working with personalities and he is married to a beautiful woman from South Africa.
The long, unseen part of the story is that Truly is an open-hearted and passionate person, with a deep hunger for experiencing new, he adapts and always looks for a better version of himself, he is not afraid to fail and learn from his failures and he always looks for opportunities
Also, above all, there is a pronounced sense of tribute to work that he gives, making all of it possible with the investment of effort and time. When he puts his mind to something, he also adds his heart to it. That makes Truly a top notch person and a Human of AHA.
Recently, as he likes challenges and continuous learning and improving, he became a Master of Science in International Tourism and Hospitality Business Management student. There is a plan behind this new decision. Let’s find out what it is:
Q: What is your plan for escaping this pandemic wave?
My plan for escaping this pandemic wave is to study for 1 more year (MSc in my case), slow down for a couple of moments, reflect upon myself, fix my attitude and mentality, where it needs fixing, and start rebuilding. Compose a list of 2-4 SMART Goals for 2021 and just enter survival mode (lower costs as much as possible and save as much as possible), until all of this fades away.
Q: What were the 3 most important things you learnt from AHA?
- Image and Brand Recognition (let’s say this is one thing, ok?)
“Both my wife, Lauren, and I shifted towards the online environment, where we post all sort of videos, reels and interesting pictures on our Instagram and Facebook account. Online is the future.”
Q: Please, tell us about all your projects and the time spent away from home.
I have been going in and out of the country since 2013 (internships). I have worked and lived in the United Arab Emirates, United States of America and South Africa. I have completed several management trainee programs in the US (1 at Frenchman’s Creek Beach and Country Club, as Chef de Partie and 1 at Chateau Elan Winery & Resort where I experienced both front of the house and back of the house, as a Private Chef and Server).
In 2018 I moved to Cape Town, South Africa where I had multiple responsibilities. I worked as a business consultant and event manager for the Romanian Consulate at Cape Town, with the Dean of Consular Corps – Mr. Andrei Zaharescu and Deputy Consul – Cosmina Ionescu.
I also have my own business Truly Cooking Co. – a business that addressed the “pain” of private chef-ing, small café consultancy, small events catering and sometimes cooking classes. (not professional classes, but fun, social ones where wine was involved).
Since the pandemic started, I had to survive, so I did multiple catering jobs for construction companies (as this sector was not affected at all, it actually boomed). Both my wife, Lauren, and I shifted towards the online environment, where we post all sort of videos, reels and interesting pictures on our Instagram and Facebook account. Online is the future.
I have now relocated to Brasov, Romania and I am looking for a new challenge: HoReCa Business Consultancy.
Truly's Career Timeline and Future Projection
“My goal is to start a career in HoReCa business consultancy and leave the operational aspect behind”
Q: What made you decide to pursue a Master’s degree with American Hotel Academy?
It was a matter of circumstances. We didn’t have any direction and were feeling a bit lost. Then I receive a message from Teodor Berszan (Senior Admissions Officer), and here we are. I think it was pure fate. Or very good Marketing from your side.
Q: What do you expect to achieve when you graduate the MSc Programme?
My goal is to start a career in HoReCa business consultancy and leave the operational aspect behind, or at least on the back burner. I have some experience (10 years, over 70% in professional kitchens) but my main quality is a very strong work ethic. Every project I had to do, every event, every trainee program, everything I do, I commit to it 110%. The same for this MSc, I am focused and committed and I have high expectations for myself and from this program.
Q: What is the vision of yourself in 10 years, let’s say, in your early 40s? 🙂 (I also hate this question, but I have to ask it!)
This is a scary question. I just imagined the number 40 and I started sweating.
My vision shifted since the last 2 years.
- Professionally: To feel like I have an accomplished career. Successful consultancy and business development career. Accomplished entrepreneur. At least 2 properties owned. No debt.
- Personally: A family of my own, 1-2 mini Truly’s running around. Can you imagine the chaos? And to somehow crack this work-family life balance.
“…(the academy) gave me a platform to voice my opinions and showcase my skills. It refined me into this product that I am today. And last but not least it gave me a professional-like attitude and growth-mindset.”
Q: What did this academy give you?
Multiple opportunities. Lots of networking and faith in me. Faith that I am somebody and made me feel special. A lot of knowledge. For example, because of this academy, in 2013 I started being interested and invested in Emotional Intelligence. It gave me a platform to voice my opinions and showcase my skills. It refined me into this product that I am today. And last but not least it gave me a professional-like attitude and growth-mindset.
Q: Did it take something out of you?
Some of my negative traits like impatience, frustration, anger and a lack of professionalism.
“Nobody owes you anything, it is up to you to become something”
Q: Can you please give a piece of advice to our future students?
Work your butt off! Pardon my French. Work hard, study even harder. Do not take anything for granted! Respect and cherish your parents and siblings! Network a lot, ask difficult questions, extract the most value out of this academy.
DO NOT BE ENTITLED!!!
Nobody owes you anything, it is up to you to become something. Meditate, reflect, think about yourself first. When you figure yourself out, then you can help others. Don’t think that just because you are studying in Romania or, in the case you were born here, that you have to start from behind. We have a huge advantage. We are always seen, in the Western World as the underdogs and you can prove everybody wrong.
Last but not least, be kind with one another and create friendships and strong bonds with the people in your class and in the academy. They will become your business partners in the future.
Q: Will you recommend American Hotel Academy to somebody close to you?
I will always recommend people to join American Hotel Academy. Look at my journey since 2013. How can I not? And if somebody has second thoughts, just send them my way for a conversation.