MeetingDesigner Anna Kehlskov: "I have more courage"
MeetingDesigner Anna Kehlskov: "I have more courage"
24-year-old Anna Kehlskov has always had a strong coordination gene and loves making the visions of our guests come true. She recently graduated as a MeetingDesigner at Comwell Copenhagen Portside, and the education, not to mention her time as an apprentice, has given her more confidence in herself and more courage to speak her mind.
Ever since Anna Kehlskov was a child, she has loved planning. For birthdays and special occasions in the family, she enjoyed being in charge of coordinating and creating a successful party. During Anna Kehlskov's sabbatical, a former colleague discovered her passion and talent for coordination and recommended that she apply for a vocational training program as an event coordinator.
"It's a relatively new program, so I hadn't heard of it before, but I applied and was accepted," explains Anna Kehlskov.
She was admitted to the program in September 2021, and in connection with this, she had to find an apprenticeship that would be responsible for the practical learning of the program. It was Anna Kehlskov's mother, who herself works in the hotel and travel industry, who recommended that she apply to the hotel industry. Initially, she was a bit skeptical as she didn't see the connection between the hotel industry and the role of an event coordinator - however, this was quickly proven wrong when she ended up getting an apprenticeship at Comwell Copenhagen Portside in Copenhagen's Nordhavn, where she really opened her eyes to the many opportunities:
"I thought it was just accommodation and weekend stays, but there really is so much more, and there are a lot of big exciting events and meetings that you can learn from."
A learning journey as a MeetingDesigner
Today, Anna has graduated as an event coordinator, or MeetingDesigner as it's called at Comwell, and has continued her budding career at Comwell Copenhagen Portside.
As a MeetingDesigner, she ensures that guests' events, from small meetings for ten people to events with hundreds of participants, are planned and organized precisely according to their vision. Her tasks are varied and include setting up initial meetings with clients, sending out quotes, providing regular status updates and sometimes even helping to organize larger events.
"My favorite part is the planning, where you go from hearing the customer's ideas and thoughts and then having to make it happen. The execution day is also great because I can sit back and see what we've achieved and then it's my colleagues' turn to run the show."
Despite graduating just months ago, she has already been in charge of events with hundreds of attendees:
"It was crazy the first time I stood as a student and hosted an event with more than 100 guests, and it just worked! I thought about that experience for a long time, and since then I've just been allowed to build on it."
It means a lot to Anna that people believe in her abilities, and she feels that there is a great deal of goodwill for her to succeed in her work tasks.
"As a student, you are really allowed to develop. Of course, you might make mistakes, but they know you're on a learning journey, so they just tell you what you can do differently next time," she says and points out:
"If you show that you want it and show that you're doing everything you can, then the opportunities will open up."
The students have a voice
For the last part of her apprenticeship, Anna Kehlskov has been part of Comwell's Apprentice Academy, which was established at the beginning of 2023. The Apprentice Academy is a supplement to Comwell's students' regular education and helps ensure that students get the best possible development and learning, both professionally and personally, during their apprenticeship with the group.
Along the way, students try their hand at cross training, where they perform tasks that normally belong to a different profession - for example, kitchen students learn how to work at the reception and MeetingDesigners learn how waiters work. The point is to create a greater understanding between different employees' skills and tasks.
For Anna Kehlskov, it has also been particularly valuable to be able to meet with other students who have the same education as her, where they have sparred with each other and shared challenges and success stories they have experienced along the way. One of the most important things is the personal development she has undergone, which has also been shaped by the security, trust and responsiveness the Elevakademiet has shown.
"I have gained more courage. When you feel that what you say is listened to and well received, you move forward," she says and adds:
"I can stand up and speak my mind to 'the adults' because it's safe here. At Comwell, students also have a voice."
Bigger events ahead
Although Anna Kehlskov has already tried her hand at larger events, she still has big dreams for the future. When she looks around at her colleagues, she is excited about all she has in store.
"I dream of gaining more knowledge, I still think there is a lot to learn. I have colleagues who have an insane amount of experience and I'm looking forward to learning more from them."
She is even proud of the fact that she chose to become an event coordinator and the way she has developed during her apprenticeship.
"I went in with this little planner gene, and now I've gained experience and tools that have made me even better," she concludes:
"You have to dare to jump into things - if you sit back, you won't develop."
In 2022, there was an average of 145 apprentices across the Comwell Group in kitchen, restaurant, reception, MeetingDesign and administration. They make up approximately 15% of the group's workforce.
Since 2021, Comwell, in collaboration with the Student Schools' Student Organization (EEO), has had role models among their students. The role models visit the 7th-10th grades of primary schools and talk about their vocational education and everyday life in school and internships.