Meet Our People
We just love to watch our people fulfil their potential! There are so many remarkable stories right across Hili Ventures of people who started out as McDonald’s crew, junior accountants, assistant managers… you should see them now! All the training, learning, perseverance and dedication has paid off for so many of our people and we’ve celebrated incredible achievements with them.
We couldn’t be prouder of our people.
Here are some stories featuring our ‘internal stars’. You never know. One day, we could be telling your story too!
Jan joined iSpot, our Apple Premium Reseller, in 2011 as Junior Sales Assistant and has never looked back! He had very basic knowledge of Apple devices at the time but his passion for technology and the brand fuelled his learning curve. Jan was soon appointed Coach at iSpot Arkadia to train colleagues. He was later named Premium Zone Leader after the opening of the new flagship store at Arkadia in 2016, working with additional brands including Bang & Olufsen and Devialet. Jan’s journey as Coach also evolved, and he is now responsible for training customers and industry professionals, sharing his expertise to help them enjoy the best experience from their Apple products. Jan is also a host on iSpot’s YouTube channel, iSpotTV.
Sandra joined Premier Restaurants Baltics in 2013 as Director of Finance. In 2015, she was appointed Country Manager for Hili Properties and continued to be based in Riga. In 2017, she was promoted to Managing Director and assumed responsibility for the strategy, markets and operations of Hili Properties in Malta, the Baltics and Romania where the company owns a portfolio of McDonald’s properties, office blocks, and shopping centers. She previously worked with IT distribution company ELKO Group and supermarket company Maxima Latvia. She has a Master’s in Social Science.
Mai Nguyen Thanh
Mai joined iSpot in 2015 as Customer Advisor and eventually took on the role of Visual Merchandiser, responsible for the ‘look and feel’ of the store. She has been part of the opening of various stores around Poland, including iSpot Arkadia, iSpot Galeria Północna, iSpot Posnania and iSpot Stary Browar. Mai was promoted to Premium Client Advisor within nine months, responsible for the Business to Business Customer support segment, and eventually progressed to Deputy Store Manager where she currently leads a team of Apple Experts at iSpot Stary Browar store in Poznań. Mai strives for honesty and engagement every day to develop her team and herself for the benefit of the company!
Jakub joined iSpot Poland in 2014 as Junior Customer Advisor, eventually implementing the Customer Service Standard after studying the ins and outs of the business. For a period of time, and as part of his development, he acted as coach in one of the largest stores in Poland – iSpot Arkadia – where he trained teams in the areas of sales, product knowledge, and customer service. Jakub was then promoted to Internal Trainer for the entire iSpot network in 2017 where he was responsible for new staff development, and supported stores in the setting up of customer workshops and development of sales related skills. He currently manages and coordinates all internal and external training within iSpot’s structure and is also responsible for the career path academy. Jakub studied at the University of Warsaw within the Faculty of Psychology, and his coaching technique is based on experience gained during employee psycho-educational training and competency development sessions.
Natalja joined the Premier Capital family as Transport Specialist in 2012, while the company took over a distribution centre from its previous service provider. Three years later, Natalja was promoted to Senior Logistics Specialist, where she took over the Distribution Centre office performance, while still holding Transport Specialist responsibilities. In 2017, Natalja was promoted to Distribution Centre Co-ordinator. She has gained a wealth of knowledge over the years and thanks to the international team she works with, her English has also improved significantly! Natalja is passionate about travelling and is also a body positive movement representative in Latvia, working hard to inspire women to overcome fears and challenges.
Ossama Mohammed Sharara
Ossama has worked with CMA CGM since 1993. For 13 years until 2006, he was Deputy Manager of CMA CGM at Damietta port in his native Egypt where he was responsible for commercial and operations. He then moved to Libya as owner’s representative, reporting to CMA CGM’s head office in Marseille. In 2012, he joined Libyan Waves for Shipping Agencies in Tripoli, the CMA CGM agent in Libya, as General Manager. Three years later, he moved to CMA CGM Malta Agency Ltd as General Manager. Ossama was appointed Chief Executive of Hili Logistics in March 2017. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Egypt’s Mansoura University.
Abdel Aziz Qader Nazzal
Abdel Aziz joined Motherwell Bridge Industries in 2012 as part of the engineering team assigned to the port cranes at Malta Freeport Terminals. The company later assigned Commissioning Engineer with KoneCranes. Palestinian-born, and holding Serbian and Jordanian nationalities, Abdel Aziz completed his studies in Communications Engineering in Split, Croatia, and is fluent in four languages. Abdel had previously held the role of Site Manager, when he was involved in the building of different types of port cranes in locations like Poland, Finland, Abu Dhabi, Togo and Morocco. Abdel is now based in Malta, working and applying his extensive years of experience at Malta Freeport Terminals.
Liudas’ interesting journey with Premier Capital started in 2007 in Lithuania, within the port city of Klaipeda. At 18, he joined the crew of McDonald’s in Taika and was promoted to Crew Trainer after a year, and eventually to Swing Manager. He moved to Latvia after six years to work in the McDonald’s Distribution Centre. It was the best decision he ever made – he fell in love with the vibrant city and fascinating culture of Riga and met the love of his life and married her! Two years ago, he moved to the IT department in Riga’s main office and is very much content with the way things have worked out for him over these past 10 years. He has a loving wife, lives in a beautiful city, and enjoys every minute of his job!
Li compares her work experience at Hili Ventures to the charming city of Riga – diverse, unique and exciting. She joined Premier Restaurants Baltics in 2014 as an accountant, when one of her duties involved conducting and overseeing fixed assets audits. The role gave her the opportunity to travel regularly and meet new people. Learning about restuarant equipment and getting acquainted with collegaues gave Li the golden opportunity to understand how business is conducted and how her line of work gives meaning to the actual operations and running of the business. She applied for her current role of Finance Analyst in 2017. It paved the way for new responsibilities and opportunities for Li to develop further, and to work hand-in-hand with hardworking, professional, and supportive colleagues.
Neacail, who holds a Master’s in Accountancy from the University of Malta, started his journey with the group in August 2016 as Assistant Finance Manager for Carmelo Caruana Company Limited. In March 2017, he moved to Hili Logistics, the logistics group within 1923 Investments, as Finance Executive reporting to the Chief Financial Officer. He was promoted to Finance Manager in September 2017. With his team, and the finance team at 1923 Investments, he is responsible for the finance function within this business unit.
Antoni is Deputy Store Manager at iSpot Targowek in Warsaw, Poland. He joined the company in 2017 as Customer Advisor, immediately immersing himself in the organization’s culture to develop his sales skills and knowledge about the Apple brand and its products. His mission is to ensure that iSpot is a place where visitors can feel comfortable and con dent that they will be given professional advice and excellent service. Antoni has played a pivotal role within the company, not only when it comes to the onboarding of new recruits, but by also actively motivating his teams to achieve targets and to progress career-wise.
Adrian joined Carmelo Caruana Company Limited in 2005, as Customs Clearance Clerk. Five years later he had gained enough knowledge and experience to start leading the Container Control Department, and eventually moved to the Freight Forwarding team in 2012 to start his journey as a Freight Forwarder. Adrian was promoted to Sales Executive in 2016, responsible for dealing with clients and promoting the company’s services. In 2017 he took on the role of Sea Freight Coordinator. He is now Operations Team Leader for Carmelo Caruana Company Limited.
Marina joined Premier Restaurants Latvia in June 2017 as Personal Assistant to the General Manager. She has diverse work experience in logistics, banking and an excellent administrative background. She holds a Master’s in Project Management. Marina’s role gives her the opportunity to work in a diverse, multicultural, dynamic environment, as well as the possibility to learn something new every day. Among her various responsibilities, she particularly enjoys event management. Marina is passionate about travelling, cooking and languages. She is fluent in Latvian, Russian and English, and has basic knowledge of French and Spanish. She recently started taking Lithuanian lessons.
Marius’ journey with Premier Restaurants Baltics started in Kaunas, Lithuania, where he was part of the crew at McDonald’s Gama. In 2014, Marius was promoted to Swing Manager and two years later to Second Assistant. He assumed the role of First Assistant a year later and supported the opening the new McDonald’s Nemunas restaurant, where he was eventually promoted to Store Manager. Throughout this journey at Premier Restaurants, Marius has enjoyed the opportunity of being surrounded by vibrant people with awesome ideas, while forming long- lasting friendships. He’s a firm believer that each and every day is a perfect opportunity to learn, to trust one’s own judgment, and more importantly, to build trust with colleagues and find ways to handle various situations effectively.
Premier Capital Hellas SA, Greece
Litsa’s journey with McDonald’s dates back to 1993 in Greece. She was promoted to Restaurant Manager just after three years and later joined the McDonald’s Operations Department in Cyprus in 1998, acting as Restaurant Supervisor. At the same time she established a training department and held several management and people development courses. Litsa returned to Greece in 2001, still holding an operations and training role, however her passion for food safety and quality led her to a quality assurance role. As QA Consultant, she was responsible for the product and safety procedures in all restaurants during the Olympic Games which were held in Athens in 2004. Litsa joined the Premier Capital family in 2011, also supporting McDonald’s restaurants in Malta, the Distribution Centre and suppliers in food safety and quality procedures. Three years later she was promoted to Director of Quality Assurance and successfully prepared all restaurants and the head office in Greece for ISO 22000 certification.
Alin joined Premier Restaurants Romania in early 2018. During his management training programme, which he describes as well-organised and detailed, Alin had the opportunity learn more abou the most appropriate techniques related to product and restaurant equipment handling as well as team coordination. Having learnt from the best, he was chosen to be part of the management team of a new McDonald’s restaurant in Braila in 2019. His message to all trainee managers is to always be curious, show desire, be motivated, and the results will speak for themselves!
For the past 15 years Alina has dedicated herself to delivering consistently superior customer service. She has had the opportunity to work with inspiring leaders within the company and, although she has had numerous achievements over the years, most would not have been possible without the support of her team! She believes that it is important to immerse oneself in training, to help others polish their skills, to acknowledge strengths and opportunities, to work hard to achieve financial goals, and to embrace diversity and new challenges at all levels. She is very happy to be working with McDonald’s and to be part of an amazing journey and opportunity to enhance the McDonald’s experience for millions of customers in Romania.
What Our People Say
Our HR team has designed a series of leadership programmes and follow-up training across the group to give our people the management and leadership skills they need to thrive and progress.
Our talent management processes are constantly being polished to ensure our talent pool reaches its full potential.
Here’s what our people have to say about the training experiences at Hili Ventures!
The training sessions were highly insightful, useful, challenging, and, above all, practical. Our trainer delivered the material with an extraordinary level of passion and enthusiasm. The programme has served as a catalyst for personal change in so many ways, on the job and outside work, and it has really opened my mind to new perspectives and to my personal and professional potential. As part of the training on communication skills, I was asked to deliver a talk on the finance function at Hili Ventures to the rest of the cohort, which helped test and hone my own skills. During the programme there was ample time for interactive sessions, such as role play, and it is was the perfect opportunity to listen to others’ experiences from across our markets, and to apply practical solutions to my actual job role. A site visit to a third-party company encouraged us to think outside the box and to analyse how other businesses operate and put their leadership skills into practice!
The training was conducted in a highly interactive manner and the trainer managed to create quite a discussion-oriented atmosphere. An informal training atmosphere helped break the ice, and the experience was helpful both on a personal as well as a professional level. The selection of topics provided participants with the required knowledge and a clearer view of work expectations. It is quite difficult to pinpoint only one important thing that I learnt from the training as every topic was useful. ‘Leading Change’, for example, creates awareness of the challenges faced as a result of change, while PRISM Brain Mapping identifies work preference profiles, behaviours, skills and motivations that help create a high-performance culture. These types of sessions help raise teamwork and efficiency to the next level!
Human Resources Executive (Hili Ventures, Malta)
The overall training experience was great! Not only was it fun and engaging, but I was able to meet people who are now my colleagues. I particularly enjoyed the Q&A session, and the experience itself was beneficial as it made me more aware of the kind of situations one can experience at work daily. The most beneficial session for me was the ‘Building and Leveraging Talent, Leadership – Applying the Foundations of Belief and Change and Innovation’. I held the role of Sales Executive for Carmelo Caruana Company Ltd at the time, and thanks to leadership training, and the way it opened my eyes to internal mobility within the group, I eventually made it to where I am today – Human Resources Executive at 1923 Investments plc, a role that is also in line with what I studied at University and which is my true calling! The techniques and skills I acquired from the training programme helped build a good solid foundation for the role I hold today.
The fast-track leadership training was a pleasant experience that allowed me to interact freely with other peers in managerial positions. It was the perfect opportunity to listen to others’ views and experiences, and to think outside the box. I learnt how to start handling certain issues in a more productive manner, and how to deal with different personalities in the most effective and efficient way possible. We all have different capabilities, however together we can bring great things to the table!
HR Business Partner (Services) (Hili Ventures, Malta)
We had excellent trainers and very stimulating content! Interactivity and the use of various learning activities ensured that we remained engaged throughout all sessions. I had the opportunity to reflect on my work ethic, and how this can fit within the overall values of the company I work for. Getting to know fellow colleagues from around the group, being able to discuss challenges and share knowledge were also key aspects of the training. In terms of career progression, I am now more able to work effectively as the skills acquired through training have allowed for self-improvement. A take-home message from this programme is to constantly reflect and learn how to understand myself as a leader in order to continue adding value to the group.
The fast-track leadership foundation programme was the perfect opportunity for me to take a step back from daily work life, to reflect, to learn and to develop myself. The most beneficial part of the training was the opportunity to listen and to share experiences with fellow colleagues from the various companies within the group. I believe that these types of training sessions will not make you a business guru overnight, but they pave the way for personal development throughout your career. Gradually, skills achieved become part of one’s personality, helping a person to progress personally and as an aspiring leader. A fundamental thing I learnt from this programme is how to distinguish between management and leadership and the ability to combine hard and soft skills like planning versus setting direction, executing and shaping!
Both training programmes I attended were delivered with the highest level of professionalism, thoroughly fulfilling my expectations. The topics discussed allowed me to further expand my knowledge within the field of human resources, and I found the theoretical parts of the sessions to be greatly advantageous as they allowed me to polish my motivational skills and to steer team members towards a suitable career growth path. I would say that the training is quite appropriate for people venturing into a leadership role, as it is useful in paving the right way for career progression. The experience ultimately helped make me aware of my strengths when it comes to leading teams and evaluating work performance.
I feel thoroughly grateful for this experience. The training provided was business-oriented and useful in providing the necessary skills, like interviewing techniques, that I can put to good use in my line of work. Our training group had the opportunity to share knowledge and useful tips, and to network with colleagues from other countries and businesses. Career-wise, I have certainly benefitted from this programme as I am now able to apply useful skills to my daily tasks. The most important outcome from the training was guidance on how to handle work-related change and challenges in a better way!
We had interesting debates, some of which were related to Einstein’s theories, and the most useful part of the programme was the opportunity to listen to the rest of the group, to observe others in a totally different environment, and to learn from their work and life experiences. The trainers manoeuvred the flow of the sessions in a highly professional, yet academic, manner. My career is a sum of challenges, victories, some bad experiences, opportunities, and influences along the way. I know that a ‘can do’ approach is far better than an attitude of expectation. As a result of the training I have learnt to be in tune with the company’s culture, yet authentic at all times, and how to live by its core values to ensure success. This is the true difference between a good manager and a real leader!
Life in our Locations
Estonia – Greece – Hungary – Latvia – Lithuania – Malta – Morocco – Poland – Romania – United Kingdom
Our people work in some really great locations, even if we say so ourselves!
Latvia is a beautiful country with huge forests and a long sea shore, both of which are missing from my own country – Lithuania. I had only previously been to Latvia as a tourist. It’s easy to get around both on foot and by car, and summer here is very warm. I enjoy meeting friends in the old part of Riga or getting out of city and spending some time by the sea. There’s always lots to do – bowling, go-karting and paintball – and I also get to practise one of my favourite sports, basketball!
I moved to Malta with my family in 2014 to join Hili Ventures’ finance department. I had only been to the island once before for the actual job interview, but luckily some friends of ours had already been living here for some time and were eager to share stories about the country and way of life, making it easier for us to settle in. Life is quite safe and tranquil here, the weather is warm and sunny most of the year, and there are plenty of activities to enjoy outdoors like water sports and walks around the island. I have witnessed drastic improvements to the infrastructure and economy since moving here. One can enjoy both ‘city life’, like the cultural capital city Valletta, or a more laid-back ambience like the seaside. It normally takes around 20 minutes to get to the office during the week, when traffic is not too heavy, and everyone speaks English here so it is not necessary to learn Maltese, although I’m considering taking up a few lessons in the near future. I enjoy the many restaurants and cafes available around the Maltese Islands, and one can enjoy a variety of cuisines. It is not difficult to stay active in Malta due to the pleasant weather, and I like working out at the gym in my spare time. The best way to enjoy the weekend is by the sea, or on a boat in summer, followed by some fine-dining in the evening. One can also plan a weekend getaway to Rome or Sicily as both are only one to two hours away by plane or ferry.
I joined Premier Capital in May 2011 when the company took over 19 restaurants in Greece and immediately moved to Athens. I’m from northern Italy and I my only encounter with Greece until then had been a holiday to Crete with friends as a teenager. You are surrounded by ancient culture here – the Parthenon, the museums and the monuments. It’s a very cosmopolitan country, bustling with tourists visiting in the winter to learn more about the history and in the summer to enjoy the weather and explore the islands. I communicate in English but it is very important to understand Greek because many people here do not speak a second language. Life outside work is very exciting: there’s always a good art exhibition or rock concert, and you can practise every kind of sport from skiing to surfing depending on which direction you drive. You meet lots of people by visiting the library, going shopping, or heading to the running circuit. The beach is only a metro ride away. I usually drive to the beach on weekends – all I need is a book and sun protection. Cold winters like we have in Italy don’t exist here – you can swim for nine months a year!
I moved from Latvia to Estonia three years ago, and I am currently Operations Consultant for Premier Restaurants Baltics. This move allowed me to gain more experience and knowledge in my field of work, and to experience a new culture within the Baltic states. I had only been to Estonia previously on business trips, so I was not too familiar with the local language and traditions. The country is one of the most digitally advanced in the world, and Estonians generally prefer to get things done using technology, wherever and whenever possible. Our McDonald’s restaurants in Estonia are located across four cities – Tallinn, Tartu, Narva and Pärnu – and it is fairly easy to travel from one destination to another by car. We are a very close-knit McDonald’s team here, and have no difficulties communicating with one another and helping each other out. Estonia is lovely country to raise a family as there is good quality education, many child-friendly places, sports complexes, and spaces for active recreation. I love taking walks and riding my bike along the bike paths in Tallinn during my free time. At weekends, I enjoy meeting friends in one of the many gorgeous restaurants in Tallinn’s Old Town. This beautiful city welcomes numerous tourists throughout the year, many of whom cross by ferry from Scandinavian countries. There is always a variety of exhibitions, concerts or events taking place, and I simply love living and working here!