Indré Rockefeller,
Co-Founder, Creative Director, and
Co-CEO of Paravel

Within five years of graduating with an MBA from Stanford, Rockefeller launched her first company, the travel accessories brand, Paravel.

 

“I had wanted to start my own company ever since graduating,” she explains, “but first I wanted to make sure I had a strong foundation.” The former ballerina built her foundation in fashion; going from Voguette (she was Anna Wintour’s assistant) to Modette (overseeing trunkshow) and then finally to Delpozo, where she served as US President. Newly launched in November, Paravel has already gained a reputation for its chic and practical reinvented cotton canvas suitcases, bags and other essentials.

What did you want to be "when you grew up"?
A ballet dancer. I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to dance ballet professionally for 5 years. My dance training instilled in me a sense of discipline and resilience that is especially useful as an entrepreneur.

 

What do you love most about your job?
I love that every day I am pushed to problem solve creatively and think outside the box.

 

Best advice you ever received?
Always stay in learning mode.

 

What would you advise someone today?
Don’t put pressure on yourself to achieve your goals overnight. Stepping stones are part of the education process.

 

What is your office style?
You’ll most likely find me in a pair of Brock jeans and a top that has some element of playfulness. If I have an event after work or a lunch meeting, I’ll often wear Rosie Assoulin, Johanna Ortiz, or Rosetta Getty.

 

Do you have something that you wear over and over again?
I have a set of Paravel pochettes that keep my essentials organized, which I transfer between bags and grab for quick meetings and coffee runs.

 

Describe your desk.
My desk is as eclectic as my schedule. You’ll always find leather and fabric swatches for the product designs I’m working on, colorful notebooks to keep track of my to-do list, a small vase full of #2 pencils and, of course, Apple everything.

 

3 characteristics required to do your job well.
Stamina, creativity, thick skin.

 

How would you define success?
If I can stop and look back on a day and feel lucky, that’s a successful day.

Indre's Picks

Irene & Lydia Forte,
Rocco Forte Hotels

Irene, Brand Manager, Lydia, Restaurant and Bar Development Manager

 

We’re accustomed to seeing great family businesses passed on only through the male line. Thankfully, times are changing. Sisters Lydia and Irene Forte work for their father’s global luxury hotel empire (which boasts legendary properties such as Hotel de Russie in Rome). Though based in London, the duo is rarely home, often traveling to more than five countries a month. “We’re addicted to the British Airways points system,” says Lydia, the elder by one year, who manages the brand’s bars and restaurants (28 so far—and counting). Marathon runner Irene looks after development and wellness. Together, the sisters have tackled hotel snacks. “We have partnered with local nutritionists to develop healthy offerings across every touch point.” So next time you discover something in the mini bar you actually want to eat, you’ll know who to thank.

How did you get your start?
L: My first job in a restaurant was at The Wolseley as Assistant Maître d'. I was a waitress and worked my way up, becoming head waitress, spending time in restaurant accounting, and doing a short stint in the kitchen.

 

What did you want to be "when you grew up"?
I: I really wanted to be a premier league football manager until about the age of 16 when I realized it was an unrealistic dream! I'm still an avid Chelsea fan.

L: A nanny or an artist!

 

Best advice you ever received?
L: From my husband: have a long-term vision of what you are trying to achieve over the next 5 or even 10 years. From my mother: great style—and a clear aesthetic—is very important, especially in hospitality!

 

What would you advise someone today?
I: Always chase your dreams and don't let anyone tell you you can't achieve it.

 

What is your office style?
I: I'm always in heels—pointed high Jimmy Choo stilettos are my work staples!

L: Always heels, mostly Aquazzura. But I mix up the clothes, I love a Saloni dress for work.

 

Describe the state of your desk.
I: It can get a little bit messy! I sit on a Technogym wellness ball and have photos, pens, papers, herbal teas and vitamin supplements (to remind me to take them!) on my desk.

L: Always very tidy! Laptop, computer screen, telephone. A wicker pot for pens and pencils. Underneath my desk, a spare change of flat shoes, which almost never get worn.

 

3 characteristics required to do your job well.
I: Eye for detail, passion, creativity.

L: Great people skills, attention to detail, energy & passion.

 

Greatest achievement to date?
I: Getting £250k government funding to create Map My Future [a hospitality careers app] and winning the Health & Nutrition Catey and the Shine Rising Star Award.

Irene's & Lydia's Picks

Nina Flohr,
Founder and CEO of Kisawa Sanctuary, Mozambique

High-flyer Nina Flohr started out in the male-dominated aviation industry. As creative director of VistaJet, the private aviation company founded by her father, she elevated the private jet experience to new levels—think Cecconis and Nobu on board, an in-flight crew dressed in Moncler and plane tails painted by famous artists. “It’s not easy to explain what you do when you are trying to create something new,” Flohr comments on her current project, a sustainable resort on Benguerra Island in Mozambique. Part five-star hotel, part conservation center, Kisawa Sanctuary seeks to merge luxury hospitality with social and environmental responsibility. “It’s a new take on resort vacationing.”

What do you do?
My latest project is an amalgamation of my passions. Namely, the conservation of aquatic life, the social empowerment of Mozambican people, luxury hospitality and innovative architecture. Together they make up "Kisawa Sanctuary." The hotel aspect of Kisawa Sanctuary is due to open in 2018 whilst the Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies recently commenced operational activity.

 

What do you love most about your job?
That I have been exposed to many cultures. Working with local communities, creating social empowerment programs and helping grow the next generation are huge passions of mine.

 

What is your office style?
Comfort mixed with inspiring pieces that have color!

 

3 characteristics required to do your job well:
Excellent communication, being organized and patience.

 

Greatest achievement to date?
On the VistaJet front, working tirelessly to achieve the ultimate customer experience and witnessing our growth over the last 12 years. As it relates to my current project, the opening of the Bazaruto Center for Scientific Studies is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.

 

Do you take all your vacation days?
Time off is extremely important, we all need to re-energize. I take as many days as my projects allow.

Nina's Picks

Melissa Biggs Bradley,
Founder & CEO Indagare.com

Despite her daily meditation practice, Melissa Biggs Bradley is a messy desk person. “I once read that [it’s] a physical manifestation of brainstorming, so that is my justification.” But it doesn’t really matter—she’s regularly out of the office exploring interesting places around the world for her members-only travel company, founded in 2007. Named one of New York’s fastest growing companies by Crain’s, Indagare (pronounced In-duh-gar-ray) combines dynamic, inspiring content (Bradley was previously travel editor at Town & Country) with the service of a boutique travel agency, to bring people the extraordinary experiences and tailor-made trips they’ll never forget.

How did you get your start?
I was the travel editor of Town & Country for 12 years and have been traveling since I was very young to Australia, Africa and Europe with family, and then for work to Asia and South America.

 

What did you want to be "when you grew up"?
I wanted to be part of the Pony Express. I didn't realize that its last run was more than 100 years before I was born, but I loved the idea of racing horses with a purpose.

 

What do you love most about your job?
Scouting destinations and meeting people who can serve as real ambassadors and share what's special about where they live.

 

Best advice ever received?
Embrace criticism and examine mistakes; they have a lot to teach you.

 

What would you advise someone today?
Follow your natural interests and strengths; they will lead you to an engaged and always evolving life.

 

What is your office style?
I had to wear a uniform in school, so maybe that's why I feel more productive in something tailored.

 

3 characteristics required to do your job well.
Curiosity, an appreciation for the varied wonders of the world and a desire to share your finds with others.

 

What is your greatest achievement to date?
Whenever I get an email from a member who says that they will never forget the trip, honeymoon or even half-day tour that we helped them plan, I feel like I have done what I set out to do.

Melissa's Picks