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Femme Palette mentee Michaela Villinova on her journey towards navigating career growth and parenthood

Written by
Tanya Stadnyk
Published on
May 2, 2024

Meet Michaela Villinova, the Fraud & Risk team lead at Mews. Michaela was a Femme Palette mentee, who has finished her Mentoring program. With a diverse background spanning hospitality and financial services, Michaela's career journey has been marked by adaptability and determination. Overcoming challenges such as returning from maternity leave to a managerial role, in this spotlight, she underscores the importance of resilience and support networks. In this spotlight, we asked Michaela about her pursuit for personal and career growth, and the role of mentorship in her journey. Her story reflects resilience, adaptability, and a steadfast commitment to excellence.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do. 

My name is Michaela and I am leading the Fraud & Risk team at Mews, a cloud-based hotel property management system that helps simplify hotel operations. Mews has an integrated payment solution, hence why my team is there. We are mainly responsible for the KYC (Know Your Customer) process and managing chargebacks. Aside from work, I'm a parent to two wonderful kids, aged 6 and 3. Despite a busy family life, I always try to find time for my weekly yoga practice. 

Could you share with us your career journey towards being the Fraud & Risk Team Lead at Mews? 

My career path wasn't a straight line. I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Economics in Prague (Czech Republic) and my Master’s at Bournemouth University in the UK. Both were tourism and hospitality related, so I began my career at the Savoy hotel in London as an Event Sales Executive.

Then I got sidetracked and started studying for a Diploma in Naturopathic Nutrition and to get more time to study, I moved to a financial services company first as an Office Manager and shortly after I took up a Compliance Analyst role. Returning to Prague, I applied for a Senior KYC Analyst role at Mews. Leveraging my experience from the hospitality industry as well as my financial services background, I found myself in an ambitious and rapidly growing company which is also incredibly fun and open-minded. After a couple of years and a promotion upon returning from maternity leave, I became the Fraud & Risk Team Lead. 

As a team lead, what does a good leader look like for you? 

A good leader, in my opinion, is an effective communicator who empowers the team to achieve common and individual goals, provides quality feedback, and possesses traits like empathy, integrity and honesty. While I'm still a work in progress, I strive to embody these qualities.  

What is the biggest challenge that you have faced in your career so far? 

Becoming a team lead after a year of maternity leave has been the most significant challenge. Balancing work and parenting is inherently demanding. I also had doubts about my abilities and struggled with confidence. This transition to a managerial role was challenging, and Femme Palette's mentoring program played a crucial role in navigating this new phase. 

What was the biggest lesson you have learned in your career so far?  

This may sound a little cliche, but I think that with the right attitude and support, one can get through almost anything. Although the challenges felt insurmountable initially, I persisted, developed some valuable skills and slowly also gained confidence. Networking with others facing similar situations and having a strong support system proved invaluable. 

Let’s discuss your experience as a mentee in our mentoring program. What made you decide to join as a mentee? 

I joined the mentoring program seeking external support during my initial months in my new role. While I had a great manager, I wanted impartial input on my everyday challenges and successes. The mentoring experience proved beneficial, providing me with valuable insights and support. 

Mentee Testimonial: Could you share your overall mentoring experience with us? 

Having gone through two rounds of mentoring, I'm excited to continue in 2024. Both my mentors Lucie and Anna were attentive, empathetic, and encouraging. The sessions left me charged with energy and confidence. I was the one setting the goals, the topics and pace of each session to make sure I got what I needed every time. I highly recommend the program for anyone looking to work on their career development.  

We have mentors all over the world to help you explore your options, set development goals, build your network and identify resources you need to level up your skills. You can apply to get 1:1 mentoring from an industry expert with us.

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