Andrew Vilhena: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Today’s Notable Young Professional is Mariposa Cruises Hospitality Manager and Mixologist Andrew Vilhena, a position he’s turned into his dream job since starting in university. What advice does he have for other young professionals? Find out in today’s profile…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I’m the Hospitality Manager and Mixologist of Mariposa Cruises, the largest hospitality cruise company in Canada, that’s been sailing Toronto’s harbourfront for 25 years. I develop specialty cocktails and wine lists and oversee the execution of hundreds of events throughout our sailing season! Basically, I make sure each of our 100,000 guests each season has the best experience possible.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I started a summer job with Mariposa Cruises during university to collect sufficient hospitality hours to graduate. I loved the job so much that I stayed on after graduation and never looked back!

Mariposa Cruises puts a huge emphasis on customer service and value great cocktails, so I’m in heaven on the water.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
Well, recently I’ve had the honour of spearheading our new post-work cocktail hour program on board the ships. It’s a great place for young professionals to kick back after work, relax with a great cocktail and do some networking in a different environment. The next one is Wednesday, August 7 – come!

The most challenging part would have to be staying on top of everything all the time! Being a seasonal business, we are extremely busy during our summer months and it can get hectic.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years I will be running my own staffing agency, consulting for many restaurants and venues, and hopefully still doing what I do here at Mariposa Cruises.

What does success look like to you?
Returning guests!

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
When my summer job turned into my dream job.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Never be afraid to strike up a conversation with a stranger. You never know where your next big move will come from.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
Growing up my mother always donated to Sick Kids Foundation and I’ve continued that tradition.

What to you is notable?
Taking the time to make a proper cocktail with only fresh ingredients.

iPhone or Blackberry?
I stick to my BlackBerry for business purposes. I think the iPhone and all of its gadgets would be too distracting for me!