Wellington Place is more than just bricks and mortar, it’s a thriving community powered by people. This series of interviews aims to highlight some of the people of Wellington Place, share their inspirational stories and find out why Wellington Place is much more than just a place to work…
Interview with Stefania Colabene, General Manager at Veeno Wine Bar, 5 Wellington Place
Stefania is the General Manager of Veeno Wine Bar at 5 Wellington Place, an authentic Italian bar and restaurant. Stefania has been with the company for almost four years, working as front of house, organising bookings, admin and most importantly – ensuring the guests feel welcome and that they are getting a ‘True Italian Experience’ through the food and wine.
Tell us a little bit about what you do…
“As the General Manager at Veeno, my responsibilities vary each day. They range from front of house, to organising events – it really is a 360-degree job.
“In a pre-Covid world, I would organise plenty of corporate events and wine tastings, I even sometimes spend a few shifts in the kitchen to cook for my customers, hoping to show my Italian heritage and passion in the meals.
“I make sure that my team is always on top of their game, are trained to their best ability, and that they work ‘with me’ and not ‘for me’.
What’s your greatest achievement to date?
“After nearly six years of being in the UK and working in various roles in both Italy and the UK, I am so proud to run my own bar.
“Knowing that your guests return because they feel welcome is such a lovely feeling – hard work really does pay off! I love it when customers ask: “Can I speak with Stef?” as it’s extremely personal and lovely that they know me by name.
“I like to think that our customers have their own little holiday when tasting our food and wine – especially during these strange times and with many people missing their friends and family. They’ve all become part of our ‘Italian family’.
Tell us something exciting that most people don’t know about you…
“I’m 100% Italian, from a port city in the south of Italy called Salerno, near the amazing Amalfi Coast. Before I moved to the UK, I worked in various jobs – I was once a ‘Port Operative’ for 10 years where I had various roles including one where I loaded and unloaded cargo ships designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers, and railroad cars. One of the most exciting roles here, which spurred on my love for customer service, was in a harbour position for MSC Cruise Ships, helping people to embark or disembark, and providing tourists with information. I, with a few other women, were the first ones ever to be allowed into that male dominated industry.
“I since became a certified bartender and started to work in Milan. From that time, I never wanted to stop working in hospitality as I had fallen in love with it. I’ve had many different jobs in this sector, including being part of the kitchen staff at Milan’s Old Wild West burger restaurant, bartending at a busy club and when moving back to my home town, Salerno, I bartended for the Youth Hostel situated in the historic district of the city. I then met my partner in 2013 and we decided to move to England a year later. All in all I’ve now been working in the hospitality industry for 10 years!
“Something else that people may not know about me is that I love foreign languages, and of course English is one of them. In lockdown, I have been learning Spanish – I’d love to be able to speak three, four or even five languages (fingers crossed!).”
What is your favourite thing about working at Wellington Place and why?
“Wellington Place reminds me of when I used to work in Milan, where all kinds of business professionals meet in a vibrant, clean and safe space.
“The development is constantly growing, and it amazes me how many people you see and meet each day – all from completely different backgrounds but able to work in the same place and share great ideas.”
Which community events do you take part in at Wellington Place and why?
“We try to take part in as many Wellington Place events as possible, especially the food events. Lunch Fest is a great way to promote our business and sees Wellington Place become a market town with plenty of stalls – it really feels like you’re in a close community.
What three words sum up Wellington Place to you?
Vibrant – With so many people usually at the development, it is a great place for sharing ideas and hosting events.
Community – The complex is so welcoming, and it feels so good to be a part of a development that cares so much.
Growing – Three years ago, 4 Wellington Place was only a drawing on a piece of paper. Now the building is just opposite my Veeno door! It is amazing how the development is expanding!
Click here to view Veeno’s website.
Thanks to Stef for taking part in the interview. If you would like to tell your story, or wish to nominate someone to take part in the People of Wellington Place series please email firstname.lastname@example.org