By Nicholas Allen, Class of 1992 Les Roches alumnus
“I hope you’ve been enjoying the chance to hear from some of the big personalities I had the pleasure of studying with – and learning from – during my time at Les Roches. Last time I caught up with Gianluca Sparacino; now it’s with great pleasure that I can introduce you to my dear friend and inspiration, Francesca Giessmann, a class of 1994 graduate.”
Nicholas Allen (NA): What is your profession and current position?
Francesca Giessmann (FG): After graduating I quickly got into the sales and marketing elements of hospitality. First in China and after in the USA. I have opened small and large projects in that capacity. In 2007, after a life-changing crisis, I went for another degree in nutrition and dove deep into the health & wellness world. Since 2017, I have been the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) for the largest and most established clinical/integrative medicine spa in Brazil. I still live in the USA but travel to Brazil *very* frequently!
NA: Who was your first room-mate at Les Roches?
FG: My first and only room-mate in my life – my BFF, Alexandra Teixeira Metz.
NA: Where did you grow up?
FG: São Paulo, Brazil
NA: Whom has made the biggest impact on your professional career?
FG: There are so many people that have inspired me over the years to be a better professional and leader. Currently, I am slightly obsessed with the family that founded and still operates the Lapinha Spa. Since 1972 (the year before I was born) they’ve been focusing on the health of humans and the environment. Today it’s trendy to talk about all this, but this family has been at the forefront of sustainable, wellness hospitality for almost 50 years. They amaze me.
NA: Who was your favorite teacher at Les Roches?
FG: So many, but I remember Mr. Vordeaux and Mr. LaSala with much fondness. And also Mr. Varini. He may have given me the marketing bug.
NA: What’s your advice for new graduates?
FG: Oh gosh!! Take your time to settle into a path/area of hospitality. Be humble and work hard. Nothing is beneath you; no task is too small. Be open to opportunities even if at face value they may not make sense. Travel far and often! Explore this gorgeous planet. Keep in touch with your friends and make sure you live some of your life off social media.
NA: Who did you have a crush on at Les Roches?
FG: Hmmm!! I can’t remember anyone specific. There were many cute boys! Let’s just say that I am grateful there were no cell phones or social media back then.
NA: What is your fondest memory of Les Roches?
FG: No doubt meeting some of the best friends that have remained in my life ever since. Alexandra, Neila, Caliope and Andre <3
NA: Do you have any phobias?
FG: That one of my loved ones gets sick.
NA: You can ask me one question, what is it?
FG: When are you coming back to California, so we can go for lunch again?
NA: I’m planning to get over there middle of next year, if all plans go well. Or how about you guys come and see Australia for once?
NA: Last question. You have organized a lavish dinner party with no expense spared. You can invite eight people, alive or dead, who are they?
FG: Very, very hard… no almost impossible question! But my current mood calls for: Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Greta Thunberg, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ellen DeGeneres… and Freddie Mercury to sing for us!
NA: Thank you so much, Francesca!