Operations

Young Toronto Operator Quickly Adapts To Industry

Lexi Tucker
Posted on December 5, 2018
Zena Kulikowska, client relations manager for Global Alliance Worldwide Chauffeured Services
Zena Kulikowska, client relations manager for Global Alliance Worldwide Chauffeured Services

TORONTO, Canada — The luxury transportation industry has many nuances that may take time to fully master. For some, however, it’s a challenge easily overcome by passion, drive, and hard work. Zena Kulikowska, client relations manager for Global Alliance Worldwide Chauffeured Services, caught on quick and has turned a part-time high school job into her career.

Retained Rarity

Kulikowska says Global Alliance has made her who she is. She was just 19 when she got her start in the industry, and 22 when she joined Global Alliance. Eleven years later, she is still with the company…a rarity among Millennials.

“What most people don’t understand from the get-go is this is a 24/7 business. You either go big, or go home — there’s no time to slack off,” she explains. You always have to be available for your team or clients any time they may need you.

While there’s no doubt chauffeured work tough, she says it’s also a lot of fun. The biggest piece of advice that has helped her get to where she is actually came from the first International LCT Show she attended in Las Vegas. “I was listening to one of the speakers who said, “To succeed in this business, you have to think like an owner. You have to care 100% and dedicate yourself to the industry.’” This one phrase altered her attitude toward what she was doing and has been her largest influence in pursuing excellence.

Her advice to new operators is to be friendly and non-judgmental. “You never know who you are dealing with and what can come out of it.”

Family Atmosphere

Global Alliance was formed from a merger of two separate entities. The business launched 30 years ago as Personelle Inc Limousine, a family-owned company. Owner Isaac Ironi started with one car and was affectionately referred to as “papa” by his work family. Eventually they merged with another company called Avondale Limousine. The two formed an alliance — hence the company’s new name — and brought together two family-owned businesses that fostered a tight knit company culture. Global Alliance President Joe Ironi, son of Issac, serves as the second vice president of the National Limousine Association, and represents Canada on the board of directors.

“We’re one big family, so there’s nothing we can’t do,” Kulikowska said.

Kulikowska joined two years after they merged, starting in high school and continuing part-time right after she graduated to make some extra spending money. She had always liked cars, and actually wanted to be a racecar driver. “I knew I wanted to be in a business involving cars and speed,” she says. After a while, she discovered she really enjoyed what she was doing and actually looked forward to coming into work for the day.

What’s Next?

Despite being only 34, she brings a wealth of knowledge gained from years of experience in the industry. “Confidence in your abilities plays a large role in success. I was in 100% from day one. I think I bring a lot of positive energy to the company, and I always want to know more,” she says. Her advice to other industry up-and-comers is “don’t just do what is expected — do more.”

She considers being hired at one of the best companies in Toronto her biggest success so far. Funny enough, she didn’t even apply to Global Alliance — they offered her a job because her reputation preceded her. Becoming a manager was another big step that has motivated her to become the best she can be.

In the future, she wants to eventually help lead the company after the owners retire. She also wants to help mentor operators new to the industry, and says people can always reach out to her with any struggles they may be facing ([email protected]).

Related Topics: Canadian Operators, customer service, family businesses, Global Alliance, LCTFast40, Millennials

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
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