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News | March 25, 2024

Women’s History Month Spotlight: Sands China’s Paulina Pereira Che Built Success through ‘Hard Work, Passion and Commitment Pushing Boundaries’

As part of Women’s History Month 2024, Sands is featuring women who help drive the company’s success and exemplify its culture of professional growth and advancement. Paulina Pereira Che joined Sands China in 2007 and serves as vice president of conventions and exhibitions.

Outline your career path and current role at Sands China.

“I began my career as a guest relations officer for a local hotel in Macao. This laid the foundation for my future in the hotel industry. I learned how to build strong relationships with guests and honed my communication skills. I then transitioned to the catering department for Macau Tower Conventions. This role was also a crucial moment in my career in the sense that I gained hands-on experience in managing banquet events, coordinating with clients and ensuring flawless execution.

“These roles prepared me to join Sands China as an assistant manager of conventions and exhibitions in 2007. I took part in the event execution of the grand openings of The Venetian Macao, the Four Seasons Hotel Macao, phases one and two of Sands Cotai Central, The Parisian Macao and, most recently, The Londoner Macao. I oversaw various aspects of daily operations across three properties and the project implementation of some of Macao’s most significant events.

“While working for Sands China, I took certified meeting professional and certified exhibition management courses. I joined Sands China’s Integrated Talent Development Programme and the International Strategic Leadership Programme for Integrated Resorts, as well as participated in many other volunteer projects and initiatives for professional development and career advancement. These experiences allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the industry, setting me up for my current role as vice president of conventions and exhibitions.

“I am also an active supporter and advocate of environmental protection. I promote the creation of sustainable events, projects and initiatives for a greener Macao and achieving net-zero emissions. I also hold positions as chairman of the Macau Environmental Protection Association, chairman of the Macao Youth Gaming Practitioners Association, vice president of the Macau Leisure Tourism Services Innovation Association, director of the 14th Macao Youth Federation, director of the Macao Chamber of Commerce and Industry and deputy secretary general of the Macau Economic and People’s Livelihood Association.”

What skills, trainings, mentors or experiences have helped you build a successful career?

“I remember that when I was in high school, I came across this quote by Mark Twain: ‘Find a job that you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’

“I love what I do. Loving what you do is the foundation of success, as it fuels your motivation. You have to love what you do first to be successful in any career; you should have the heart, dedication and passion for your work. When you truly are passionate about what you do, creativity and problem-solving skills will come naturally, and everything else becomes second nature.

“Additionally, it’s important to have dedication to continuous learning and professional development by studying further, attending various trainings and seeking out learning opportunities to enhance ourselves. We need to stay updated on industry trends, acquire new skills and become the best version of ourselves. Success is a journey of constant growth and improvement. Each day presents an opportunity for growth and learning. Each challenge we face, each problem or difficulty, contributes to the evolution of our careers and being.

“My journey is a testament of hard work, passion and commitment to pushing boundaries in the world of hospitality and the meeting, incentives, conventions and exhibitions industry. I was very fortunate to have been mentored by Gary McCreery, vice president of conventions and exhibitions in Las Vegas, who was then on the task force that was working in Macao for the grand openings when I was just starting out. Who better to learn from in handling large-scale international events but him, since before The Venetian Macao’s opening, we didn’t have large scale events of that size in Macao. It was also through him that my network expanded. He taught me to think out of the box, he made me handle the birthday parties of the owner for several years, and it was truly an honor having handled events for so many prominent people. There’s also my former boss, Gene Capuano. He taught me so much about pushing boundaries – that everything is possible and as long as we are breathing, we can do something; there’s always a solution for everything. He didn’t take no for an answer and believed that everything was doable. You have to pull out all the stops and get it done. I appreciated this attitude so much. Because of him, everything else looks easy.

“Then there’s Dr. Wilfred Wong, our executive vice chairman, who has helped me to always see the broader perspective of things, to think big and envision beyond the imaginable, and to have a global outlook. He guides me not just in work, but with life lessons. He always checks in on people, and we have chats from time to time, which is very valuable. Last but certainly not least, our executive vice president of operations Sean McCreery makes the effort to connect with people and catch up. We delve into discussions about innovation, sharing insights on envisioning new ideas and strategies.”

What are your ideas for evolving the workplace to better support and empower women?

“I believe in implementing a multi-faceted approach that addresses various aspects of professional development and inclusivity such as mentorship support, and opportunities for career advancement. It’s important to pair experienced professionals with aspiring women to help bridge the gap. It is also important to do this with transparency, with fair and equal opportunity. That’s my take on the evolution of the workplace; we support each other by implementing family-friendly policies for everyone who needs it and don’t single out someone because of gender.

“I think it’s important that for us to feel empowered, we have to feel that we are treated fairly by circumstance and not by gender. I fully support mentorship, internal training and sponsorships for external training to support opportunities for career advancement to take on leadership roles and drive positive change. I support working mothers and create a more supportive environment with caregiving responsibilities.

“To achieve work-life balance, we make accommodations for when women need to go out and attend to family matters that come up or need to attend a child’s school activity; they can just simply explain their situation to their group leader, and we will find someone to cover for them. We empower each other by showing support, by being visible and checking in on people.”

What advice do you have for women or anyone who wants to advance in their careers?

“To be successful, women should embrace their strengths, navigate challenges with confidence, and ‘go right through it, head on.’ There’s no going around in circles – you must just go right through any roadblock straight on, above it even.

“Women are very resilient, and we are naturally empathetic; those are our strengths. Affirm yourself, boost others and support other women. Finally, my advice is don’t stop and never settle, always go for gold. Give it your best shot and become the best version of yourself. Just do it for yourself, because in the end what matters is what will make YOU happy.”