‘Men of quality do not fear women’s equality’ — Quality Focus CEO

The pandemic has led to a  mindset  that is negative and unable to change. We often forget that our situation will not get better  by  chance  but  through our ability to adapt to the inevitable change. To do that, we must first  overcome this attitude. For many people, the current  psychology  is like taking a can of coke and shaking it. If you open it, it’s going to blow up in your face. 

Speaking generally about Cyprus (not about my own clients), some business owners are like the coke that has been shaken. The result is that they don’t have the patience, the state of mind, to move forward, says Amani Vernescu, CEO of the seven-year-old Limassol-based Quality Focus, which works on the enrichment of the customer experience, with particular emphasis on the hospitality industry.

Amani Vernescu Whoa

Vernescu finds that some Cyprus managers are bringing that explosive state of mind to their workforce.

“This is the very first big mistake. Reputation is like a balloon, one needle can make it explode: 

Any interaction an employee has with a potential customer can make or break your brand in a 

heartbeat. You need to be flexible and provide a more positive working environment.

Some companies right now are thinking of firing people. They are saying that we’re just going to 

keep the best, and they think those are, of course, the ones with the good diplomas. But if the 

selected employee, based on such assumption, doesn’t have the right character, he/she won’t be able 

to perform effectively. And a lot of the ones who don’t have the best   diplomas   might   have 

the right characters and approach. And many are often a lot more hungry and crave to prove themselves.

With or without the diploma the wrong character can significantly disturb the team dynamics due 

to their inability to become a cultural fit. Companies need to have that in mind and to focus on 

strengthening the workforce morale. You need to invest in your people to enhance a solid 

foundation, because that’s the main interaction with your customers.”

Understanding the customer experience

Before Vernescu started Quality  Focus,  she  worked for 20 years at the Four Seasons hotel in 

Limassol, and learned every aspect of the hospitality business, starting as  an  employee,  and  

rising to management. When she left, she felt it was really important to understand what things 

are like from the customer perspective.

“So I started travelling frequently at my own expense to different 5-star hotels. Let’s just say my 

income was going straight into that. It was an investment, I was having fun, but it was an 

investment into what I wanted to do in the future. I had to see everything from a helicopter 


“Mystery shopping was the first service I provided, as a way to evaluate all aspects of quality in 

hotels and other businesses, because it best reflected the overall customer experience. Overseeing 

all aspects of that when I worked at the Four Seasons was one of my main duties as the Quality 

Manager, so I already had solid knowhow about the subject. Clients requested I train their 

employees, therefore I became a certified trainer by the Cyprus Human Resources Development 

Authority and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute. I also took specialized 

Strategic Leadership courses at Cornell when I added hospitality  consultancy  to  the several other services that we provide today.

Hospitality is in the Cypriot DNA

For those of us who work in the hospitality industry, you can pretty much say that hospitality  and 

 customer care are infused in our DNA. Having lived here for 30 years, I find that it goes without 

saying that Cyprus has so much to offer to its residents, as well as investors, business owners 

looking to relocate, education seekers, holiday makers and so many other sectors.

Having said that, this pandemic is forcing us to redefine what hospitality means. Many of the 

carefully curated personal touches that gave our tourism industry a competitive advantage have 

been stripped  away  due  to  Covid-19 health and safety measures. Uncertainty has left us 

asking what the future looks like? Therefore, the hospitality industry in Cyprus is actively 

seeking ways to guide and  motivate  the  workforce to re-evaluate, re-energize, recreate, 

redevelop and buckle up for a more challenging, yet resilient future.

Men of quality do not fear women’s equality

Starting a business as a woman entrepreneur was, of course, challenging, despite her innovative 

approach and years of experience, Vernescu points out.

“In Cyprus, just like everywhere else in the world, you find both positive and negative attitudes 

towards diversity, even though Cyprus is a very diverse and cosmopolitan place, sometimes you 

do get judged a lot in certain ways. For example, there are certain business owners who really 

prefer to work with men because they believe that men are more capable. And I have to say there 

were times where they think ‘this guy has been in the market for several years, and the devil you 

know is better than the devil you don’t’. You have people that think like that. But then again, you have 

people that open the door, and those people have my utmost respect. I’ve actually been told once 

by a client that the best man for a job is actually sometimes a woman. In the end, men of quality 

do not fear equality”

Getting  established in the market in Cyprus meant facing down bullying, Vernescu recalls.

“I was getting a lot of different  kinds  of  bullying.  I was getting a lot of attacks. I was 

competing with Mystery Shopping and training companies, and I was bullied in ways you can’t 

imagine. How do you react? Emotions are significant drivers of decision making and I am grateful 

for the emotions submerged in me due to such experience contributing to my growth and development. 

If somebody decides to bully you, it means they see you as a potential  competitor. So  even if 

you had doubts, then you had better start believing in yourself and make yourself an actual 

competitor. I stuck to my path, focused on what I had to do and that’s it. This is one thing I 

would say to all women: Focus on what you have to do. It all starts with a positive mindset and 

ability to adapt to change. Leave all the distractions and toxicity out of the way. If you start to 

focus on these, you start to see yourself as a victim and develop fear. And fear is like having a 

chain around your throat that will eventually lead to your own destruction. It’s like burning your 

house down to get rid of a mouse.”

“As Winston Churchill said, “You’ll never reach your destination, if you stop and throw stones at 

every dog that barks.”

Cyprus Mail