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June 11, 2024

Investing in Future Leaders: The Impact of Camp Maverick

Camp Maverick, an innovative development initiative by Nordic Hotels & Resorts, is designed to equip senior managers with the skills needed to excel as General Managers. This launchpad for future hotel leaders focuses on creativity, practical application, and a strong network. See how it's empowering our people with the toolbox and collaborative spirit needed to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Individuality is at the core of Nordic Hotels & Resorts. Not only are we a portfolio of stand-alone, unique properties; much like our hotels, we are also a group of diverse people. Our employees come from different backgrounds, bringing with them different experiences and perspectives. This is our biggest strength, and a power we want to harness with our professional development program Camp Maverick.

Camp Maverick was initiated by Nordic Hotels & Resorts as a way of retaining talent in our company. The eight months long program is aimed at senior leaders within our group, like department managers at our around 40 hotels and resorts. The goal is to prepare the participants for taking on the role as the General Managers at one of our hotels in the future. 

– Camp Maverick is tailor-made by us and for us, using creativity as its polestar. Rooted in the principles of Design Thinking, the program draws from the designer’s toolkit to create innovation based on people, technology and business. With these principles in mind, Camp Maverick operates differently from a traditional leadership program, focusing heavily on creative problem solving, says Tina Tropp Jerresand, Director of People Performance at Nordic Hotels & Resorts.

The Camp Maverick program runs for 8 months, consisting of both physical and digital touchdowns regularly. The program has been instrumental in shaping the careers of many of our future leaders, and recently the class of 2024 graduated. We asked a few of the latest and previous participants to share their experiences, and the impact the program has had on their professional journeys.


Meet the Camp Maverick Alumni

Louise Mackegård Evensen is part of the latest Camp Maverick class to graduate in the summer of 2024. Today, she is the General Manager of Copperhill Mountain Lodge, a renowned ski resort in northern Sweden. She has previously worked as Hotel Manager at the hotel, and was recruited as its General Manager earlier this year—before completing the program. Louise highlights the multifaceted benefits of Camp Maverick, where gaining new perspectives and creating stronger ties with leadership are key components.

– This year has given me new experiences, many new friends, and it has also given me tools for new ways of working. It has also given me a closer relationship with the Nordic Hotels & Resorts management team, which is great to have in the role of General Manager, says Louise.

Jack Reilly is the General Manager of Hobo Hotel in Stockholm, one of our most successful lifestyle concepts that has made a name for itself with its irreverent and youthful approach. Jack is one of the participants from last year’s Camp Maverick, having graduated in the summer of 2023. His experience underscores the importance of confidence and problem-solving capabilities in effective leadership, something Camp Maverick makes room for participants to develop. 

– Camp Maverick not only gave me the confidence to take on leadership roles but also equipped me with invaluable problem-solving skills. Learning to break down complex challenges into manageable steps gave me the ability to address issues swiftly and constructively. These tools have become a huge asset in my role as a General Manager, allowing me to navigate these new responsibilities with efficiency and a positive mindset, says Jack.

Another graduate from last year’s program is Jakob de Vries, today General Manager of Hotel C in central Stockholm. With 367 rooms right in the hustle and bustle of central Stockholm, the popular Hotel C is a big ship to steer. For de Vries, Camp Maverick’ modern leadership practices have served him both professionally and personally. 

– Camp Maverick gave me both new and sharpened tools for my role, focusing on the modern leadership we strive for at Nordic Hotels & Resorts. During the program I learned a lot, but one thing that really stuck with me and that I’ve used extensively, both in my job and privately, is the workshop in pitch and presentation techniques. After those exercises, I feel much better equipped for presentations, whether it's a staff meeting or a speech, says Jakob.

Louise echoes Jakob’s sentiment, appreciating the program's new ways to tackle old problems. 

– I am a big fan of the subject of leadership. When it comes to leadership, I believe that you are never “done” or fully educated. Therefore, I really appreciated that we got to work on a new personality test called CliftonStrengths. That test revealed our strengths to us, and then had us work on how to further develop these. It was completely different to the personality tests I have done over the years which was very exciting, says Louise.


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Jack Reilly, General Manager Hobo Hotel Stockholm; Jakob de Vries, General Manager Hotel C; and Louise Mackegård Evensen, General Manager Copperhill Mountain Lodge.


Real-World Lessons and Applications

Theory aside, the focus of Camp Maverick is real, tangible implementation. In the highly diverse field of hospitality, being able to lead a diverse workforce is crucial. Jack Reilly of Hobo Hotel underscores the importance that Camp Maverick puts on collaboration and varied perspectives.

– The general aspect of working with people with different experiences, backgrounds, and properties helped give me insights into other ways of working towards a shared goal of improving our service towards guests. The Camp Maverick experience allowed me to gain valuable knowledge of alternative methods and strategies, which was one of the most valuable takeaways for me, says Jack.

– The opportunity to network and make contacts within Nordic Hotels & Resorts is invaluable, says Jakob de Vries of Hotel C. He continues:

– It’s an enormous strength to know a large group of talented colleagues in different roles, something that I now, in retrospect, can see has led to a lot of exchange of experience between us. It was also very rewarding to be away from daily operations for a few days every now and then. In Camp Maverick, you are in a group where there are no specific expectations of me based on my role, only of what I bring to the table there and then. For me, this created a huge freedom in discussions and workshops, says Jakob.

Louise, who took on the role as General Manager at Copperhill Mountain Lodge a few months before finishing the program, has quickly adjusted to her new responsibilities. Looking back at an intense year with her fellow Camp Maverick graduates, what she takes with her is a sense of camaraderie.

– I appreciated that Camp Maverick is such a well-thought-out and educational program, one that is also taken so seriously by all participants and by the management. All participants were committed and dedicated, they were such a lovely bunch! Going forward, we will follow each other’s journeys and help each other along the way. That sense of support is invaluable, says Louise.

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