Mario Cortes: A Clifford Wallace Hero
We’re taking a look at one of our senior supervisors, Mario Cortes. Renowned for his compassion, his dedication, and his ambition, Mario brings his background as a defender of justice and an educator to everything he does.
Mario was our Employee of the Year runner up in 2015, and well-deserved winner in 2016. He has even been one of the key driving forces behind our efforts to affirm our support of marriage equality in Australia.
We had a chat with bighearted and humble Mario to find out what makes him tick, and how he fits into the Clifford Wallace family.
How long have you been working for the Clifford Wallace Agency? How did you start with the agency?
I can say I have been part of the Clifford Wallace family for about 7 years in total with breaks in-between. Initially I knocked the door to get a bit of work while I was studying. In the first instance, one of our directors, Chris, told me that “they were not hiring in that moment” but then in the same day, our other director Roger interviewed me and give me the chance to work.
What changes have you seen the agency go through since you started?
Many! First of all, at an operational level implementing a great booking system that facilitates things for internal and external users.
Secondly, the structure of the company has become more versatile, opening more services not just to increase the number of clients, also to acknowledge and build the quality of our staff with a training department that is always evolving.
Thirdly, creating more interactive moments among workers to get to know each other better at gatherings and parties. The agency also creates working incentives with awards for Employee of the Month and Employee of the Year, and creating the team leader program in order to strengthen communication and confidence for everyone.
What is your academic and work background prior to joining the agency?
That’s long story! But in short: I studied Law and Political Sciences back home in Colombia. I worked as a mediator in civil issues and was very involved in education working as a University lectures for about 5 years. The last is what I enjoyed the most. I was lecturing on Legal Interpretation and Argumentation and Political Institutions. I have to confess that I enjoyed working wearing the academic and political hats rather the legal one.
What brought you to Australia?
Firstly, having a sabbatical year in order to have the opportunity to learn English and study in higher education. Secondly, I wanted to have an overseas experience in such a country that provides safety, diversity and beautiful scenery to live in and travel to.
I have to say that any day is memorable, though some more than others.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Free time? Well, as a full timer I don’t have much, but in fact I love music. I enjoy doing yoga by the sea, having a nice walk and swim in the sea, though my swimming skills are the same as a puppy. I love cooking as well. But when my mind is not focused on my job, I enjoy studying. I have been studying a part time Master in International Law and International Relations at Uni, with strong interest in Peace Architecture and human rights issues related to gender, indigenous people, refugees, and more.
What’s your number one tip for succeeding in hospitality?
I think that regardless of the industry, people can enjoy a better life if they remain passionate, responsible, adventures, self-reliant and know how to play in a team. This is applicable in hospitality but also in any activity we do.
What’s been the most memorable moment from your time at Clifford Wallace?
I have to say that any day is memorable, though some more than others. I have had the chance to supervise for the most remarkable venues in Sydney for many different types of events including major events with thousands of attendees.
However, there are two moments I remember very well. The first is a function at the Opera House celebration Australian Day in 2015. A lot of important celebrities and corporate guests were attending, but what make me feel so proud was the team I was leading as a supervisor – extraordinary and talented people. Another event I remember fondly was a cocktail party with the royal family of the Netherlands, as well the Primer Minister of Australia and other Australian and international guest at the Sydney Opera House.