Cluster PR and Communications Manager, LUX* South Ari Atoll and LUX* North Malé Atoll, Maldives Resort & Villas
Born in Lahore to Iranian parents, Mona Sedghi is no stranger to moving around. Finland was her home, but as a young woman, she worked in Sweden in the music biz, promoting artists. With a background in communication and graphic design, creative arts are dear to her, especially music. And though she is in hospitality, Mona believes she’s essentially doing the same thing – creating experiences for people. A free spirit, she feels at home wherever she goes and believes that knowing your purpose and taking risks are the crucial steps towards success.
Hotel Insider: What’s really impressive is that you started out in the music business with Universal Music. You were active in social media promotion, you accomplished quite a bit, managing a campaign for a top artist from Sweden. Can we talk about this for a bit?
Mona Sedghi: Yes, so I started off as an intern for six months, straight after college in 2010. Back then, Facebook was the hottest thing around and a personal hobby of mine, so I focussed a lot in that area. I worked with local artists and promoted them on social media. Graphic design, photography, music, the creative arts have always been close to my heart. I stayed with Universal Music for four years, which was a great start to my career.
Hotel Insider: Then you made a move to Sony Music Entertainment.
Mona Sedghi: Yes, I was with them for five years. It was more a PR and marketing focussed job. I still worked with local artists though, but I was also working with the brand, ensuring brand awareness, reputation and visibility in creative campaigns online. And I was working with the community.
Hotel Insider: The music community?
Mona Sedghi: Well, consumers, fans really. Closing the gap between the label, artists and their fan base. Because with social media you can access your artists so much easier than before, and part of my job was to arrange different events, online and offline, where fans and artists got to meet. That was a super-exciting and fun episode of my life, career-wise. A fun ride.
Hotel Insider: Yeah, I can imagine. So, what were you listening to back then?
Mona Sedghi: I’m hip-hop and R&B to the bone, but I listen to pretty much everything. I believe music is very much connected to how you feel and what you’re going through. Each era of my life so far has covered a genre. I love music but specifically, if I had to choose, I’d listen to R&B and hip-hop, and jazz for the rest of my life [laughs].
Hotel Insider: [laughs] Cool. So, did you have any favourite artists?
Mona Sedghi: No, not really, but God knows I could loop a Beyoncé or Muse album over and over again. I fall in love with the feeling a track gives me rather than the artist. OK, that’s not hundred per cent true. I’ll let Frank Ocean, Rosalía and Beyoncé be the exceptions.
Hotel Insider: Did you get to work with any of them?
Mona Sedghi: I wish! I worked with local artists, Swedish artists. It’s so refreshing to see how the landscape has changed since I first started in the music business. As with any field, the music business included, today anyone can do anything, regardless of what you are practicing. Shout out to all the trailblazers out there who have broken down barriers, and led the way for others to take a seat at the table.
Hotel Insider: Cool. So, after that, you moved to a career in hospitality. A big move.
Mona Sedghi: It’s a big move, but not really. Everybody was like ‘wow, that’s such a big step. It’s going to be very tough, Mona!’ But looking at it, career-wise, PR is PR, it’s essentially the same. Creating is the core of my being. And wherever I go, it is my home.
Hotel Insider: What would you say are the pros of being in hospitality vs the music biz?
Mona Sedghi: It’s not so much ‘versus’, I mean, everything has its pros and cons. For hospitality, the pros would be meeting so many new people in such an international environment, working with so many nationalities, not being put in a box. It’s very dynamic and I think all of that really nurtures my soul. I cannot have a nine-to-five job, it’s just not me. It’s like you’re in it to create something for somebody, much like with music. It’s so close to everyone’s heart, like with travel – we are helping people celebrate life. For so many people, coming to the Maldives is a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list sort of thing, and it’s so rewarding to be part of that.
Hotel Insider: Do you think you might consider a career in music once again or has hospitality won you over?
Mona Sedghi: Not as far as I envision, but you never know. However, certain chapters close and you move on to the next in order to evolve in the direction your heart sings. I learnt something and I gave back. And here I am.
Hotel Insider: Did anyone in your family have a similar career path? Were they into music or any other creative pursuit?
Mona Sedghi: Not really. I’m the youngest of four and I’ve always done my own thing. And my family has always supported me. I’ve just gone wherever my heart led me, always with a clear purpose. I’m very grateful to my parents for understanding that, for letting me find my own thing. My parents are from Iran and they fled the [Iran-Iraq] war in ‘89. My mum was nine-months pregnant with me. We were accepted by Finland and we went via Pakistan. So, I was raised in Finland, but born in Pakistan, and my background is Iranian. I speak Swedish and Farsi fluently but I’m a Finnish citizen.
Hotel Insider: Oh, cool. That’s a pretty strange journey.
Mona Sedghi: [laughs] Yes, it’s a funky mix. I never identified with a country. It might sound strange but I feel I am a citizen of the world. And wherever I am, my home is with me.
Hotel Insider: All right. So, before we part, what would you say to young women who aspire to success?
Mona Sedghi: I think it’s very individual. Success is such a subjective concept. What do you truly believe in? What gets you going? What are your core values? What is your purpose? Let that lead the way. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Blaze the trail and just remember that good things take time, and trust me, you will make a lot of mistakes along the way. Forgive yourself and blossom. That goes for any entrepreneur, any life decision, any revolution. Dare to take risks and surround yourself with people who want the best for you, you will know who they are. And, of course, stay true to that inner voice of yours. And be kind, always.
Hotel Insider: Thanks a lot, Mona. Really enjoyed our chat.