Last month Baiba Ziga was crowned your overall Values Award winner for 2019. Passionate about happiness, Baiba transformed the Technology recruitment process, demonstrating how a Better Together mindset can have a positive impact for everyone involved.

We caught up with Baiba, who celebrates her second year work anniversary in April, to find out what it feels like to be the overall winner and why she loves working for Carnival UK.

Rebecca: Congratulations on your recent win Baiba! How does it feel to be the overall Values Award winner for 2019?

Baiba: It feels amazing! 2019 was a big year for me, and it’s great to top it off by being recognised by my colleagues and the company.

Seeing my name and photo on the digital displays around the building feels a bit surreal (though I cannot say I am not enjoying it!) I’m especially honoured as my nominations came from outside the People Team and proud that my long hours, hard work and dedication has been recognised and has paid off.

I also love the fact that the three finalists were all women. I’m all about ‘girl power’, so that was really encouraging to see.

Rebecca: Tell us about your prize. Do you have any ideas of when and where you want to go?

Baiba: I’ve won a cruise for up to 14 nights in a balcony cabin. I’ve decided that I’d like to go to Japan so I’m going to fund my own fights and join Queen Elizabeth in Japan for the blossom season next Spring. It’ll be my first cruise so I’m super excited! And I currently don’t have a ‘plus one’ so I’m open to suggestions!

Rebecca: What do you love about working for Carnival UK?

Baiba: I don’t think you can ever get tired of the impressive product and the holiday happiness we create. There is always buzz in the office, everyone is a pleasure to work with – people are goal orientated and want to do their best work. There is never a dull day – there has not yet been a day where I have struggled getting out of bed to face work.

Rebecca: What role do you play in creating unforgettable holiday happiness?

Baiba: I help internal teams with bringing the most appropriate and suitable talent on board to support our future plans, projects, changes and anything in between. These are the people who then go on to deliver unforgettable holiday happiness to our guests.

Rebecca: What do you enjoy most about your job?

Baiba: I love having the luxury of having one foot in internal People Operations and the other engaging with the external market. It is important for me to stay as up-to-speed with the external market as much as possible to be able to provide the business with market intel, helping us to adapt and stay relevant.

Rebecca: If you could do any job in CUK for the day, what would it be and why?

Baiba: I would love to shadow our president Josh for a day to have more empathy for the tasks and decisions he faces on day to day basis.

Rebecca: What opportunities have you had to develop your career during your time at Carnival UK?

Baiba: I have obtained my BPS certificate in psychometric testing and interpretation, helping to support the recruitment process and ensuring we ask candidates the right questions and personalise the interviews.

The Cove is a great place for personal development, as I can pick and choose topics that are most relevant to me and do that in my own time and environment where I’m at my best absorbing information.

I have been working on my Individual Development Plan, and Carnival has supported me by allowing me to attend seminars and conferences, as well as identifying opportunities for me. I have been fortunate enough to be selected for our Springboard programme, which has been a fantastic opportunity to meet and work with people across the business and develop some of the key Leadership skills. I have certainly added a few useful tools to my toolbox!

Rebecca: What kind of support do you get from Carnival UK?

Baiba: I have a very supportive team that are always there to help me when I have excess work or need set of spare hands during assessment days. I get to work with some fantastic and inspiring people day in day out who make it easy and effortless for me to do my job.

I’ve been fortunate to have a fantastic mentor in the form of Chief Information Officer, Jon Wood. He has been instrumental in supporting my Innovation events concept. What started as a simple idea to encourage networking and knowledge sharing for an evening, has become a regular event in the Technology calendar. I’m grateful to the various teams who work together to make these events possible – Technology, Facilities, Catering and the People team. It is a team effort!

Rebecca: And a great example of living our core value – Better Together. What does ‘Better together’ mean for you?

Baiba: Better together means collaboration, integrity and respect. I see this happening everyday through various initiatives, projects, collaborations and events. Even though we work in a huge office, working across multiple departments on different operations, there is a feel of a common agenda and everyone brings their best self to work to get the job done.

Rebecca: Let’s find out more about you. What is your favourite country that you have visited?

Baiba: This is easy – Morocco. Anything mint tea and flying carpets and I’m there!

Rebecca: Your professional life seems action packed. How do you like to unwind?

Baiba: I enjoy being by nature, so love spending time outdoors doing hikes, participating in charity challenges or simply relaxing. I am very much into physical and mental wellbeing, so I make time to be with myself, reflect, meditate, exercise and socialise. I am a passionate Latin dancer, and I cannot wait to return to the dance club, once I recover from a recent injury.

Rebecca: What did you want to be when you grew up?

Baiba: Everything from a shop assistant to a vet and everything in between. Probably anything but a Recruiter. I have never had a 5-year plan mapped out. I am very much an opportunist – I take and create opportunities for myself. I love variety and am naturally very curious, so I constantly seek opportunities to learn something new to broaden my thinking and perception, make more educated decisions and have more empathy.

Rebecca: If you could have dinner with anyone, who would you choose?

Baiba: Oprah and, for different reasons. I love how they think and how they see the world. I think they are both very inspiring in their own ways.

Rebecca: Who is the most entertaining person you follow on Instagram?

Baiba: Funnily enough, I have distanced myself from Instagram and Facebook this year. I feel there is a lot of unnecessary noise and ‘plastic lives’, and the time spent on these platforms is often ‘dead time’. My philosophy is that time is the most important thing as that is one thing you can never get back. I cannot justify a second wasted scrolling.

Rebecca: What are you reading at the moment?

Baiba: I usually have about four books on the go that I pick and choose depending on my mood. I am reading Caroline Criado Perez’s book ‘Invisible Women’ (thank you Megan Roach for the book!), just finishing off a bit of a lighter read of Bill Bryson’s ‘Letters from a small island’ (thank you Tom Harvey for this one), and have a bit of a deeper read that I pick up now and again – Sri Swami Satchidananda ‘Yoga Sutras of Patanjali’. On Audible I am finishing off Fumitake Koga’s book ‘The Courage to Be Disliked’, which was recommended by Jon Wood. I love books which I can learn from.

Rebecca: Is there anything you’d like to recommend to your Carnival colleagues?

Baiba: Try and take a walking meeting for your next 1-2-1 – read Bruce Daisley’s ‘The Joy of Work’ for more interesting tips.

Rebecca: Do you have any inside information that you can share?

Baiba: I am currently working on a very exciting project with Technology, which will revolutionise our ways of collaborating and I am very excited to share it soon. Stay tuned!

Rebecca: It sounds like 2019 has been a busy year for you Baiba – what’s next?

Baiba: I’ll shortly be graduating from the Springboard programme and I’m actively looking for my next step – hopefully within a project environment. The next Innovation event is coming up in March and as part of the Women in Hospitality Index I have development events and training sessions to attend.

Rebecca: Thank you for taking the time out to talk to us Baiba. One final question, as overall Values Award winner for 2019, what advice would you give your fellow Carnival UK colleagues?

Baiba: Create your own opportunities. Be vocal – share fresh ideas and challenge the status quo. Speak to others – don’t be afraid to ask for time, take advantage of the ELT’s 15 minute open time, and find yourself a mentor. Get out there and meet people – attend an event. Be selfish with your time, visit the Cove, and focus on your development.

My mentor Jon Wood once said to me that I faced the world with respect, energy and no fear, which always puts a smile on my face and empowers me to push on, so I’d advise doing just that!

Our core values underpin who we are, describe how we act when we’re at our best, and how we need to be in order to deliver our purpose in creating unforgettable holiday happiness for our Guests.

Q1 value award nominations are now open so if you know someone who deserves their own piece of holiday happiness, don’t forget to nominate.

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