Meet the Team: Victoriya Khalimanova, Membership Relations Manager
Victoriya Khalimanova is the very definition of a 21st-century global citizen. Born in Ukraine, she spent her childhood on a wintry part of Russia surrounded by the sea. At the age of 13, her family relocated to Singapore, uprooting Victoriya from her quiet childhood—she suddenly found herself thrust into a multiracial, multilingual and multicultural cosmopolitan city.
“I never expected to leave Russia,” she recalled. “When I first arrived in Singapore, I had no friends, didn’t like the food, didn’t understand the language and wasn’t used to the weather. I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I felt completely isolated.”
For three formative years of her youth, Victoriya was rocked out of her comfort zone, and forced to meet people of different races and backgrounds. This opened her eyes to cultural nuances, and what started out as a nightmare for the unwilling teenager became one of the most pivotal moments in her life.
“It changed my point of view drastically. I was forced to be more open and open-minded. Coming out of my shell, I began to appreciate how people from different cultures do things differently, talk differently and eat differently. It was very enriching,” she enthused.
This personal breakthrough shaped Victoriya’s career trajectory, and led the 25-year-old to where she is today—a Memberships Relations Manager at ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove since August last year.
She spends a typical day meeting Members from around the globe, recruiting new Members, and creating unique events for existing ones. Building relationships is key to her role. And her natural warmth makes it second nature for her.
“I think that if you are genuinely interested in people and want to find out more about them, it shows,” she said. “But first of all, it is important to be polite and understanding because you are meeting people from all over the world, and they might behave differently from you. You don’t know their life story and how it shaped them.”
“The highlight of my day is when I bring a smile to someone’s face,” she added. “One of the challenges I face is to find two matching pieces of a puzzle when dealing with two groups of people. One group wants to sell their membership because they may be leaving the country, for example. Another group wants to buy it. My job is to listen closely and find the best match that factors in the needs of both parties.”
Beyond her Memberships Relations role, the vivacious Russian also enjoys chatting with Members on a personal level.
“The Club is very different from a hotel where people come and go. Our Members remain with us, so you get to know them and their families and develop a lasting friendship,” she said.
One of her favourite parts of the job is attending networking events. “I get to meet lots of interesting people who run their own business, travel to exotic places and share interesting stories with me. This has even inspired me to explore new places. Recently, I visited Sri Lanka. Nature is spectacular there. The beaches are great for diving and surfing. When I was cycling in the woods in Galle, I saw harvested rice fields full of peacocks. Within two hours, I counted more than 50 peacocks. I also found a lot of peacock feathers, which I brought home,” she added.
Because of Victoriya’s love of meeting new people and discovering new cultures, travel is also one of her greatest passions. Besides Sri Lanka, the young lady has also checked a few other countries off her bucket list.
A hobbyist painter in her free time, Victoriya adds the little cultural nuggets from her trips and daily encounters to her acrylic paintings. One of her latest paintings features the Hamsa Hand, an ancient Middle Eastern good luck symbol.
Victoriya also has an unusual affinity for the ocean, having grown up on an island near Vladivostok, a mere 10-minute walk from the sea.
“The sea is in my blood—we have always been close to the sea. Shipping also runs in the family. My grandfather was the captain of a boat, and my father is in shipping as well,” she shares. “And now, at the Club, I find myself surrounded by the sea and meeting yachting enthusiasts every day.”
It is no wonder she looks right at home halfway across the globe from Russia.