‘You have to be very strong inside, very strong.’

Lately she was in Barcelona for business reasons: Anna N. Schlegel (née Anna Navarro Descals), born in Olot (La Garrotxa) and named one of the most influential women in tech by the major magazine the AI sector, Analytics Insight.

After a long career that started in Silicon Valley in 1992, she now is vice president for Procore Technologies.

Catalan News interviewed her on subjects like gender disparities and Catalonia’s potential as a hub.

In the below video she comments on how she had to stick up for herself during her professional life. Read the whole conversation here.

The tourism pioneers of Lloret de Mar

Nowadays Lloret de Mar is chiefly known as a seaside resort where tourism is booming business (well, before Covid-19 made its appearance anyway). But this is a relatively recent development. It was during the 1950s and 60s that this small fishing town was turned into a crowded holiday centre pushing its inhabitants into modernity.

Women played a crucial role in this process, thus not only changing dramatically the day-to-day life of their families but also that of Lloret itself, only compared to the metamorphosing effects on society of the gold rushes in the United States, Australia and elsewhere. Few attention has been paid to this phenomenon, an interesting example of socio-economic history in which women are the principal characters.

It is very well explained in the documentary Pensió Completa (2011), directed by Amaranta Gibert, on which part of this article is based.

Still from the documentary ‘Pensió completa’
How tourism changed Lloret and its inhabitants

Hotel manager against all odds

It was in the news this week: hotel rooms are converted into hospital wards to house convalescent Covid-19 patients. One of these hotels is the historic Hotel Trias in Palamós (Costa Brava). Few people know that this establishment has been built up by a girl of 17 who, despite repeated setbacks, turned a small inn into a prestigious business.

We are talking about Maria Trias Joan who was an only child born to Francisco and Matilde on 29 July 1892 in Sant Joan de Palamós. At the age of fourteen she becomes an orphan and just two years later she decides to take over the family business: the inn founded in 1900.

The hotel in 1913

Maria, and educated woman who speaks French and plays the piano, marries the veterinary Lluís Colomer Moret. He sadly dies when she is expecting their second child, already having lost another one. But she perseveres educating the two children and building up the enterprise all by herself. And not without success, for in 1924 she already is awarded an important touristic prize largely due to her great working capacity, genial character and humanity that attracts many faithful customers. So Fonda Trias becomes a hotel that is a meeting place of international importance.

Maria Trias with her two nieces and waiter Siset Corominola
Destruction, rebuilding and Truman Capote

Dolors Sala, entrepreneur

Freixenet, now world leader in the cava sector, would never have occupied this position without the input and talent of Dolors Sala. She was the critical success factor from the foundation of the company right till her death. Freixenet’s story is Dolors’ story.

Dolors Sala and her husband Pere Ferrer

When Dolors Sala Vivé and her husband Pere Ferrer Bosch found the company of sparkling wines in 1914 shortly after their marriage, she knows what she is talking about. Dolors is the daughter and granddaughter of specialists in still wines of the old Casa Sala established in 1861 by Francesc Sala Ferrés, her grandfather.

This family business was the first brand to export wines from Sant Sadurní d’Anoia  (Alt Penedès) halfway through the 19th century. Therefore she has an extensive knowledge of oenology. In blind taste tests she can easily distinguish the wines from Sant Sadurní, Subirats and Mediona that are grown around her home.

Mansion La Freixeneda

Pere in his turn belongs to the Ferrer family which for 18 generations has held the property called ‘La Freixeneda’ (meaning ‘the forest of ash trees’), a 13th-century wine producing estate in Sant Quintí de Mediona. He is the youngest son, hence the nickname ‘Freixenet’ (‘small ash tree’).

Therefore the circumstances seem ideal for this pair. But were they? Continue reading “Dolors Sala, entrepreneur”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: