When Investor Relations Vice President Carola Mengolini talks about the cruise business– Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., specifically– it is with a heartfelt passion.
Once a competitive skier in her native Argentina, Mengolini is a standout in a business sector once dominated by men. Her journey from the resort town of Bariloche, in the foothills of the Andes, to the executive offices of RCL, was a long, and sometimes arduous one, but today she marvels at her good fortune.
“When I moved to Miami, my goal was to work for the very best company I could find and I managed to do that when I joined RCL,” she says. “RCL is in a different league than anything else I experienced in the workplace.”
Mengolini is new to the Investor Relations V.P. role, appointed in August 2017, but not to RCL, which she first joined as a financial analyst in 2006 after working various positions in the travel industry including with Lan- Airlines. A family matter brought her to Miami, but it was the opportunity that has kept her here.
“Yes, it is about the American Dream.,” she said. “You can fulfill it here.”
Unabashedly, Mengolini says she has one of the best jobs in the company.
Investor Relations typically combines finance, communications, and marketing to facilitate the flow of information between a company and its investors. For Mengolini, however, it is all about the big picture.
“My job is not about the stock price, it is about our business,” she says. “The business is doing well, very well. It is my job to tell the story to investors and potential investors. Why cruising? Why RCL?”
Ms. Mengolini likens RCL’s leadership position in the industry to the “sweet spot” that occurs when a company’s product deftly aligns with consumer demand.
Thanks to significant investments in new design, technology, and innovative onboard experiences, RCL’s ships are capturing new markets including baby boomers, now traveling with grandchildren, to adventure-seeking millennials anxious for new experiences.
“Our industry is totally different than 20 years ago,” Mengolini said. Once simply floating hotels, cruise ships have evolved into vibrant cities that offer cruisers a world of experiences.”
Yet, with cruise market penetration in the US at only 3.6 – compared to 18.9% market penetration for travel destinations like Disney – there are enormous untapped opportunities for significant growth.
Ms. Mengolini has good reason to be bullish. Coming off a record-setting 2017, RCL is off to a strong start in 2018 with high consumer demand across its roster of cruise brands. Coming soon are the three new ships joining the Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara fleets this year.
“I can feel the adrenaline,” she said, noting that RCL corporate culture is one of continuous improvement and innovation that pushes the envelope to deliver a better, high-value experience for its customers aboard ship.
Mengolini is pumped! She points to a new corporate initiative, dubbed 20/20 Vision, which establishes goals to achieve double-digit earnings by the end of the decade.
Now a U.S. citizen, Mengolini is happy and relaxed in her personal life that includes her husband and five children, a blended family she calls the “Brady Bunch.” And, while it is never easy to leave one’s country, she remains connected to her roots visiting parents in Argentina at least once a year.
In addition to family cruises, Bariloche is one of her favorite vacation destinations—the skiing is great!