Once I had a taste for Events following my debut with the Champagne Event, there was no stopping me. Blessed that my dad was in the industry, I remember sitting in front of him, mustering all my courage to tell him that this was my dream. He looked me right in the eye and told me I was out of my mind. He said it was one of the hardest jobs in a hotel and that I would not be prepared for the kind of hours that would be involved as I enjoyed a “healthy social life”. He implored me to go into sales as that was the best career decision and would work with my life. This only drove my resolve that this is what I wanted to do..it was an unintentional challenge of sorts.
A few months later I was lucky enough to be accepted into a Management Recruitment program for Marriott and began a 5 week training program, which would end with me being placed in a hotel as an event manager. Looking back those 5 weeks were so important to my growth and overall readiness to enter the epitome of Corporate America. I drank the proverbial Kool-Aid and quickly fell in love with the bigger purpose of truly taking care of the guest. I really got it, after a lifetime of exposure and some interest, I had found my calling and nothing was going to stop me. I was so excited to get out there and make Mr. Marriott proud.
I had one dream…The Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington DC. With 1300 rooms and 200,000sf of meeting and event space it was the holy grail, what I prayed for every night before I went to bed, but the program made no guarantees about placement. The last week of class was so bittersweet. After 5 weeks we had become close and comforted by the daily routine of learning and being exposed to some of the company’s best leaders. Everyone was getting their notifications about where they would be placed…everyone but me. The final evening ended with an awards dinner which was so fun and I had won some awards, but I couldn’t really enjoy because I still had no clue where I was going.
As everyone is hugging and saying their goodbyes my interim boss pulls me aside. He has a huge smile on his face and immediately butterflies begin as I am sure that this is my big moment…I have worked so hard and tried to remain at the head of the class so that I can earn my spot at my dream hotel. Sometimes life has different plans than we imagine. It turns out that I would be going to Wardman Park, but first I need to spend an undetermined amount of time in Conshohocken Pennsylvania working as an event manager. The hotel was in immediate need and I was told they did a lot of volume. I was petrified…here I was leaving the comfort of the classroom to go live and work in a town I can’t pronounce for who knows how long. As with almost all of my life’s curveballs, there is always a good reason that everything happens…event if we can’t see it at the time.