Briefly describe your job and responsibilities.
I oversee the training of over 1500 hourly employees to ensure they are made to feel welcome and are successful in their new roles. I created and execute an internal development process for Team Members to become Managers by engaging in experiential learning. I work towards recruiting, retaining and engaging 130 salaried Managers throughout 22 locations. Currently, I am creating an entire training program for our Hourly Team Members using e-learning and Learning Management software.
What does a "typical" day at work look like for you?
Pre-COVID: Visiting one or two of our 22 locations once or twice a week, engaging with Team Members and Managers to discover new ways to help them do their jobs better, reduce clamps and improve the Team Member experience. The other days, I spend meeting with our Operations Team to discuss training opportunities and creating those programs. Currently, I am working on my biggest project to date, which is overhauling our entire training program for Hourly Team Members.
What was your first job in the hospitality industry?
I collected trays in the cafeteria and washed them at Camelback Ski Resort when I was 14.
When did you know this industry was right for you?
When I started college, I was an Elementary Education major. By my junior year, I was taking part in student teaching experiences and realized it wasn't for me. It was pretty scary being three semesters from graduating and not knowing what I wanted to major in. By that point, I was a Shift Supervisor at Camelback and the Food and Beverage Director encouraged me to major in Hospitality. I, like many people, only saw my jobs as stepping stones to get to where I was going and not for the opportunities that were right in front of me. Once I realized how expansive the industry is and how many options I had to grow and develop in my career, I knew it was for me.
Briefly describe your career path and how you got to where you are today.
I majored in Hospitality and Restaurant Management in undergrad. I worked as a Food and Beverage Manager during and after college. Two years after I graduated, I enrolled in an MBA program, specializing in Human Resources. I continued working as a Manager, now for Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group (Red Robin) and was working towards my General Manager certification when I decided it was time to make the move to Human Resources. I took an entry-level recruiting position at an event center in the Poconos. Just a few months later, I was recruited into my current position to come back to Lehigh Valley Restaurant Group as the Manager of Restaurant Training on the Human Resources team. I am currently preparing for the SHRM-SCP Certification, which is a reputable certification in the Human Resources field.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Creating relationships. When I learned what hospitality truly means, I began to feel more connected to my job. It wasn't about making burgers anymore. It was about creating an environment where people want to make memories: whether it is a family dinner or a Team Member coming to work everyday. When you start focusing on your employees, everything changes and that is where I feel most fulfilled.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Pre-COVID: Staffing. As an industry, we need to work on making the younger generation in our industry understand and believe that Restaurants are a great place to build your career. I believe the industry is viewed as a stepping stone for so many while they are in school and getting ready to take the next step in their careers.
During COVID: I always enjoyed the ever-changing environment of the industry, but COVID took it to a whole new level. So right now, COVID is absolutely the hardest part of all of our jobs. Restaurants have been the target of so many mitigation attempts that it has been devastating to the industry as a whole.
What advice would you give to students interested in your profession?
Always look for the balance of experience and formal education. I would not be working in the position that I am in just because I have a Master's degree. I landed my job because I have 10 years of experience managing a restaurant.
Treat every job like it could be your biggest career move, because you never know what's coming next.
What achievement are you most proud of?
Identifying an area that our company was seriously lacking in, teaching myself to use a new platform, and creating a program that will be used for years to come. It feels good to make a measurable impact on the company.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Travel with my family, hike, go to the beach... pretty much anything outdoors!
What is your favorite food to make or eat?
I love trying new foods but it always comes back to tacos for me.
What's at the top of your bucket list?
I want to take an Anthony Bourdain-style trip and just eat my way through new places!
PA ProStart Blog
The PA ProStart Blog is for Pennsylvania students and teachers of the ProStart Program- a nationwide, two-level high school career and technical education program that teaches culinary arts and restaurant fundamentals.