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Lessons From on Top of the Breakers

I grew up as the oldest of three and when I was 13, my parents split. My siblings and I lived in a not-so conventional family setting as we stayed with my father and I was challenged with assisting with raising my brother and sister. Because I was given much more responsibility as a 13 year old than most, I believed this carved my path of growing up quicker, and being a more professionally aggressive young adult.

We did not get a chance to travel much when we were younger and at age 16, I was given an opportunity to visit my aunt in New York, I loved that my father trusted me getting on an airplane and making my way through the airport, onto the plane and finding my aunt curbside in NYC by myself. What an adventure for a 16 year old. After that trip, I definitely got the travel bug and there was no stopping me from traveling around the world, multiple times!

As of today, I’ve traveled internationally several times and I have visited approximately 35 of the United States. I take a trip with my mother every year and vacation with friends and family as often as physically possible, totaling close to 4-5 trips yearly.

I contribute my ability to travel as much as I do to the company I’ve worked for the past 26 years – The Breakers, Palm Beach. The Breakers is considered one of the leading hospitality Resorts in the world, with an amazing family culture that allows for work life balance for everyone.  After working in the hospitality industry for as long as I have, I know what to look for and expect when I travel. 

Ever since starting at The Breakers, I’ve progressed through several roles, positions and responsibilities, from Food & Beverage to Events and Catering and currently within the Rooms Division.  For the past 17 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working for one of the most talented, supportive, gifted, motivating and genuine women in the hospitality industry, Tricia Taylor, Executive Vice President and General Manager of The Breakers. It is hard to summarize everything she stands for just a few words; she epitomizes hospitality and true compassion with every single cell of her being. I’ve learned so much from her which has empowered me to grow as a woman and a professional in this industry as much as I have through my years of tenure at the company. She is truly my mentor and someone I look up to as a woman, a leader and a professional.

Over the years, I’ve heard other women in the industry say they feel like they are living and working in a man’s world. Luckily, I’ve never felt that as I’ve only been given one opportunity after the next to grow, learn, experience, prove and improve myself. I’ve been called a bulldog over the years as I’m known to ‘get it done’ and not take ‘no’ for an answer. Currently, I hold the title of General Manager of The Flagler Club, a boutique hotel which sits atop The Breakers, described as an exclusive, private hotel within the hotel.  I am proud of what I’ve accomplished and look forward to what I have yet to accomplish.

I do have several rules I live by. One common, but true, is the cardinal rule – ‘treat others how you’d like to be treated.’  But something I learned many years ago from a long time co-worker who taught me ‘Don’t let another person (or department) dictate your success.’ I can’t tell you how many times I’ve repeated that to others and how I live by this motto myself. 

I enjoy spending some of my extra time volunteering in the community, mentoring others at work, keeping up on industry trends, speaking about my hospitality passion in college classrooms and of course, traveling. I recently had the chance to participate in the FAU Hospitality online education and training course this past spring, arranged by Peter Ricci, which I must admit was one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve done in quite some time. I hope to be able to share my experiences and mentor some women (or men) while learning and growing myself through Women In Travel Thrive.

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