By Michelle Besaw ’08
A lot goes into managing a banquet hall. Just ask Leslie Meyer, a 2010 SUNY Plattsburgh graduate who was recently recognized for her outstanding performance as the banquet manager at DoubleTree by Hilton in Tarrytown, N.Y.
Based on her coworkers’ nomination, the hotel, restaurant and tourism grad was named one of “Westchester's Wunderkinds 2012: The County's Most Successful Business Professionals Under the Age of 30.” The business-life magazine annually recognizes a selection of Westchester’s young professionals who make a difference in the business world.
The Garrison, N.Y. native said she is honored and overwhelmed by the news. Here’s what else she had to say:
Q: What made you choose your degree path?
"When I was 13 years old, my dance team went to Las Vegas. I was in awe of the magnificent hotels and decided that I wanted to work in a hotel when I was older. During high school, I was looking for colleges with hotel management majors and SUNY Plattsburgh had everything I wanted."
Q: What do you love about your job?
"I love that I do something different every day. I’m always meeting new people. It’s so satisfying for me to make people happy. I have an amazing team of coworkers that I could never do my job without."
Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?
"The most challenging part is juggling multiple events at the same time. Every guest deserves my full attention, and it’s difficult to give four people my full attention at the same time."
Q: What can’t your industry live without?
"Banquet Chef Frank Troiano! Or rather, people like Frank Troiano. He puts in long hours and never complains. This industry can’t survive without workers who put the guests’ needs before their own."
Q: What stands out about your SUNY Plattsburgh experience?
"When I look back at my SUNY Plattsburgh experience, I think of a few things right away: my boyfriend, my best friends, Hospitality Management Club and Dance Corps. At SUNY Plattsburgh, I met the most wonderful people who are still in my life today and whom I foresee to be a part of my future as well. The HRTM program gave me the proper tools to succeed in the real world. I was president of the Hospitality Management Club where I worked closely with professors and fellow students to organize many different kinds of events."
Q: Who was your favorite professor?
"My favorite professor was definitely Mrs. Kimberly Emery. She had been my adviser for all four years and was always extremely helpful with the club. Toward graduation, I thought of her as my friend as well as my professor. My favorite class was what we refer to as “dinner class” held on Thursday nights, where the students essentially run the restaurant operation of Samuel D’s. It was hands-on experience working with some of my best friends, and we always had a good time!"
Q: When you’re not working, what are you doing?
"My time away from work is spent either with my boyfriend, friends, going to yoga or sleeping!"
Q: If you could give any advice to current or future SUNY Plattsburgh students, what would you say?
"SUNY Plattsburgh’s HRTM program is definitely worth it. Be sure to stay in contact with your classmates because networking is key in this industry as well as experience. Employers all want people who have had notable experience. Most of all, enjoy college while it lasts; it’s over before you know it!"
Read next story: Students to Become Teachers in After-school Program.
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