According to studies done over the last few years, the average job seeker will change jobs several times throughout his or her lifetime. Those in the hospitality industry are no exception! Staff members at hotels from Italy to Oregon have had unique starts to their careers before changing it up at their current positions:
Executive Chef Beatrice Segoni at Hotel Lungarno's signature restaurant, Borgo San Jacopo, wasn't always showing her creativity in the kitchen. She began her career as a fashion stylist and launched her first collection for the "modern, feminine and iconic woman," in 1986. Segoni began working at a restaurant around the same time and, realizing her potential, decided to enroll in culinary school and later began working with some of Italy's top chefs including Gianfranco Vissani and Fabio Tacchella. Since Borgo San Jacopo Ristorante's opening in 2004, Segoni has focused on the tradition of la cucina Italiana by reinterpreting classical dishes and regional specialties with inspiration from art and fashion. Named one of the best restaurants in Florence by L'Espresso in 2011, Borgo San Jacopo Ristorante is located in the most desirable district in Florence with views of the Arno River. The restaurant offers signature dishes including a medley of Fried squid, shrimp, scampi, zucchini, potatoes and carrots that has been on the menu since its opening.
Located in the heart of Atlanta, the hotel recently received a $65 million transformation, but one its staff members has also experienced a transformation of his own. Lenny Williams, Restaurant Manager at the hotel's signature restaurant, Sway, was previously a professional football player. From 2003-2006, Williams played Linebacker for the St. Louis Rams before switching gears to hospitality at Hyatt Regency Atlanta. Lenny oversees daily activity at Sway Restaurant, new to the hotel after the recent renovation. Sway (which stands for Southern Way) serves Southern-influenced dining and features signature dishes such as Buttermilk Fried Chicken and an all-you-can eat pie buffet.
There's a lot you can do with a set of blades! Whether creating art inside or outside of the kitchen, Executive Chef TV Flynn of the Tides Inn in Virginia is multitalented. For the past ten years, Chef has spent his weekdays creating innovative dishes and overseeing a staff of 45. When he's not on property, he's revving his chain saw as a competitive ice sculptor and wood carver. His competitive streak won first place two years in a row at the Sea Island Festival ice sculpting competition in 1991 and 1992.
At the iconic hotel, which celebrates its 100th Anniversary this year, Polo Lounge Manager Pepe de Anda has been on staff at "The Pink Palace" for 28 years. Previous to his tenure there, Pepe was a professional soccer player in Mexico where he played for seven years/11 seasons on five teams! After suffering a knee injury and moving to Los Angeles for rehab, Pepe connected with a friend, Eduardo Ochoa (now Director of Room Service at the property and one of the longest-serving employees!). Eduardo brought Pepe to work at the hotel's legendary pool for the summer of 1984. Throughout the years, Pepe has worked his way up to Polo Lounge Manager, where he now oversees operations at this celebrated signature restaurant that has also undergone renovations by Tihany Design this year.
Real Estate Developer Candace Dyal of Kiawah Island, South Carolina and mother of two started her professional career as a Wall Street stock broker in New York City where she managed various international clients for 13 years. Dyal relocated to London to obtain a graduate degree, but later returned to the States and found herself revisiting her favorite vacation spot with her kids on the 10,000-acre Kiawah Island. The natural beauty, miles of walkable beach, bike trails, kayaking with the dolphins and international residents were a natural draw for her. Taking her passion for Kiawah Island to a new level, Candace launched Dyal Compass LLC in New York, a real estate development company, designing and developing luxury properties on Kiawah with a focus on LEED certified accreditation. One of her most recent projects, Indigo Park, is the location of HGTV Dream Home 2013, with the goal of pursuing Platinum LEED Certification.
Located in Portland, Oregon, the Nines hotel is filled with interesting and unique people, much like the city it's located in. Lesley Nardini, a member of the Concierge staff, recently won Mrs. Oregon and is a former model trainer and fashion show coordinator. Laurie Simms, another member of the Concierge staff, doubles as a winemaker and has previously worked as a driver's education instructor, banker and aerobics instructor.