Senior Emily Lovejoy started her journey at Niagara University as a social work major and quickly realized that her passion was elsewhere. After changing her major to luxury hotel operations in the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management and joining CMAA (Club Management Association of America), she found her passion was within the private club industry. Emily spent this past summer at her second internship at Druid Hill Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga., far away from her hometown of Elmira, N.Y.
How did you secure the opportunity?
Both through Dr. Frye and CMAA I have been able to form mentorships/relationships with managers in the private club industry and because of this I knew what kind of reputation my manager from this summer, Nick Markel, held. I knew that I wanted to work for him and that the program his club was offering would further my success. I was put into contact with him and began the interview process with various individuals including Mr. Markel, the Club House Manager and the Human Resources Director.
What did you do on a daily basis?
I was focused mainly in the casual a la carte dining room, The Dogwood Grille. I managed a staff between five and twenty individuals for lunch and dinner service. I was responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of service and satisfaction of the club members. I also assisted in leading pre-shift meetings where we discussed new menu items, events going on throughout the club, possible improvements and concerns. Throughout my internship, I also rotated through the other departments of the club including Housekeeping, Human Resources, Catering, Maintenance, Golf, Tennis, Culinary, Accounting, Membership, Communications and time with the club house manager. I also spent time learning the beverage program where I attended several meetings with sales representatives.
Most importantly, what did you learn?
As a first-time supervisor, I have learned that there is more than one way to manage people. Every person is different, and you have to understand that they have different needs. You cannot gain respect from people that are older than you and have been working for an establishment longer than you by starting your first day acting like an authoritative manager. I learned that it is crucial to show your work ethic and passion for the industry from the beginning, never put yourself above anything. From my first day at my internship, I worked hard to get to know each and every position and made myself a helping hand to my co-workers. When my co-workers were working hard, I always made sure to be just as busy so that I could form a level of expectation that I had for them. I also think that asking for more really made my internship all the more worthwhile. If I was curious about other aspects of the club, I made sure to ask questions, ask for experience and follow through with my goals.
What advice do you have for future students?
Go out of your comfort zone and push yourself to leave your hometown. Your friends will still be there when you get back and a semester-long internship is only three months. I would not have the mindset that I have now if I chose to stay in my small hometown for an internship. My first internship was in New York City and my second was in Atlanta, Georgia. Through these opportunities, I have met so many new people, made so many connections and learned about so many different cultures along the way. There is so much more out there than you know, and you’ll never see it if you never open your mind to becoming more.
How did NU's Office of Career Services help you?
I have gone to Career Services several times throughout my experience at Niagara University. They have helped me critique my resume, acquire better interviewing skills and I have even been put on the spot to answer interview questions in front of other people. This has helped me to learn what professionalism is all about and how important differentiating yourself from others is. Career services is always willing to help and offer a hand for professional advice.