Our 2019 “Class Act” Hospitality Gulls
In a world that is often said to be fraught with both terrible customer service and a reported skills gap spanning many industries, Endicott College is doubling down on our already firmly rooted concept of experiential learning. While this learning style is present in all areas of Endicott academics, the success stories from our School of Hospitality Management are great examples of how it translates into better prepared workers. Let us illustrate by introducing you some of our top bright stars from 2019.
Solis’ advice to others, is to “have fun, learn, be yourself, and if you are in the hotel industry, use your benefits to travel.”
Solis is a Gull who hails from Panama. She was initially interested in our business management program, but made the switch to hospitality after taking a summer job at a hotel. During her time with us, she has traveled and studied abroad to both Australia and Florence.
Solis says, “Both are very touristic cities. The programs were very different. In Italy, I feel I learned a lot about food production. In particular, the slow food movement, and how Italians embrace this belief and apply it to the way they manage family run restaurants.
Shantall Solis '19“In Australia, the International College of Management Sydney (ICMS) was more focused in hotel management itself. Both experiences were completely different, however highly rewarding. I not only grew in an academic way, but in a personal way as well. I learned to adapt to different environments and simply exploring two other continents.”
Solis spent her senior internship within the Human Resources department at The Four Seasons Hotel Boston, in an area she never saw herself landing. She says, “I landed my internship before leaving for Australia. I did it in a sector of the industry in which I never pictured myself before, Human Resources, but that was the best way to get to know the company. I assisted in planning employee fairs, holiday parties, and re-shaping the company-culture with a movement that was happening globally. This helped me learn a lot about employee management. And, in the end, one of the most rewarding experiences was when employees started to trust me.”
Solis initially found her senior internship through a friend that knew an Endicott Alumni that worked at The Four Seasons Boston, and connected her. She says, “At the beginning, Human Resources told me that there were no positions for interns open and to check later closer to Fall 2018 (my first semester of senior year). I responded saying that I would do so, however I was going to leave for Australia and that it would be great if we got to meet in person. They gave me an appointment and said it was not an interview–but it was an interview. After that interview they called me twice while I was in Panama and before leaving for Australia they sent me an offer letter!”
Solis’ intern experience has led directly to a real-world hospitality role. Solis says, “I am currently part of the opening team at Four Seasons One Dalton. I work as a Guest Services Agent, which is a front desk receptionist and concierge at the same time. At the moment I am learning a lot, and opening a hotel is certainly not easy. However, I am happy to see that the culture experienced while I was an intern is still the same.
“After this year I would like to go open our new property, which is estimated to open in late 2019 or early 2020 in Madrid; or transfer somewhere fun and warm within the company!”
Patrick Finocchiaro ’19
“Post-graduation life appears daunting after walking off the stage with the Endicott diploma in hand, yet the opportunities are endless.”
Finocchiaro is a local, if you consider New Hampshire a neighbor, like many New Englanders do. But from his humble beginnings in small-town Salem, he has ventured quite far away to achieve his dreams.
In fact, he went to Switzerland because of his dual senior internship. Finocchiaro says, “After a successful dual internship with Four Seasons Hotel Boston in sales for Endicott College and Les Roches Switzerland, the most rewarding outcome was the knowledge I brought to my first job. My internship prepared me for high-level hotel operations and group/travel industry sales.”
Finocchiaro credits his success largely to attending the Endicott School of Hospitality Management and Les Roches. He says, “I chose Endicott School of Hospitality Management after meeting with the talented faculty. Creating a relationship with my professors allowed me to build a personal brand that enhanced my network to open opportunities in Boston and abroad.
“Les Roches Switzerland not only offered valuable experience in hotel finance, economics, and entrepreneurship, but also opened a network of international contacts that I continue to maintain today. I have already gone back to Europe on several occasions for networking opportunities with the contacts I made while on campus; I am traveling to Southern France in June to meet with some fellow Les Roches alumni to maintain my international network.”
Post-graduation was not worrisome for Finocchiaro. He says, “I am currently a Group and Travel Industry Sales Coordinator at Wynn Resorts Limited’s Encore Boston Harbor. My experience at Endicott, Les Roches Switzerland, and at Four Seasons Hotel Boston were paramount to helping me open the 671-room resort in June 2019. Since I helped open the resort, I have also built more experience in areas I thought I would never enjoy, such as group sales, billing, and accounting. Though I struggled with some aspects of my position at first, my valuable experience gained from Endicott allowed me to excel in these challenging areas.”
But the present is just the beginning. Keep a lookout for the Finocchiaro name in the New York wine scene. Finocchiaro says, “I’m recently engaged and my fiancé and I are beginning work to open a boutique winery resort in upstate New York in just a few short years. It’s a dream that my professors at Endicott groomed me to pursue.”
Jennifer Gannon ‘19
“Take every opportunity you get, step out of your comfort zone (even if it scares you) and most importantly make sure you’re truly happy in whatever you choose to do!”
Gannon is far from local, but absolutely loves our area. In fact, it was one of the main reasons she sought out our school. She says, “I chose to come to Endicott from Minnesota because first of all, I love the east coast! I always knew I wanted to go to college in the northeast and when I found Endicott, I knew it was a perfect fit. Once I decided to study hospitality management, I compared all the schools and programs but decided that Endicott had an exceptional program including internships, study abroad opportunities, small class sizes, and most importantly the faculty were welcoming and seemed to truly care.”
Since joining the Hospitality Gulls family, Gannon has done both hyper-local (Misselwood Events) and far-reaching internships. Her senior internship was located in Australia. She says, “I have always been someone that loved traveling and experiencing different cultures. During my freshman year, I became really involved in the International Education office, which influenced my decision to go abroad twice in my college experience. After narrowing the study abroad programs down between CIS in Spain and ICMS in Australia, I decided to go abroad to Australia in the fall of my junior year. Australia had always been a place I wanted to go and when I found out that the ICMS specialized in management, I knew it would be a great way to continue my studies in hospitality. I would be able to study what I was passionate about in a different culture and see other aspects of a global industry.
“During my first study abroad experience, I completely fell in love with Australia and the culture. I took incredible classes, learned transferrable skills in my professional and personal life, and met some of the best people that are still my best friends to this day. I ended up extending my stay for another month to be able to travel throughout Australia and New Zealand, which was such an incredible experience. When I got back to Endicott for my second semester in my junior year, I knew I had left a piece of my heart in Australia. I was constantly missing the people and culture that I had grown to love over the past few months, which influenced my decision to go back for my senior internship.
“One of the most rewarding experiences so far has been how the skills I learned in the Novotel Manly Pacific transferred and have helped me succeed in my current professional life and career. I truly believe that studying and working in another country has helped me stand out in interviews and given me amazing opportunities. Living and working in Australia taught me what life would be like after Endicott. I became more responsible, independent, and confident.”
And Gannon’s worldly experience has already helped start her career off right. She says, “In March of my senior year, I was trying to figure out whether I wanted to continue my studies and obtain a Master of Business Administration at Endicott, or go into the job industry and start my career. I ended up applying for the Marriott International Management Training Voyager program. I saw this as a competitive program that would start my career in one of the largest and most well-known hotel brands throughout the world.
“Marriott had always been my goal because of its reputation and extensive locations, which would allow me to travel the world. After an extensive round of interviews with Marriott representatives and recruiters, I landed a spot as a Voyager in Hawaii! I’m located at a Sheraton Resort specializing in rooms operations. I am working as a Front Office Manager for six months, a Housekeeping Manager for six months, and then I will be able to do rotations between all the departments in the hotel to truly understand how it runs. The Voyager program will expedite my path to becoming a manager and will allow me to learn and decide where I truly want to be in my career.”
“During my free time, I love to volunteer and help execute events for my parents’ senior community.”
Spinney calls nearby Marblehead, Mass. her home when she isn’t at Endicott. Her passion for hospitality, and events specifically began from watching wedding shows on television, but since that time she has become interested in hotel operations. Her experiences showed her the way.
While at Endicott, Spinney became the President of the student club for American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA). She says, “I started as the student chapter’s treasurer in 2016, then moved up to vice president in 2017, and in junior year, I became president. My experience as president was an exciting learning opportunity and taught me leadership skills. Being president helped me develop foundational managerial skills that I will use throughout my career such as, organization, time-management, good listening skills, and developing ideas together as a team.”Grace Spinney '19
Spinney also completed a rotational internship at the Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites. She says, “I interned in the Sales and Marketing department at the Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites (one block from the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, Mass.) and then worked as a Banquet Server. I’ve been interested in the Hawthorne Hotel senior high school internship. During my junior year at Endicott, I learned many of my peers interned at the Hawthorne Hotel for their INT100, INT200, and HTM489. I got my foot in the door through connections and settled into my internship in May 2019.”
If Spinney has her way, her post-grad path will lead her towards more hotel management opportunities. She says, “I hope to stay in the Boston area and seek accelerated managerial training programs for front office work or food and beverage management. In the future, I want to work my way up to Operations Manager. I love working and communicating with multiple departments. I hope to work with an independent hotel company or a small corporate hotel as these types of hotels have a more employee-centric focus. The way I look at it is, if the employee is satisfied, the employee will deliver satisfaction to their guests and then create repeat business. Employees will stay with the company and the hotel will create regulars.”
These are just a few of our student success stories from our School of Hospitality Management. If you would like to learn more about the program, please visit endicott.edu.
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