Why you do the work you do:
I wanted to combine tourism, recreation and business aspects into a career that would also let me "serve those who serve us" [in the military].
When searching for post-graduate career opportunities, I discovered the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Division of the U.S. Army, and knew it would be my future. MWR is the portion of the Army that provides "fun stuff" for Soldiers and their families to participate in in their off-time (i.e. Outdoor Recreation Services, Trips and Tours, Arts and Crafts Programming, Auto Craft Shops and Courses, Food, Beverage and Entertainment, Libraries, Fitness Centers, Special Events, etc.). The U.S. Army has proven to be an outstanding organization to work for as a civilian, and has allowed me so many opportunities to learn, train, travel and lead other civilians.
Describe the type of work you do on a day to day basis:
I supervise all Business and Recreation Program Managers at the Garrison, ensuring they seek out Community feedback to offer the programs and services our Community wants. I manage both "local Belgian hires" and US employees, and each has its own set of Human Resource structures. I also oversee fiscal, environmental, and safety responsibilities within each program. (There are a lot of related regulations to follow in the Army, so keeping up with all of them is a big job!)
I'm also involved in the development of a facility renovation project, coordinating budgetary and specifications requirements with relevent players. Currently, I also maintain front-line and macro-management duties at an MWR lounge facility, hosting special events (such as Bunco, Texas Hold'em, Trivia Nights, and Theme Parties). Needless to say, I have a great number of varied duties that I maintain, and each offers great professional experiencet. Not a day goes by when I'm not doing or learning something new, which is good because today's job market demands cross-trained, well-rounded leaders. I feel like a true Renaissance Woman.
How did our degree prepare you for your present position?
I received the business background I needed for potential employers to take me seriously, the Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism knowledge I needed to know how to follow trends and capture markets, and the Spanish skills that have proven invaluable in my travels and business efforts.
Who was an early inspiration for you?
My parents are both extremely hard-working folks who inspired me to do the same and get all I can out of life. When I was growing up they took me on semi-annual trips to various geographical areas, so was spoiled with a lot of great world-travel experience. From that, I always knew travel would be an important part of my life that I wanted to incorporate into my career...after all, my dad is the owner of my favorite travel agency (American Dream Travel in Fort Collins)!
What faculty member had the greatest impact on you and why?
All CNR faculty members I had the pleasure of dealing with were great--each one took an obvious, vested interest in my and all CNR students' growth and education! At course registration time, I remember dreading a couple of those early-morning Core Courses, but professors like Tim Merriman and Glen Haas really made those class hours among the most relevant and worthwhile (and positively affected my future and career).
Paul Layden particularly stands out as a stellar counselor. It was Paul who introduced me to the newly developing Global Tourism Concentration when I was at a crossroads in obtaining my degree. That turned out to be just the niche I was looking for, and his guidance in that direction impacted my future in the best way possible. He also inspired and guided me in moving forward with founding the CSU student chapter of the Resort and Commercial Recreation Association (RCRA) prior to graduating. He went on to help me coordinate my Honors Thesis Project and then comprehinsively recognized my total efforts in the College at a special ceremony. Because of Paul's support, I graduated with a very high-quality experience in the Warner CNR.
What was your proudest moment at CSU?
My proudest moment in Warner CNR was being the the first-ever student to graduate with a Global Tourism Concentration! I also look back with pride on seeing the RCRA CSU student chapter build momentum and become something great--I feel like I left a positive mark on our wonderfully-developing College. I'm really proud of the RCRA CSU chapter members who have kept it alive and took my vision to the next levels.
Advice to current students?
Also, studying abroad is imperative to gaining global perspective and life experience that you need to attain (while you're young). It's exciting and scary and weird all at the same time, and you'll never forget it nor regret it. Warner CNR offers exceptional internship opportunities [abroad] in addition to the stellar CSU Study Abroad Program. I highly recommend both.
What words do you live by?
"Variety is the spice of life", and "Make hay while the sun is shining". They're old-school, but they've lead me to/through many adventures! I try to take advantage of all opportunities that come my way.