Listen to the interview (approx. 49 min.) or download it.
Graduated from BoCo in 2009, with a major in Musical Theater.
Position: Learning and Development Manager at the 5-star St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan., part of the very large Marriott International hotel group, which has thousands of hotels under over 30 brands. Kayla delivers trainings to the hotel employees on everything from safety to professional development to orienting new employees. Training material is provided from the corporate headquarters, but Kayla has to familiarize herself with it and give it her personal take. She also has developed some of her own materials. On the slower weeks, she spends part of her time helping out the Human Resources department, especially with creating events involving the employees.
Overview: Kayla moved to NYC after graduation, worked a large variety of side jobs while aggressively seeking roles in musical theater. Sadly, she wasn’t offered any major parts, and the offers she did get paid dismally low. She struggled financially for two years. In 2011 Kayla got a job tending bar at a restaurant, which paid a lot better than her previous jobs, but she was still actively pursuing a musical theater opportunity. A year later, a friend from her softball league who tended bar at a Marriott hotel, helped her get a better bartending job there. By 2013 she was tapering off the musical theater auditions, when her boyfriend (now husband) encouraged her to think about her long-term career, and Kayla decided she wanted a career at Marriott.
At the beginning of 2015 Kayla switched from tending bar to working at the front desk, despite the awkward hours and drastic pay cut, as it was necessary experience in order to establish a career path. After 4 months, she applied for and was hired as assistant to the manager of a different Mariott-owned hotel. That exposed Kayla to many different career possibilities, and she decided she wanted to work in Human Resources, so when a HR person left Kayla got her boss’s permission to move laterally into that job in mid-2017. But a year later she learned that the hotel was being re-branded, so she had to find another job if she wanted to stay within the Marriott family. She applied to many positions and was hired into her current job.
You can see Kalya’s LinkedIn profile here.
Choice Quotes: “The first time I was hired by Mariott was 7 years ago, at the Renaissance Hotels. The instructor was so energetic and awesome and I felt empowered and couldn’t wait to start my job! Now after all these years I’ve worked my way up to this point. I love being up on stage, to present this wonderful content, be able to help people and do something good. In this role I do that, and have relationships with everyone at the hotel, from janitor to general manager.”
“Everything I’ve learned in school I use in my life and at my job. Even being physically aware of my body–the body language, the impression I give off. I do a training on body language and I’m an expert on that due to BoCo. Senior year BoCo they train us to present ourselves given how we want to be perceived. That helps me do trainings and get people on board. It also helped with interviews–interviews are a piece of cake compared to auditions!”
“Get out and meet people. I have a girlfriend who want to BoCo who’s a musicians but she meets bandmates and gets gigs by being so social. Those connections create opportunities for success.”
“Wherever your’re working, if you want to be in a training position, get involved in it as much as you can. A lot of folks don’t want to do it, but take it on, get involved, help the trainers. The trainers will count on you. Then if a position in training opens up they’ll think of you because they know you. Once you’re doing the job, get to know every single person in the business, and treat them all as an equal — they’ll see you as someone they respect, not just someone in an office who barks orders.”
See the full index of successful Berklee/BoCo alumni