Today we have the pleasure of speaking to Cerissa Miller! Cerissa is a leader in our industry. She started the Hospitality Family Facebook Group two years ago during the pandemic, and it now has over 60,000 members!
Cerissa has a very inspiring story to share! In this episode, she talks about mentorship, networking, finding her niche in teaching, and the Hospitality Family Group she started, on Facebook.
When she was twenty-one years old, Cerissa moved from Santa Cruz, California, to Austin, Texas, looking for a career. She applied for many different positions and was finally offered a job at an Embassy Suites hotel in Austin as a social catering sales manager. After experiencing the back-of-house environment, realized her passion for the industry and wanted to make a career of it.
She had some kind and wonderful mentors who taught her a lot and pushed her to be successful. Cerissa loved her job, even though it demanded a lot of her time.
Cerissa later developed an interest in the sales side and became a successful hotel sales manager. After working in several different markets and hotels, she moved back to California and stepped into her first Director of Sales role. After that, she fell in love with leading and teaching. She felt like she knew what she was selling because of her catering experience in the hotel industry.
Cerissa feels blessed to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from all the different hotel directors who took the time to answer all her questions and help her understand how the various wheels turn to make one successful product. She also loved teaching those who followed behind her.
All the hotels Cerissa has worked for have been active in MPI programs or other associations. She feels that getting involved with those associations is vital for networking with peers and potential clients. She also sees a lot of networking happening on the Hospitality Family Page.
Cerissa has stepped away from hotel properties. She has now found her niche in consulting for organizations and training within hotels and management companies. She has also been able to transition some of her networking online.
Cerissa started her training company about eight months ago after seeing many questions asked and people needing guidance on the Hospitality Family group on Facebook.
A more personalized approach
She thinks her approach is different from some standard hospitality training programs because it is more personalized. She works with individuals as well as hotels. She is able to add a lot of positivity into her programs, which had been lacking across the industry. She loves being able to work with individuals on a more personal level and help them transition into newer practices in the industry.
Hospitality Family Group
Cerissa got the idea to start the Hospitality Family Group on Facebook in March 2020, when Covid hit her area, and her property sent everyone home. She panicked a little because she did not know what would happen and thought she might lose her job. She decided to create the Hospitality Family page, so she sent out invitations to a few people she worked with to connect, understand what others were going through, and prepare for what could potentially happen to her career. It turned into a space for people to share their experiences, encourage each other, and offer support.
There are now more than 60,000 members, and thirty different countries are participating in the group.
Cerissa’s vision for the Hospitality Family Group is to make it even more valuable and beneficial for everyone who is part of the group. She would like it to become a place where people can ask the questions they do not feel comfortable asking their leaders or get career support.
Passion and drive
To be successful in the hotel industry, you need to be driven and passionate! You also have to love people and want to be around them to provide them with service.
Getting people back into working in the hotel industry
It has been hard for hotel employees in all departments to adjust to a new way of doing things. Many different issues still need to be taken care of, and many changes need to be implemented, to curb the great resignation and get people back into the hotel industry. Several resources that were plentiful prior to the pandemic were lacking; including staffing issues.
The industry was stricken hard by the pandemic and it especially took a mental toll on workers. Managers/owners had to cut budgets and positions, which often included letting people go who had been in the industry for years.
Employees need to speak up for themselves when they want to transition into different roles or schedules. Companies need to really be willing to raise people up into the company to roles that are mutually beneficial.
Cerissa recommends standing up for yourself when it comes to work hours or schedules that do not allow them to have personal/family time. Create a list of priorities for your life. Seek positions that will help you meet your expectations. Be confident!
Connect with Eric
Connect with Cerissa Miller