Photo by H&H Photographers
For Leslie Meyer, the most daunting part of her job as banquet coordinator at the DoubleTree Hotel Tarrytown wasn’t learning how to organize weddings, dealing with hotel guests, or getting a handle on her new job just two weeks after finishing up finals at SUNY Plattsburgh. It was overcoming trepidations—her staff’s and her own—about her age.
“I was twenty-two—young enough to be some of my staffers’ daughter, and even granddaughter in some cases,” Meyer says. “It was hard for me to grasp.” Age is no longer a concern. Her staff isn’t focused on her youth—they’re just eager to make her happy, she says.
Meyer, today 24, was not totally new to the hotel when she was hired full-time. During her summers off from college, she worked at its restaurant, where she gained an important fan. Cheryl Weeks, the restaurant manager, saw how quickly Meyer was able to pick up new skills. “She’s like a little sponge—she soaks up everything,” says Weeks, who pushed management to hire Meyer immediately after she graduated. “The prospect of losing her to a competitor was too great. From the minute I talked to her, I knew we had a goldmine.”
Meyer began working at the hotel full-time in June 2010 as a banquet coordinator. She was promoted to the position of banquet manager less than a year later. On her own and much to her department’s delight, Meyer drew up a detailed guide on how to produce a successful event—a playbook that choreographs what each staffer should be doing at every juncture throughout the entire course of an event. “The staff has become obsessed with it,” Weeks says. “We didn’t have anything like that before she came. It’s really transformed the department.”