Rising Star Spotlight – Katie Young

Young Katie Jul 2024

Katie Young
Director of Workplace Services

You found the hospitality industry as your passion in college, what would you say to our student members about pursuing a career in this industry?

A career in hospitality is not just about doing a job – it’s about having a passion for making a difference in people’s lives. As I reflect on my own professional journey, transitioning from hotel and events management to corporate workplace experience, I’ve been fortunate to encounter countless opportunities that have taken me across the country, introducing me to a range of dynamic individuals throughout the industry. Curiously enough, during my college years, I was entirely unaware that the type of work I now engage in even existed (Director of Workplace Experience) and now I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Embrace a mindset of openness and eagerness to seize every opportunity that presents itself, whether big or small. These chances can lead to unexpected and transformative paths in your career. Embrace the unpredictable nature of this field, as no two workdays will ever be the same. The range of experiences will ensure that boredom is never a concern.

Your journey into the industry promises excitement, growth, and the chance to continually evolve as you positively impact others. Always say yes, embrace the unknown, and watch as your passion for hospitality takes you to incredible places.

Like a lot of others working in hospitality roles in hotels and event management, how has the “normal” hours in our industry eased your burnout in these demanding roles and reignited your passion for hospitality?

During the initial years of my career, I embarked on a journey as a consultant, residing in hotels across the country, dedicating tireless 16-hour days to my work. However, reaching a point of burnout prompted me to reevaluate my path and explore alternative avenues where I could continue making a meaningful impact on people’s lives. It was during this phase that I unexpectedly discovered the perfect intersection between my passion for hospitality and the dynamic world of corporate real estate.

Transitioning into my current role, I found myself embraced by a work environment offering more balanced hours, freeing up valuable time to reconnect with loved ones, indulge in personal hobbies, and approach my creative projects with a newfound perspective. By slowing down and granting myself the space to breathe, I realized that productivity stems not from sheer exertion, but from working intelligently and efficiently. In this new chapter, I have learned to prioritize my well-being while continuing to achieve professional success.

You have discussed finding your path through personal connections, how has your involved with SHFM help to grow your personal professional network?

Through my involvement with SHFM, I have been granted the incredible opportunity to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds, spanning various places across the country. It has given me the chance to forge relationships with people I would rarely encounter in my day-to-day routine, allowing me to broaden my perspective and enrich my network.

One aspect of my engagement with SHFM that has been particularly rewarding is volunteering for the local Charlotte committee. This involvement has afforded me the chance to interact with individuals who, under normal circumstances, our paths may never have crossed.

The connections I have established throughout my career have proven invaluable, as they have directly contributed to every job and opportunity that has come my way. As I nurture and cherish these relationships, I am fascinated by the possibilities that may unfold in the future. It is a testament to the enduring value of maintaining close connections that I remain fully invested in fostering these friendships within the SHFM community.

You have also discussed your dedication to providing exceptional customer experiences, how do you feel your past experience has contributed to attaining this goal?

Having worked in luxury hotels and orchestrated million-dollar weddings and trade shows has allowed me the privilege of providing “white glove service” to numerous clients. Regardless of the setting or the individuals I encounter, my goal remains to extend that same unparalleled hospitality to every person I engage with. Having witnessed a multitude of service levels throughout my career, I have gathered a treasure trove of diverse examples to share in my experience classes. By weaving these real-life anecdotes into my teachings, I empower individuals to trace their own personal experiences and connect them to the service they currently deliver to our esteemed client at Wells Fargo.

While some may associate exceptional service solely with grand gestures, I believe that it is the seemingly minor acts that have the most profound impact. Even the most modest experiences, when executed with precision and care, possess the potential to leave an indelible impression on those we serve. Understanding the significance of mastering the fundamentals and focusing on the “little things” enables anyone to cultivate and expand their hospitality skillset. By getting the basics right, anyone can enhance their ability to provide exceptional service in every interaction.

Finally, our traditional final question: What and where was the best meal you have ever had? 

In Charlotte, NC, where I currently reside, there’s this hole in the wall Italian restaurant called Mama Ricotta’s that serves the best spaghetti and meatballs I’ve ever had. It reminds me of being with my big Italian family, all yelling and laughing in my grandma’s kitchen growing up. It sounds like the most basic meal, but I think the simplicity and comfort is what makes it perfect. All their food is truly incredible, but give me spaghetti, meatballs, and a good glass of red wine and I’m a happy girl.


Scroll to Top