It’s probably appropriate that I’ve gone a bit dormant these last two weeks in the blogosphere, as the hustle and bustle of the holiday season kicks into full gear with the arrival of Thanksgiving today. For the fortunate, lucky few of you that subscribe to this blog – which portends to chronicle all that is good (or interesting) in social media, current music, and hospitality travel trends – you may have been inquisitively pondering what I’ve been up to. Well, here’s the post for you, which unveils many of the exciting new developments that have been going on in my life and, appropriately, covers many of the topics this blog focuses on.
Since my last post, I have continued to play the role of the long-distance commuter, taking two consecutive weekend bus trips back-and-forth from Boston to New York City, via my beloved Bolt Bus and, just recently, giving its close competitor Megabus a try (which was, happily, an equally pleasant and hugely affordable means to travel between the two East Coast hubs). The purpose of each of these trips, unlike my previous meanderings to Manhattan, were more focused on leveraging professional networking opportunities, with the social aspects of the trips left as ancillary benefits. The first weekend that I allude to – the weekend of November 11 – 14 – meant participating in the Cornell Hotel Society, Collegiate Chapter‘s annual trip down to New York City for the globally-attended International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show, a hotelier-aimed trade show held at the Javits Center of primarily B2B idea and product exchange.
While I did not personally attend the trade show, (for, quite frankly, it has always been an event best suited for those with purchasing power in their respective companies) I did fully engage in the litany of Cornell Hotel School related networking events that took place over the course of the weekend, which included a young alumni and undergraduate happy hour social, an intimate mentor-mentee dinner with a group of highly engaged and motivated freshmen and juniors, and, of course, the 650+ attendee, exclusively Cornell Hotelie, annual CHS Hotel Show Reception – this year held at the lovely Bryant Park Grill. This event I have been involved with in the undergraduate capacity for many years prior – as both a volunteer and board member of the Cornell Hotel Society (CHS) Collegiate Chapter – but this was the first time attending that I was integrally involved as a member of the CHS NYC Professional Chapter, a role that I relished. Along with the three official planners of the event – all very familiar, friendly classmates of mine – we managed and coordinated what I contend is the networking event of the year for New York City-based Hotelies. It was a tremendously fun time, and I enjoyed reconnecting not only with familiar professors, staff, and classmates from school, but equally enjoyed forging new relationships with other prominent alumni in the New York City area.
This Manhattan mention is significant as it brings me to my most exciting piece of news: come December 1st, I will be a permanent resident of New York City. As many of my previous posts have matter-of-factly alluded to, I’ve been living in Boston (in my parents house) since I left my position with Fairmont Southampton, Bermuda in late September. It has been an enjoyable time getting to know the city that I never really knew, and I’ve been lucky to frequent many notable Beantown locales – including the Boston Public Library for freelancing sessions, the Lenox Hotel for the best public restrooms in the city (I kid you not, and thank you @BostonTweet), and, of course, The Fairmont Copley Plaza, to visit both The PR Palace (the office a few of my best Fairmont friends share) and The Oak Bar for a delicious Express Lunch of chateaubriand, lobster bisque, and a classic old-fashioned Mad Men-style. I’ve also been fortunate to get closer to several Boston-based Cornellians (like my really good friend Justine Avila) due to fun nights out and family dinners.
In spite of my Boston fun, it has been a challenge trying to maintain a consistent level of stimulation in this place, as trips to the library, weekly dinners out, and daily visits to the local Planet Fitness can only satisfy a gent so much. As fate would have it, the weekend of the Hotel Show offered me an opportunity that – quite honestly – has been the ‘break’ I’ve been looking for: an immediate chance to live in Manhattan, in a great, affordably-priced Upper East Side apartment,
with some fantastic fraternity buddies from college. And so it goes, I will be relocating, in one weeks-time to the city – without a permanent, full-time job lined up – but with lots of ambition, a network of professionals to connect with, multiple freelancing roles already lined up, and a revitalized sense of purpose that I haven’t felt in months.
In addition to the permanent job application process – which, at the time of this writing, is ongoing yet moving along optimistically – the freelancing roles I mention above are the main reasons why I’ve been kept away from the blog for so long. One of the freelancing jobs I currently hold is a Social Media Strategist role for a newly re-launched social PR firm, catering to lifestyle and hospitality brands based in the city, called Collective Media Group, LLC, co-founded by a Hotelie alum, and good friend of mine, Stephanie Abrams. Steph was one of my key supporters during my summer struggles, and she is certainly provides me with consistent inspiration to this day, as I am addicted to her blog, Earth Laughs in Flowers. The second feather that I just added to my freelancing cap is for another Hotelie-initiated start-up called GiftHit, which another close Hotelie alum friend of mine introduced me to. For this company – which is essentially is a goods and services e-commerce platform that enables small businesses across the country to sell their featured products online, nation-wide for a marginal fee – I will serving as a leading Sales Representative, charged with bringing new businesses on board to the platform in the Boston market and various East Side Manhattan neighborhoods, as well as looking to recruit campus representatives in both markets to leverage word-of-mouth marketing about the soon-to-be-launching concept. Both of these freelance roles are very exciting to me, as I get the opportunity to not only work with small businesses and make an immediate impact on their marketing reach and effectiveness, but I also get to engage my tandem passions for hospitality marketing and sales.
Other ways I will be able to stay active within the sales and marketing space in New York is by renewing my leadership inclination – this time as an industry professional – for the Greater New York Chapter of Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI). As an undergraduate at Cornell University, I was Collegiate Chapter President of the organization for nearly three years and, as anyone close to me during university will attest to, the Chapter was both an integral passion and near obsession that defined my collegiate years. In my role on the leadership team for the HSMAI Greater New York Chapter, I will support both the Chapter’s Partner Relations efforts – working closely with our President to secure sponsorship support for events and functions – as well as the Marketing committee – assisting with various ad hoc social media and web-based initiatives that come up. I am tremendously excited about this opportunity to rejoin the organization in an active capacity once again and expect the experience to be both familiar and fortuitous.
Besides the professional benefits of my nearing move to Manhattan, there are so many personal advantages that the city is going to afford me. The city has the largest network of Cornell Hotelies in the world – a school that, if you haven’t noticed by now, I hold a deep affinity for – and is where all of my closest, non-Hotelie collegiate friends are also based. Moreover, I have an outstanding pair of cousins (aged ten and soon to be eight) and an extremely generous and caring aunt and uncle living only a stone’s throw away from the city in Montclair, NJ – whom I look forward to seeing with much greater frequency as I ease into my city dweller role. Finally, my side passion for running will also be looked after in my new locale, as my new apartment –which, coincidentally, is located directly across the street from Madonna’s luxurious compound on East 81st Street – is only 3 blocks east of Central Park, which is truly a runner’s paradise and offers a welcomed respite from the craziness that is NYC.
As I sign off from this post and get my stomach prepared for a traditional Thanksgiving feast of significant proportions later today, I have much to be thankful for, and am grateful for all of the hustle and bustle that has defined much of my past two weeks. For those that are itching for my next posts, there will be plenty of entertaining features to look forward to very soon, including: a music round-up review of some terrific new mainstream records from Rihanna, Mary J. Blige and Daughtry, a commentary on why Planet Fitness’ ‘judgment free zone’ slogan needs to be reevaluated, and a playful write-up on what I consider to be the best party booze-brunch experience in New York City at YOTEL New York called “Eat YO Brunch”. Happy Thanksgiving to all, and until next time…