You’re new to both MIT and LIDS – how have you found it so far?
I find it great! MIT is a big Institute but it feels like a small community because people are very nice and welcoming. They speak well about the Institute—they’ve been here 6, 10 ,15 plus years—which speaks volumes of the Institute and how well it treats its employees.
At LIDS I assist the director, Asu Ozdaglar, and oversee events within the lab. My favorite part about working here is the interactions with everybody and how there’s so much culture. Even within just the LIDS staff, there are so many people from different places around the world. I enjoy talking to them about where they’re from. When people talk about their background and culture they get animated and you really get to know more about them.
What did you do before you came to LIDS?
For ten years I worked at the Four Seasons. That was combined with six years in the Boston property and four years in D.C., mostly working on events. Both properties are very well established and extremely fast paced. You needed to think quick on your feet while not compromising the guest’s overall experience, seeing everything as a whole. It was exciting to work with celebrities, moguls, politicians and even the United States Secret Service.
How did you find the transition from hospitality to academia?
Everything in the hospitality world is so fast paced that coming here is a breath of fresh air—total night and day. Even the office setting itself is so quiet. I’m used to being in an open setting where everybody has free range of every cubicle. There really was no emailing – you’d just shout over the cube to ask a question. Here it is sometimes quite fast-paced, as well. But there are also events, like the symposium for Alan Willsky, or the LIDS Student Conference, that are planned ahead of time.
You have a lot of events experience – do you think you want to keep doing that kind of work long-term?
I would like to stay working with events—I get the idea of it and I find it fun. In event planning you can’t avoid the paperwork but what I really enjoy is seeing the event itself. So, maybe being the person who oversees and executes events. I really enjoyed building relationships being face to face with clients when I worked at the hotel. I’ve worked in different fields (catering, fashion, payroll, hospitality). Life presents new opportunities along the way. I certainly don’t rule anything out.
What do you do when you’re not at the office?
I love to travel! That’s one of my biggest passions. Aside from coming home to be with family, that was one of the big reasons why I moved back to Massachusetts. I was spending all my vacation time coming back here to see friends and family. I felt as though I was not allowing myself the opportunity to explore what the world has to offer. Now I plan to take at least 4-5 trips a year.
Do you have a favorite trip you’ve taken?
I have two favorite trips. One: Paris, because it’s Paris, enough said. Two: I would say Mexico. I went to Punta Mita, which is on the Western side of Mexico. It was one of the best, most relaxing vacations I’ve had in a long time and the food was just out of this world.