Meet the Manager: Jamie Couzens

Jamie (in maroon) pictured here with members of our Chicago team at a recent coffee talk.

Jamie (in maroon) pictured here with members of our Chicago team at a recent coffee talk.

Since joining our team nearly two years ago, Jamie has made her mark managing both our Chicago and Baltimore offices! Stationed in Chicago, Jamie has been instrumental in the company opening up our first Midwest office. Her introduction on this blog is long overdue! Meet Jamie here!

1. How long have you been working with At Your Service? Nearly two years ago!

2. Where did you grow up? Attica, Michigan

3. What’s your Alma Mater? Michigan State University, home to the Spartans

4. If you had to work in any other industry, which would it be and why? I would own my own business...Bed & Breakfast or a Used Bookstore with a Café inside!

5. What attracted you to the hospitality industry? I love making other people happy. Adding little touches and personalizing their experiences.

6. What is your favorite part of working with At Your Service? Seeing an event from start to finish when it comes to staffing. Feeling rewarded when the client emails or calls you to say that everyone was excellent!

7. What do you do outside of work? Travel! I love taking solo trips in far away countries.

8. Which is your favorite AYS location to visit? DC...probably because I trained there and it feels like my second AYS home!

9. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? My next trip is going to be to Spain or Croatia. I want to soak up the sun and ocean in both locations and the History!

10. What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day of work? Glass of wine and some DVR or cooking/baking my meals for the week.

11. What advice would you give a new AYS manager? To not stress the small stuff. Things are going to go wrong, but it is how you recover and handle it that counts!

12. What advice would you give to a new field staff member? Follow the motto...Attitude is everything. Our clients are looking for people that are professional, kind and willing to go above and beyond.

To work with Jamie and our Chicago and Baltimore teams, click here.

Posted on May 30, 2019 .

AYS On the Earth: How We Are Environmentally Friendly In the Workplace

Recently, our teams across the country celebrated Earth Day by discussing what each of us do to be environmentally friendly at work. Take a look at a few easy ways we at AYS take care of the Earth and share with us in the comments what you do to be more environmentally friendly in your own life!

  1. Use metal straws - Our Massachusetts and DC teams both have replaced their plastic straws with reusable metal ones with the goal of eliminating unnecessary waste and, of course, save the sea turtles!

  2. Walk to work - Our DC team likes to walk to work because not only is it good for our health but doing so can reduce our carbon footprint as well as air pollution!

  3. Sip on a Swell - Goodbye plastic water bottles, hello reusable water jugs! Our managers across all of our offices are rocking reusable water bottles like Swells or Britas instead of old fashion Poland Springs in an effort to use less plastic.

In addition to the above, other ways our team mentioned they try to be environmentally friendly are by eating less meat, using recyclable shopping bags and conserving water! What do you and your co-workers do to be more environmentally friendly at work? Head to the comments and let us know!

Happy Thanksgiving!

In honor of Thanksgiving, we are reflecting on what we are thankful for this year! From avocados to awesome co-workers, our team is full of gratitude this holiday season! Check out what we’re reflecting on below and share what you’re thankful for in the comments!

“I am thankful for my health and the ability to go to a doctor if I need to. It is something many people take for granted. This year in particular I’ve encounter more loved ones in my life become sick and without the access to healthcare I don’t think I’d still have them here.” - Cait

“Working for a company that allows me to work hard but also play hard.  Having the support of my team, my fellow Account Managers and Directors!” - Jamie

“I’m grateful for so much that I literally cannot pick one so here it goes: my family, my health, my friends, avocados, coffee, my coworkers, my height, being able to be independent, and bagels. But, if I need to pick one, I’d go with coffee! Hahaha!” - Allison

“I am grateful for my coworkers and for being able to make a difference everyday.” - Sue

“There is so much to be thankful for. This year is a big blessing to me. A lot of this happened. Being on this team, experiencing and learning a lot of things in life and work. Above all, I am thankful for the gift of family, gift of love and friendship.” - Agatha

“As cliché as it is I am of course grateful for the people in my life. From my loving family, to my awesome friends and my supportive coworkers – I really feel like I’m surrounded by great people every day and for that, I am extremely thankful!” - Laura

“I am thankful for my amazing and supportive team here at AYS! As I head out on maternity leave, I can’t help but reflect on the incredibly hard working and dedicated team I leave behind for the next few months. Because of their commitment to doing great work, I am able to spend the next few months experiencing motherhood for the first time without worrying about work. For that, and for my new little family to be, I am so grateful!” - Karen

“Thankful for family-my given family and my work family!” - Jeanine

“I’m extremely thankful to be surrounded by such talented and passionate people.” - Mark

“I am thankful for a year of transitions! New jobs, new opportunities, and new friends!” - Amy

Posted on November 21, 2018 .

Meet the Team Member: Gwen Stephens, AYS NYC

What do we look for when we hire? Our NYC interviewer, Gwen Stephens, reveals what it takes to be a member of the At Your Service Team!

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1. How long have you been working with us, Gwen? I began in the field in September 2016 and became the New York City Hiring Coordinator in March of this year.

2. As the hiring coordinator what do you do? I review all the applications and schedule interviews with those that seem to have potential. After that I conduct daily in person interviews, send offer letters and handle all hiring paperwork.

3. What do you look for when you decide to hire someone? I really believe in our motto: Attitude is everything. You do not need to have a lot of experience but you do have to be willing to learn, be open to feedback, and be able to work well with others. Being on time and having all required documents also leaves a positive impression.

4. What experience did you have before working for At Your Service? I had worked in retail and hospitals previous to my time here. It’s funny to think now but when I was hired I never had held a tray in my life! I love that AYS is willing to give people with no experience a chance if they have the right attitude! You truly build your own brand - when I applied for the hiring coordinator job I had never met the account managers as they were new. BUT, they knew who I was from the feedback clients and team leaders had given them, and that’s what gave me the opportunity to be here today.

5. What advice would you give to a new hire? No matter how small you feel the job you are assigned at a specific event is, do your best. It did not matter what I did I wanted to be proud of my work and clients saw that and offered me more opportunities. Be open to learning new things and watch others that are experienced to see how they do such a great job.

6. What is your favorite experience so far with At Your Service? We had the head of one of our client companies attend a lunch. It was a very hectic high stress day and everyone just worked together and jumped in. The client, the event planner, the in house staff, my coworkers and I stayed positive and really came together as one team! After the client emailed us how flawless the VIP felt our event went. Knowing I played a part in something that big was very rewarding.

7. How do you unwind after a long day? I like to plan events for my loved ones, picking out food and décor. I also love shopping and am a big foodie. I am going to Japan this year and can’t wait!

To become a part of AYS and have an opportunity to meet with Gwen and our other great hiring coordinators click here.

Posted on October 25, 2018 .

Handling Hospitality with CARE

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Connect. Anticipate. Respect. Exceed. In her recent presentation on “Achieving Hospitality Excellence” with our management team, Shelley Dickinson identified these four actions (CARE) as a necessity in providing a high-quality hospitality experience.

  • Connect. As we’ve discussed earlier in this blog series, connecting on a personal level with your clients is the best way to form a lasting loyalty. Reading and feeding their signs while interacting with them makes you an indispensable part of their experience – and guarantees that you will be their go to for providing hospitality services to them in the future.

  • Anticipate. Anticipating client needs is an incredible way to provide an excellent hospitality experience for your client. To know what someone may need before they need it ensures that they are feeling heard. Those non-verbal cues that guests share saying “make me feel important” are addressed when you give them something they want before they even have to ask for it.

  • Respect. Showing respect for not only your clients but your staff, too, allows you to create a positive vibe that will be felt throughout your event. By showing respect for your staff, you put them in the mindset to pay it forward to your clients. If they know you respect them then they will respect the guests at your event – ensuring the best experience for everyone involved.

  • Exceed. Exceeding client expectations by going above and beyond takes loyal clients and turns them into referring clients. Clients whose needs are met come back again to work with you. Clients whose needs are exceeded bring their friends to work with you as well. Building your business through referrals is akin to getting paid interest on your savings account – it’s a reward for the job you were doing anyway.

“The road to success is paved with mistakes well handled.” As Shelley closed out her presentation, she shared this with us and as we close out this blog series, we wanted to share this with you. In hospitality, as is in life, how you handle issues often is a better reflection of who you are and the service you provide than anything else. Handling situations with CARE will ensure future success.

Do you use CARE in hospitality? Share with us how in the comments below and you may be featured in an upcoming post!

CARE with us! Contact us here.

Posted on October 18, 2018 .

Connecting the Dots in Hospitality

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To kick off Shelley Dickinson’s “Achieving Hospitality Excellence” presentation at the AYS Annual Summer Retreat, our team played a game that involved us introducing ourselves by connecting an experience we’ve had or something we have in common with the colleague that had spoken before us. This, called “Connecting the Dots,” quickly proved to be a great way to learn more about each other while also emboldening the idea that there are more things that make us similar than that make us different. To apply this to our careers in hospitality, Shelley explained that connecting the dots is a wonderful way to get to know a staff member or a client outside of the traditional employer/employee or business/client relationship. This not only humanizes us to the staff member or client, but it reminds us that they are people too.

So, how can we connect the dots in our day to day work lives?

  • At a networking event: When being introduced to new people, listen closely when they say what they do or where they are from to find something you have in common with them. They do Catering at Assumption College? Wow, you went to a Assumption – or you’re from the Worcester area! Making these connections will allow the conversation to flow in a more memorable way than just exchanging business cards.

  • With a staff member: When a staff member calls in to change their schedule and shares it’s because their kid had a last minute activity come up, ask them about their kids and what activities they’re into. Maybe you played soccer, too, when you were a kid or loved how your mom never missed your games. By taking a moment to treat the staff member kindly as opposed to just reworking their schedule, you make an impression with them that they will remember the next time you need their help with a shift.

The depth of bond formed by making these simple connections in everyday life allows us to see each other as more than just transactions – building a loyalty and cementing a partnership that will be mutually successful for both parties for years to come. Whether your ultimate goal be to get a staff member to work a shift, a client to give you more work or a stranger at a networking event to make an important introduction for you, connecting the dots with them will certainly give you a leg up on achieving your end result – and also will go a long way in forming lasting relationships as well!

Do you “Connect the Dots” in your everyday professional life? Share with us how in the comments below and you may be featured in an upcoming post!

Connect the Dots with us! Contact us here.

Posted on September 14, 2018 .

Reading & Feeding Signs: The 5 As in Hospitality

In her recent presentation on “Achieving Hospitality Excellence” with our management team, Shelley Dickinson spoke about how important it is to read and feed signs in hospitality. When a situation arises on site that requires your attention, making your client feel important while defusing the situation should be your number one priority. To do so, you must read and feed signs using the 5 As:

  • Acknowledge to your client that a problem has arisen

  • Apologize for the inconvenience or discomfort the client has been caused because of the problem

  • Ask what action you can take to resolve the problem in a manner they feel is fair

  • Act to provide a resolution for them that both you and the client feel is appropriate

  • Assess what happened to cause the problem in the first place to ensure it does not happen again

Taking the time to acknowledge and apologize feeds the signs of discomfort the client is showing you. Asking the client what action you could take to solve the problem before acting with a solution makes the client feel heard as well as allows you to temper your response. Sometimes, we offer more than is required to resolve the problem. Stopping to ask the client’s opinion before you take action can allow you to respond appropriately for both you and the client. Assessing the situation once a resolution has occurred rather than before the resolution occurs allows you time to properly review what happened, thus ensuring it is unlikely to help again.

Do you use the 5 As when handling client problems? Share with us how in the comments below and you may be featured in an upcoming post!

Achieve hospitality excellence alongside our team. Contact us here.

Posted on August 30, 2018 .

Achieving Hospitality Excellence

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At the Annual AYS Summer Retreat this July, our management team had the pleasure of hearing Shelley Dickinson, CxRA Service Director, speak on “Achieving Hospitality Excellence.” Shelley’s career in hospitality includes a career cultivated at Sofitel, The Ritz Carlton and, now, Catering by Restaurant Associates in Washington DC, Philadelphia and Delaware. During her presentation, Shelley spoke on the concept that hospitality excellence is not just achieved in the event space setting – it is achieved through our relationships with our clients, staff and co-workers. As a customer, you know you have experienced hospitality excellence when you feel special, seen and like the other person “gets you.” As a manager, you know we have provided hospitality excellence when we have return customers, new clients who have heard about us through word of mouth and, of course, increases in revenue. By treating our customers as we enjoy being treating as customers, we achieve hospitality excellence.

Look out for our Hospitality Excellence blog series over the next few months, as we do a deep dive into the concepts Shelley covered with our team during her presentation. How do you and your team achieve hospitality excellence? Share with us in the comments below and you may be featured in an upcoming post!

Achieve hospitality excellence alongside our team. Contact us here.

Posted on August 16, 2018 .

Meet the Manager: Agatha, AYS Flex Manager

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Meet the newest member of the AYS team - Agatha! Agatha joined our team earlier this season as our first flex manager - she provides assistance to all of our markets. Learn more about her here!

1. How long have you been working with At Your Service? Just completed three months!

2. Where did you grow up?  I grew up in the Philippines.

3. What’s your Alma Mater? I went to school for hospitality in the Philippines. I then entered a visa program to work in country clubs in Long Island which helped me gain hands on experience. I quickly moved up to a management role. and came to AYS afterward.

4. If you had to work in any other industry, which would it be and why? I love kids so I would be involved in education.

5. What attracted you to the hospitality industry? I love taking care of people, happy to be of service. Knowing I can make a difference in someone’s day is so great. I met At Your Service team members when they worked at my most recent country club and they made an impression on me. I love being able to do that for others.

6. What is your favorite part of working with At Your Service? I enjoy different types of people. Every day I learn something new. You truly feel a connection with your coworkers, it’s like a big family!

7. What do you do outside of work? I like to go out for drinks, go to the gym and socialize with friends. I recently purchased a MoviePass and am looking forward to staying cool in summer at the movies. My favorite movies are Sci-Fi and Rom-Com!.

8. Which is your favorite AYS location to visit? I would love to go visit Chicago. I would love to explore the city and experience the Midwest culture.

9. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Japan. The disciplined culture, the tech savvy atmosphere and of course the legit sushi all intrigue me! 

10. What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day of work?  Best things would be a glass of wine, my husband’s company, and my feet up.

11. What advice would you give a new AYS manager?  Be open minded, take time to learn, and BE patient!

12. As a flex manager, you have a unique role. What are the most rewarding and hardest part contributing to multiple offices? I enjoy learning each manager’s technique. I get to work very closely with the other managers and learn from them. 

13. What advice would you give to a new field staff member? Be open to any changes and try different locations to learn more.

Posted on July 6, 2018 .

Meet the Manager: Allison, AYS DC

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1.) How long have you been working with At Your Service?  Almost 3 months! 
2.) Where did you grow up? Potomac, Maryland
3.) What’s your Alma Mater? New England College
4.) If you had to work in any other industry, which would it be and why? Sports industry.  I’ve grown up playing sports and think it would be fun to be around that while working!
5.) What attracted you to the hospitality industry? I love helping people!  It’s such a great feeling when someone can count on you to get things done. It's definitely a rewarding industry to be in.
6.) What’s your favorite part of working with At Your Service? Clients!  We have some awesome clients that are great to work with.  I also love my coworkers.  We work as a team to get things done!
7. )  What do you do outside of work?  I love going out with friends and exploring my city!  Traveling and going to the beach is also fun to do in the summer when it’s warm outside.  Going to DC games are always a ton of fun; Redskins, Nationals, Capitals and Wizards, definitely a big fan!  I also love getting together with my family since they are so close!
8.) Which is your favorite AYS location to visit? I would love to go visit Boston.  I went to school in New England and the area is awesome! 
9.) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Greece.  It looks beautiful!!  I would definitely love to explore the area and eat as much food as possible! 
10.) What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day of work? After a long day of work, I will either go home and sit on my couch or meet up with some friends for happy hour.  There are a ton of fun places in DC!
 

Posted on June 14, 2018 .