Selene Gabriela Gonzalez didn’t always know that she wanted to make a living in hospitality. A recent recipient of the AMEX, Ecolab, Handlery Hotels, and Opening Doors scholarships given through the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF), Gonzalez discovered her passion for connecting with guests in hotels after she switched from a retail position to a front-desk agent in a boutique property in Yountville, California.
“When I was training, I completely fell in love with it. I got to talk to different people, which I love since I am a very outgoing person,” Gonzalez tells LODGING. “I later saw that I can make a huge impact on people just by being who I am and taking those little steps to create really nice memories and moments for my guests that they can later cherish and look back on.”
Prior to her first position in hospitality, Gonzalez hadn’t felt an affinity or ambition for a specific career path. When only a few weeks into her first semester at a junior college in Napa, she learned that her 7-year-old sister had passed away. “With that, my whole life changed,” Gonzalez says. “I didn’t really see a reason for me to do anything. I didn’t have any goals anymore.”
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