My Journey Upward: Hard Work Pays Off in Tourism

“I was 16 years old, living on the 700 block of 24th street. It was time for my first summer job, and I loved to clean so I applied at the Comfort Inn on 28th Street & Pacific (now a La Quinta). They hired me as a front desk agent & that summer job turned into a lifetime career.

The next summer I worked at the desk at the Holiday Inn on 21st and also work in the restaurant at the Holiday Inn 39th. I would help in banquets when needed. I was a hard worker and willing to help any department when needed. I was rewarded with promotions and responsibilities much earlier than friends my age. At age 21, I was an Assistant General Manager (AGM) at Holiday Inn 21st and was offered a Food and Beverage Director job that same year at the Holiday Inn 39th. I stayed as AGM as I felt I was better suited there.

Later I decided to shift my career path from operations to sales. I started in Sales at the Ramada on 57th (now a Wyndham). I was sales coordinator for two years and was promoted to sales manager. With sales, I have been given the opportunity to travel and see places I would have never seen. I have met people as clients and now they are my friends. I have learned so much and continue to learn everyday as this industry is always evolving. I am paid fairly and can see the ocean from my workplace. I would say tourism has made me in the person I am today and I wouldn’t change thing.

Tourism supports so many jobs (and people) in our city…starting at the airport or car rentals, the dining, the shopping, the lodging, services (like spa or activities). That revenue helps our city grow which also gives us locals things to do all year round. How lucky are we? It is a win-win for locals & visitors!”

Libby Ross, Director of Sales, Hyatt House Virginia Beach Oceanfront