"Nothing in life comes for free"
I grew up in middle-class family in Washington D.C. My mum raised me with the idea that if you want to have things, you need to work for it. I learned from an early age that nothing in life comes for free. At thirteen I started working after school at a petrol station as a cashier. When I turned 18, I applied for the United States Army and I became a paratrooper. The army taught me so many things but most of all it taught me how to grow from uncomfortable situations.
When my contract in the army ended, I started working as an auto mechanic. Every day on my commute to work, near my bus stop I would pass by a Marriott hotel. Inside the hotel was a shop where I would buy snacks. The hotel looked like a pleasant place to work so I applied for a job as an overnight desk agent and, to my surprise, I got hired. I really enjoyed working there and realised I wanted to stay in the hotel business. After a year, I left the Marriott and started with Kimpton Hotels. I worked really hard and ended up getting promoted. Ten years and many Kimpton roles later, I got a call to be the opening General Manager for our first property in Europe. This was a no brainer. I accepted the role and have lived in Amsterdam for over a year now.
I’m so proud of what we have accomplished here. I am most proud of maintaining the authenticity of the Kimpton brand while including the local Dutch culture. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my days in the army. Especially when I need to deal with complicated situations. There are a lot of differences between the army and running a hotel, but the discipline and respect are the same.