When I decided to go to the ORLA Hospitality Conference just over a month ago, I knew that I wanted to work in this industry. My journey through hospitality began with my love of cooking. This love eventually turned into a degree in food management, a subsequent job in catering, and my decision to attend the conference. I went to this event with no expectations other than the goal of kickstarting my career. While I did achieve what I set out to do, I did not expect to get such a warm welcome from the industry, and an opportunity to become the new Workforce Development Coordinator for the organization that made it all possible.
For a bit of background, I graduated from Oregon State University with a major in Food Systems Management this past June. In addition to being a student, I was a full-time catering manager for OSU’s Global Community Kitchen program in my final year of undergrad. I often call myself a catering manager because it was the easiest way to describe my work, however, what made my program unique is the integral role that the university students played in the catering process. We worked almost exclusively with student-planned events and included them in nearly every step of the food service process. This meant that in addition to running a full-service catering kitchen, I was often teaching students from scratch how to do things such as planning for a 1500-person dinner service. I learned many valuable lessons about building an effective team in my previous role that will help as I step into this new one.
Outside of my professional life, I am an avid distance runner, salsa dancer, and home chef. One of my favorite things to do is learn how to cook dishes from different cultures in addition to my own. I am half Cambodian, so I enjoy making food from that culture.
As I begin my career in workforce development for ORLA, I am looking forward to helping those who are trying to break into the hospitality space, just like I was only a couple of months ago. I also look forward to making an impact on both the industry and those who don't yet know just how great it is to work in it. | Ella Sturdevant
Want to learn more about how to get involved with our workforce development initiatives? Maybe volunteer for guest speaking opportunities, job shadows, participate in job/career fairs or offer experiential field trips? Contact Ella Sturdevant.
The Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF) team includes Courtney Smith, ProStart Manager, Ella Sturdevant, Workforce Development Coordinator, and Jason Brandt, President & CEO (ORLA) / Foundation Board Member.