Today we’d like to introduce you to Jane Mclean.
Hi Jane, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I grew up outside of Pittsburgh in the Greensburg/Latrobe area. I started working at a small Inn during High School. I started in the front of the house but took a liking to cook. The Chef at the time was a great guy and took me under his wing. He was a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and I thought that was the greatest thing! A school where you cook and eat all day! I decided to apply, and the next thing I knew, I was packing for Hyde Park, NY. My time at the CIA was one of the most fulfilling times of my life. I learned so much in those two short years and made some of the best friends of my life! Explaining to my conventional parents that I was doing something out of the box was a bit intimidating. My father said to me, “you will work when everyone else plays.” I had such passion for the industry that I didn’t care. He went on to brag about my whereabouts for many years to come. He and I made a deal that I would go on to get my Bachelor’s Degree once I got my AOS from the Culinary. I did just that and graduated from Florida International University two years later with a degree in Hospitality Management. That was the only school at the time that took all my credits.
Following graduation from FIU, I took a job with Hyatt Hotels in the Corporate Management Training Program and stayed in Miami. Once finished, I became the Restuarant Manager of their three meal a day outlet and I certainly worked when everyone else played. After visiting a dear friend from the CIA who had moved to Orlando, I interviewed for a position at the Walt Disney World Swan, which was opening at Disney and being managed by Westin. I took the job and was part of the opening Food and Beverage Team. I held various positions at that Hotel, Beverage Manager, Banquet Captain, Catering Manager and later became the Assistant Director of Catering and Convention Services. The best thing about my days at the WDWS, I met my husband of 26 years and we had our Wedding at the hotel. Larry and I later had identical twin girls, and I left the hotel on their first birthday.
I had the pleasure of being home with them for 14 years, another very fulfilling time in my life. When the recession hit and Larry’s business was affected, I heard from a dear friend about a new Hilton/Waldorf Bonnet Creek position. I took a position back in Catering, this time working the social market. For a girl that loves to accessorize and make things pretty, this seemed the perfect fit for me. I had an amazing General Manager who taught me a lot about selling and working in a Luxury property. He was a gem! I struggled with having two girls in high school and having a one hour commute each way. When I heard about a new Hotel opening less than ten minutes from my house, I decided to check it out. I landed the position of Director of Catering and was part of the opening Team. It was a very tough decision, leaving an amazing GM and a beautiful Hotel. I thought it was the best thing for my family and got lucky with another amazing GM and a beautiful Hotel. I guess you could say I went back to my roots, which was a small Inn and a great small town!
I have been at The Alfond Inn for almost eight years now. Another fulfilling period of my life. It’s a very social hotel, which is what I have grown to love! I have met and worked with some of the best in town, making memories for our clients to cherish for many years to come. The Alfond Is a unique property. It showcases The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art, which is part of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College. We are not only a Hotel but an Art Museum as well. The best part of our story is, net operating income from the Inn is directed to The Alfond Scholars program, Rollins Premier Scholarship Fund. It’s the most wonderful story to tell when I’m selling the hotel.
We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There is always struggles when planning an event. Never let them see you sweat and always surround yourself with great Vendors. What happens in the back of the house stays in the back of the house. Once you are on the floor, never let a client know the struggles. Just fix it and SMILE!
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
We are unique in that we a small hotel, unlike alot of the much larger hotels in the area. I tell my clients that since we normally do one event at a time, our team puts all their focus on the one event. It makes it really personal. We try and do unique things to make it special and memorable for every guest. Many of our associates have been at the hotel since the beginning, and after 7+ years, we get each other. We have a very strong Wedding business, which is probably what I’m most proud of, professionally. We really weren’t sure about our place in the market when we opened, and we quickly became very sought after destination. We do close to 75 Weddings a year, some big, some small.
The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
Yes! Small Weddings are beautiful, loving, intimate and very special. Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by their immediate family in a small beautiful setting on your wedding day. Since early June, they have been very popular and all my couples have loved their experience in the end. You can always have a party later! For now, everyone must stay safe!
- Intimate Weddings for 10 or less begninng at $1,000.00++
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://thealfondinn.com
- Instagram: @alfondinnwedding
- Facebook: The Alfond Inn
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