Patricia Gill ’07

gillphotoHometown: Alexandria, VA

Current Location: Washington DC

Why did you choose SHA?

In high school, I discovered a passion for planning events, like our prom. This passion inspired, led me to explore the hospitality industry. After many high school events, I established a goal: to plan events at a beach resort, and ultimately become an Event Director. I decided on Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration because I knew that its ideal location, the diverse curriculum and international programs could help me achieve my goals.

What are some of your favorite BU memories?
My favorite BU moments include planning and attending the SHA Spring Formals (also where I met my husband /the father of our son!). I’ll never forget playing the lead role in Wandering Mind’s “Closer” and playing Intramural softball in the rain. I loved being able to hear the Red Sox win the World Series from Warren Towers.

What was your first full-time job? How did you end up in your current position?
I was offered my first full time job through SHA’s connections with Starwood. I moved to Maui, where I started my hospitality career as a Management Trainee in the Rooms Division at the Westin Maui Resort and Spa. After being a Guest Relations Manager, I trained in the Catering and Conference Services department where I was promoted to a Catering Sales and Conference Services Manager/Weddings Specialist. After nearly 3 years in Hawaii and getting engaged, my (now) husband and I moved back to the East Coast where I became a Catering Sales Manager at the Park Hyatt Washington. After one year there, I longed to go back to servicing events, so I then moved over to the W Washington DC hotel as a Senior Conference Services Manager where I have been for the past 2.5 years. After several years working in the hotels, and having our new baby boy, I decided it was time to pursue other opportunities. Recently, I accepted a new job as the Director of Special Events at the Make-A-Wish Foundation, for the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Please describe your current role. How did your SHA education impact your career?
As The Director of Special Events for Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic I strategically plan and implement all special and fundraising events for the chapter. I am responsible for producing, executing and managing all aspects of our special events.

My SHA education began its impact on me the moment I walked into Professor Oshins’ HF100 Class. I knew, because of that class, that I was where I needed to be to fulfill my aspirations. In SHA, through summer internships, I gained crucial hands-on experience, from working the front desk of the Winnetu Resort in Martha’s Vineyard, to an Event Internship at the Starlight Children’s Foundation in Sydney, Australia. I became a leader and skilled presenter (both attributes required in my current position) during my time as SHAGOV President and group projects within SHA’s rigorous curriculum. I also acquired the knowledge and passion I now need for food and beverage through SHAs culinary and wine courses.

SHA provided me with a strong hospitality foundation and important relationships that I needed to start my career, but more importantly it gave me the confidence and enthusiasm I needed to excel it to where I am today.

Any advice for current and prospective students?
Cherish and nurture the relationships and connections you establish early on and throughout your career. Don’t pass up the opportunity to inspire those just starting out, striving to learn. Embrace change, even if it puts you outside of your comfort zone; this is the best way to develop personally and professionally. Don’t put pressure on yourself to decide what you are supposed to do early on; just maintain a positive attitude and flexible outlook towards the challenges that will undoubtedly come your way. Never be afraid to ask questions.