Pupil turns lodge internship into men and women venture


By Rick Vacek
GCU Information Bureau

Bekah Ritterling is passionate about people. She enjoys to interact with them and, in particular, to provide them. It is a trait that will provide her nicely in the hospitality industry.

In simple fact, it previously has.

Bekah Ritterling (remaining) impressed Executive Housekeeper Mandy Addison and her other co-staff with her operate at a Drury Inn in Kansas Town, Missouri, but two customers were so blown absent they emailed the corporation to categorical their gratitude.

Via a new partnership, Ritterling was one of 5 Grand Canyon College learners who interned this summer with Drury Resorts, rated Best in Visitor Pleasure amid Higher Midscale Hotel Chains for 16 yrs in a row by J.D. Ability.

It is a match created in hospitality heaven because of the sort of services the family-owned enterprise aims to present and the sort of students the Colangelo College or university of Business (CCOB) aims to generate. 

Learners like Ritterling, who worked at the Drury Inn in close proximity to the Kansas Metropolis, Missouri, airport. 1 day when she was doing work the front desk, she checked in a pair and then, as section of her regular duties, ongoing to make them feel at dwelling any time she saw them on the residence.

The outcome was this e-mail from the delighted guest:

“What an fantastic representative of the two your university and the Drury Inn firm. We have been so amazed with not only her character but also her experienced demeanor. I am in the business enterprise of corporate aviation, and purchaser provider is almost everything. If these are the form of pupils your college is graduating, their futures are incredibly vivid. Extremely well completed!” 

Ritterling’s recollection:

“I remember them so plainly. I would just go up to them, as I would with a whole lot of other company, and see how their working day was likely and get to know a minor bit more about them. They went into additional conversations about their career. I try to remember emotion so encouraged by them. They were wonderful.”

Dr. Jennifer Elfenbein

It perfectly frames why Ritterling, scheduled to comply with in her two brothers’ footsteps from their property in Pueblo, Colorado, and graduate from GCU in December 2022, switched to a hospitality management big immediately after wondering for the duration of large school that she would go into advertising. It is all about the individuals.

“I imagine it is brilliant that God designed us all so uniquely and otherwise,” she stated. “I’ve grown to appreciate helping develop memorable and pleasant, favourable experiences for individuals. That is variety of what I wake up contemplating. In advance of going in to operate, I’d be like, ‘God, use me in whatsoever way you see in shape. How can I produce an pleasant knowledge that individuals are likely to recall 10 yrs from now?’

“When they seem again, I want them to say, ‘I want to stay at the Drury Resorts mainly because they manufactured me come to feel particular and they designed me experience liked there even though they noticed loads of visitors on a every day foundation.’”

But to make the Drury possibility, Ritterling initially experienced to get to know Dr. Jennifer Elfenbein, CCOB’s Chair for Hospitality Administration. Right after just one particular course with Elfenbein as her instructor, Ritterling was all in on Drury.

“She taught us so considerably more, not only about the operations, but about the heart of hospitality, which genuinely acquired me passionate about heading to perform with Drury,” Ritterling said.

The friendship concerning CCOB Dean Dr. Randy Gibb and Drury govt Kevin Whitfield led to the partnership.

So she went to Elfenbein’s place of work during her freshman 12 months to talk about her objectives. Elfenbein’s response: “Knowing you, being aware of your ability established and being aware of how substantially you are relationally centered, Drury Motels would be the very best healthy for you.”

And Elfenbein wasn’t surprised when Ritterling received such a stunningly favourable evaluation from a visitor.

“She is so genuine. She’s just so delighted. That is her,” Elfenbein claimed. “She does not put on an act. In some cases we have to place on a experience when we’re in hospitality, primarily when we get difficult customers and company. But she is certainly good all the time.”

The Drury partnership grew out of the romantic relationship among Dr. Randy Gibb, the CCOB dean, and Kevin Whitfield, President at Drury Southwest, when they have been neighbors in San Antonio, Texas. They still communicate consistently, ordinarily in text messages sharing their passion for sporting activities – for Whitfield, that signifies San Antonio Spurs basketball.

“Randy and I go back a lengthy way,” Whitfield said. “If he will get behind some thing, he’s all in. Partnering with GCU has been a pure changeover for us. We’re excited about it, and we feel it will direct to extremely excellent issues in the potential.”

Claimed Gibb, “The partnership with Drury is the great illustration of who we are and the sort of businesses we collaborate with for our students. Jennifer’s mentoring and educating is certainly a Lopes Initial method – aiding our college students locate success. And Kevin is the best servant chief that our ‘ColangeLopes’ are blessed to be mastering from by way of their lodge lifestyle and hospitality. Love this … thrilled to do extra and expand this GCU-Drury partnership!”

Elfenbein’s thoughts about the partnership are just as strong.

“I seriously like the firm,” she said. “It is a loved ones-owned enterprise, which is so uncommon. I chat to my college students about how lots of distinctive manufacturers there are out there. You might be operating for a lodge with a administration firm, an ownership business, a franchise enterprise – it is just quite convoluted, exactly where this is vertically integrated.”

A different reason why it works: Drury is a good deal like GCU.

Olivia Harris observed her classroom function arrive to existence though working for Drury.

“Much like GCU is impressive as much as their instruction means and offerings and how they approach training, we are remarkably innovative in our method to hospitality,” Whitfield stated. “We’re possibly 1 of the most atypical hospitality corporations that you’ll run into. Getting a family members-owned business, our roots started out in building and gravitated into hospitality. But we have taken care of toes in the two pools all these many years.

“We construct our very own attributes. We layout them. We have our possess design groups. We even manufacture the cased goods that go in the rooms. We have formulated more than the decades a earth-course hospitality group, and they do a wonderful position of performing with our buyers and having care of them.”

Like Ritterling, the other GCU college students treasured their time with Drury this summer.

Olivia Harris, who worked at the Drury home in Chandler, observed her research in the hospitality system come to existence.

“It certainly was a massive help in finding out the diverse earnings aspects of a hotel,” she claimed. “When my GM would clarify diverse points to me, I had a fantastic plan what she was chatting about because of the lessons I experienced taken.

“It also assisted with doing distinctive group tasks and doing the job with a group. It assisted me prepare for unique work that I have had and just currently being adaptable. Jennifer showed me a good deal about how to deal with different predicaments.”

Amara Trudzinski was able to do her internship 15 minutes from her house in Arnold, Missouri.

Amara Trudzinski also was capable to apply what she uncovered in class when the common manager and assistant typical supervisor would consider her on residence walks and exhibit her profits studies at the Drury Inn in Fenton, Missouri, not much from her residence in a different St. Louis suburb, Arnold.

But even additional eye-opening was the over-all feel of the corporation.

“Everyone advised me, ‘It’s a spouse and children-owned business, it’s near-knit and you feel like aspect of a family,’” she reported. “Now that I’m doing the job there, it is like, ‘Wow, I comprehend what everybody meant mainly because I feel which is very accurate – all people I have labored with has been so type. You can explain to that they genuinely treatment about the buyer practical experience.”

Ritterling will be active on campus this slide as Assistant Director of the Commuter Functions workforce and Vice President of the Hospitality Club.

But she’ll be just as active off campus – she was provided a posture at the Drury Inn in Happy Valley. That suggests more possibilities to talk with friends and make them really feel welcome.

“My selection a person intention in life is to, to start with and foremost, serve the Lord and, quantity two, provide the people all over me,” she reported. “I think hospitality is the ideal mix to be equipped to do that as a occupation.”

The passion goes the two techniques. It helps make individuals passionate in their praise – and passionate about coming back again, way too.    

Make contact with Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].


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