#Powerofajob: Hospitality industry veteran highlights his path from entry-level to executive team

Happy Workforce Wednesday and Happy Hospitality Month!

As partners in Washington state’s WorkSource system and the American Job Center Network, the Employment Security Department helps people – unemployed or not – find new jobs and learn new skills. We help them experience the life-changing Power of a Job.

This week’s Power of a Job story features Chad Pearson. Chad now works for the Employment Security Department after 20 years in the hospitality industry. Starting as a dishwasher and promoting all the way to director of sales and marketing, Chad’s career illustrates why the hospitality industry offers so many opportunities for so many people.

Here’s Chad’s story:

My first job at age 16 was at John’s Breakfast, Burgers and Pies as a dishwasher. Now, it doesn’t seem like much, but it gave me a taste for the industry that I would stick with for many years.

When I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to be part of it. I went to Washington State University and studied hotel and restaurant administration. I worked as a catering houseman and then as a night auditor for experience.

When I graduated, I worked as a desk clerk at an airport hotel, where I was also a bellman and a shuttle van driver. Soon, I was promoted to desk supervisor and held that role for the next couple of years. I moved up again and became the operations manager before I found my true calling in sales.

The next year, I was promoted to the sales office as an account manager, selling convention and meeting room space to different conference groups. My job was to fill the hotel and add revenue. It also allowed me to continue my love of working with people, getting to know them and their businesses.

I worked for a large hotel chain with many locations across the country. So, in my late 20s, I chose to move to Los Angeles to be a revenue manager. I set prices and strategies for the hotels in the area. It was a great introduction to the business side of the industry. After a year and a half, I realized I missed sales. I moved back into sales for the same hotel chain. I traveled to the East Coast four times a year to meet with customers and even took a group to Aruba.

Soon, a new opportunity with the same company came up in Long Beach, Calif. This large convention-based hotel taught me about conventions and events. Within a couple of years, I promoted to sales leader and eventually, director of sales and marketing. All of these 10-plus jobs were for the same organization!

In Long Beach, I was a member of the hotel’s executive leadership team and learned how to work with owners and other leaders. My career had spanned from catering houseman all the way to director of sales and marketing for one company!

After a while, the great Northwest called me back, and I became director of sales and marketing for a vacation resort in Olympia: another new learning experience for me.

Because of my background, another opportunity presented itself. I became the marketing and outreach manager for the SharedWork Program at Employment Security. My skills from hospitality transferred well to this job, where I needed to reach different audiences, present to groups and tell them about this business friendly program.

From dishwasher to director of sales and marketing to communications: I’ve had a long and fulfilling career. I encourage you to go to WAHospitalityCareers.com or WorkSourceWA.com and click on the Spotlights tab to view the great reasons to join the hospitality industry.

I look forward to seeing you grow in hospitality.

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