A Chat With Katherine Holt, Manager of Ravello at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World

Assignment 5 in the interviewing class focused on putting together and conducting an informational interview with an employer.  For my interview I set it up as if I was applying for a job.  Then I in turn asked some questions in response to the questions and information provided.  Below is my report.

The Four Seasons is one of the top luxury resort chains in the world.  One may ask what would be expected of someone who works in one of these beautiful hotels?  I sat down with Katherine Holt, Manager of Ravello, a restaurant at The Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World to find out.

Every Thursday and Saturday I travel to the Four Seasons Resort with Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy to greet guests at Ravello.  This partnership between Four Seasons and Walt Disney World is how I met Holt.

I approached this interview as a sort of mix between a job interview and an informational interview.  Katherine asked me some questions as if she were looking to hire me to a host position at the restaurant.  She also gave me lots of information about what would be expected of me not only as a member of her team, but as a member of the bigger picture that is Four Seasons.  Then I asked a couple of questions of her based on information I had gathered about the resort itself.

In preparation for this meeting I browsed around the website for the resort, looked at their current job postings, and read some news articles about the luxurious offerings at this year old property.

Katherine and I set a 10:30 meeting time for Monday, July 13, 2015 at the restaurant.  It was great to learn more about the location while immersed in its atmosphere.

A lot of questions that were mentioned in the readings for this week were asked by both Katherine and me.

Top Questions – By Katherine Holt

The very first question she asked me was,

What do you know about the Four Seasons?

I was able to share the knowledge I had obtained about the resort recently celebrating its one year anniversary.  Also I spoke about amenities, such as daily spa offerings, the various restaurants, the areas for children and teens, and many other luxurious activities.

Do you have any food and beverage experience?

Luckily for me I do.  This helped the conversation a lot.  My dad once owned a restaurant, I worked in one in college, and I also worked front desk at a luxury hotel for a short time.

What does “intuitive service” mean to you?

Turns out I knew the answer to this and didn’t know it.  Basically it is anticipating the needs of the guests and then exceeding those expectations.

Top Questions – By Me

What are some things you look at when first sitting down with a potential employee?

Holt’s immediate answer was how someone is dressed.  Particularly when it comes to coming to the Four Seasons.  She said that sometimes even if the interview went well she may have still had a bad first impression.  A sense that they didn’t care enough about it to dress well, knowing the caliber of the Four Seasons.

What did you gain in experience to get to the position you’re in today?

Holt began to glow when I asked about this.  She went to school for fashion but got into the food and beverage business after that.  She began working as a bartender and when she was promoted to management she learned how to multitask even more and be completely aware of everything that was happening in her restaurant.  She really enjoyed talking about her experiences and how she got to the position she was in.  She mentioned how she likes when people ask about this.  She also says it shows promise of longevity with an employee when they also ask about other opportunities they could strive for within the company.  Four Seasons likes to promote from within.  She said sometimes she doesn’t always look at the skill set as much as the person and their desire to develop and sell the Four Seasons’ product.  What is that product?  Holt immediately responds with “service.”

– The Four Seasons Orlando resort is the largest Four Seasons property in the world.

– It took 15 years of planning and partnering with Walt Disney World to get the resort built.

– When applying for a job with this company you go through a series of interviews versus one interview and then hiring or not hiring.  The first interview is more of a personality interview to see if you fit the attitude of service that the Four Seasons expects.  The second interview is more of a skills interview to see what skills you may possess that would benefit you and what you would need to learn.  A third meeting would be with HR on pay, benefits, etc.. which leads to a job offer letter.  They look to make sure that you are a perfect fit.

– If that manager doesn’t see you fit for the specific position you are looking at but thinks you should work with Four Seasons they will refer you to another area where you may be a better fit.  When they find a good person they want to help them to succeed.

What do you know and love about Four Seasons properties?  Share with me in the comments.

27

Today is my 27th birthday! I’m headed to NYC for a crazy 11018577_1022140181154297_5266576787482588987_nthree day excursion with my Mama who has never been.  Should be quite an experience.  She hasn’t even been on a plane in about thirty years.  We will see how that goes.  I guarantee it will be entertaining.  Look for videos hopefully.

I am excited about the upcoming year which I am calling 27.  What I’m most looking forward to is learning.  27 is gonna be all about that!

I will have a lot of changes coming my way this year but I am super excited about them and what the future holds.  Stay tuned!!

Theft in San Francisco – “Hot Pursuit” with Gio Benitez – 20/20

Assignment 4 in my interviewing class was to “reverse-engineer” a news story.  The purpose of this assignment was to research how journalists obtain information.  I chose a “Hot Pursuit” episode of 20/20 in which Gio Benitez investigates theft issues in San Francisco.  Below is my report.

Theft is a common crime committed all across the country and the world every day.  According to Gio Benitez of ABC News it is a “plague” in San Francisco.  In a 20/20 “Hot Pursuit” episode that aired December 5, 2014 and again July 3, 2015, Benitez travels to California to check out just what is going on.

At the beginning of the program he states that he and his team had spent a year gathering information on theft crimes in San Francisco in preparation for this assignment.  The most popular items stolen, he mentions, are smartphones, tablets, laptops, and musical instruments.  The most popular is bicycles.  Many people use bikes as their primary means of transportation in this city.  Benitez explains how many of the victims never have their property returned to them.

Throughout the hour we see Benitez work along side a professional tracker named Jason Cecchecitini who creates tracking devices with better radio signal than a normal GPS, as well as the San Francisco Police Department.  As a team they plant some expensive merchandise that they purchase and set it up with trackers and hidden cameras in the area to get an idea of just what happens.  In one instance a man is arrested.

They meet up with a resident named Greg Schuler who has had several bikes stolen from him over the years.  None of which have ever been returned to him.  With a bicycle planted we see a theft happen and caught on camera.  Schuler reports the bike stolen to the police and the news team sets out on pursuit of the property.  The trackers shows that the bike travels from Schuler’s residence to a storage facility outside of San Francisco to the neighboring city of Oakland where the tracking system signal leads them to a specific unit which is locked up.  

The next morning we find out that the bike is on the move and ends up in a flea market in Oakland.  Benitez and his team locate the bike and purchase it for $200.  They then confront the man selling it and the situation gets quite heated when the seller claims he purchased it from a neighboring flea market and Benitez argues that they know he is lying.  The seller gives them their money back and allows them to take the bike as well.  They never find or catch the actual their who stole the bike from Schuler’s home.  

In another situation a $400 guitar is planted in a car with the window left down.  The cameras catch a woman knows as “Smiley” take it.  When she is found by the team she has sold it to a pawn shop for $20.  She along with the team visit the store and get the guitar back.  She informs Benitez that she never even looked at he guitar, but she only wanted the money for drugs.  She expresses how her life has gone down hill and she feels that she is on “self-destruct.”

Throughout the program Benitez mentions several facts and information that he had gathered before heading out to California.  He mentions Prop 47 which was passed in 2014 in California.  This talks about how penalties and sentencing was reduced for crimes of a non-violent nature.  Crimes of theft were part of that.  According to Benitez this was a provocative subject that did not necessarily sit well with police.  I would believe that this information would have been found via public records like those that we studied previously.  He could have done a public records search on theft and located information like this.  

Benitez also mentions several statistics.  “Every 53 seconds a laptop is stolen in the US.”  He also mentions that over three million cell phones are stolen a year.  This information could also be accessed by searching through polls and statistic research on theft crimes.

The team from 20/20 worked very closely with the San Francisco Police Department in planting and executing the setups for the crimes.  Benitez also explains how the police department’s bike bust operation works.  No doubt he would have spent time interviewing several officers and maybe the police chief to obtain access to these meetings and learn how these officers go undercover to catch the bicycle thieves.

Victims like Greg Schuler have reported multiple burglaries and thefts in the past.  Schuler mentions also that none of his bikes have ever been returned.  Benitez would have found out about the multiple police reports by searching through files.  I would think he may have contacted several victims of multiples thefts to see if they would be willing to participate in this investigative report.

At the end of the program we see Benitez returning to San Francisco five months later to follow up on some of the people he encountered  or worked with during his time there.  This is one thing I may have done a bit different.  I would like to say I would have tried to check in a little bit sooner.  Two of the people he has spoken with from the first time were no where to be found, which is hoped was a good thing.  

The big thing that I saw as an error was the confrontation with the bike seller at the flea market.  During this heated argument Benitez got very defensive and argued with the man and basically accused him of lying.  As a journalist I may have asked some one of different authority to counter arguments such as a former police chief who was also on the team.  As the reporter I would be there to ask questions perhaps in response to the arguments instead of arguing that the individual was lying.

All in all I thought this to be a pretty thorough investigation and a great way to raise awareness of the “theft plague” that expands across our country.  It would definitely encourage viewers to keep an eye out for their personal belongings.

Have you ever been robbed?  Tell me about it and share your thoughts in the comments.

Alan Grayson and ObamaCare

My second assignment in this interviewing class was to prepare for a hypothetical 20-minute interview with your local congressman or congresswoman.  The congressman for my area in Florida is Alan Grayson.  Below is the report I submitted on June 7, 2015.

Alan Grayson is known via his campaign website as “The Congressman With Guts.” He is a Democrat currently representing the 9th Congressional District of Florida.  This area covers Osceola County and parts of Orange and Polk Counties.  Major cities include Orlando, Kissimmee, and St. Cloud.

The possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act has been making the news over the past couple of days which was great in getting some information on what is happening.

On Grayson’s website he talks about his support of the Affordable Care Act.  He continues to support this law with the repeal that is in the works by the Republican party.  In an article shared by Alan Grayson on his Facebook page the repeal the GOP is trying to do is briefly described.  

The lawsuit is King vs. Burwell.  David King and other Virginia residents being the plaintiffs.  The plan is to dispute the confusion of language surrounding the federal and state subsidies.  It seems that the issue in question was the result of a mistake when the House and Senate bills were merged. (salon.com)

Another articles from the Washington Times says that the GOP plans to use the Reconciliation budget process as their way of repeal.

Alan Grayson believes that the Republican plan for health care is “don’t get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.”  He along with other Democratic leaders believe that the GOP doesn’t really have an alternate plan to Obamacare in the works and they worry that millions of Americans will lose the health care that they now have.

Based on what I was able to find about Alan Grayson’s thoughts about the Affordable Care Act, as well as the plans for the Republican repeal, I thought of a few questions that maybe would generate some newsworthy responses.

Question 1

The GOP is planning to repeal the Affordable Care Act based on the confusion of the language surrounding the federal and state subsidies?  Do you think that Congress will adjust the wording in question and have it signed by the president to extinguish the Republican case?

Question 2

You said in 2009 and you still believe that the Republican plan for health care is “don’t get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.  Do you think that the GOP could come up with a better plan to counter Obamacare?

    Possible follow up questions to this

    Would it matter if they have a counter point if Obama plans to veto anything they put         forth?

    Are there any pieces of the currently standing health care law that you think should be         changed?

Question 3

I read an article where you were described as being to Congress what the “Florida Man is to Twitter… “a never-ending series of cringe-inducing incidents, headlines, and actions that define—and defame—an entire state.”  How would you respond to that?

What sorts of questions would you ask now that it seems Obamacare is here to stay?  At least for now.  Do you agree with your congressman or congresswoman and their opinions on the issue.  Let me know below in the comments!