“WOWZAS!” That was the first word uttered from our retired neighbor when he first met us on move-in day. We decided to get an apartment together right out of college to take on the world… We knew we had a lot of challenges ahead of us, but figuring them out together would be key. But first, penne pasta with Parmesan sprinkle cheese at our new neighbor, and new friends, apartment! We knew we picked the right place just by the hospitality extended to us on move-in day. And how appropriate considering that Hospitality is the degree we both achieved and the direction our careers took us.

We can’t recall how we got paired together. We more than likely sat at the same table, but were randomly paired together to work on our first-semester project in Orlando at UCF. And as they say, the rest is history. We lived together for four years and worked at the same Marriott hotel to kick-start our careers. Together we witnessed Grey’s love affair with McDreamy, discovered our love for Corona Light (with lime!), went cave tubing in Belize, landed our DREAM jobs in our mid-twenties (with adjoining cubicles) and stood by as we watched each other say our “I Do’s.”

Yes, we’ve been friends for nearly two decades and have followed each other through life’s little moments. We’ve both been working in hospitality for over 10 years and loved every moment of being career/family women. It hasn’t always been easy, but doing what you love at such a young age has more rewarding moments than not.

Recently, we were both furloughed/laid off from our careers which has given us an opportunity to reflect on redefining ourselves. However, more gratifying than that is the opportunity to provide a platform for our fellow colleagues and friends who are also trying to redefine themselves. We hope to create a community for all hospitality professionals who are turning over a new leaf and wish to showcase their talents.