SHL Alumni Profile - Alexandra Conners '19

Everything you learn in your journey in hospitality will come back around one way or another. 

I come from a long-listed family in sales. When I chose the world of hospitality, I thought this would be way more fun than any boring old corporate business. 

I was right. The hotel was hectic, loud and chaotic. The restaurant was hot, fast and scary; I loved it.

When I graduated from ECU and the School of Hospitality Leadership, I started as a sales coordinator at Hyatt hotels in Washington DC. I worked alongside six sales managers with multi-million-dollar contracts. 

I didn’t know much about the sales department, but I thought I knew the hotel industry, and I was highly motivated by the money working in sales. We worked with government contracts, NESTLE Brands, Deloitte, NASA, and other major corporations. I built relationships with each one of these executives. 

I later took a turn to be an account executive at Yelp, the internet’s number one trusted review platform. Being in the hospitality industry we know Yelp, we love Yelp, and we love to hate Yelp. 

I get the opportunity to connect with local businesses and show them how to advertise their platform. I work with small businesses every day. Pizza shops, small boutiques, travel agents, recreational arenas, and bed and breakfasts. 

I am successful in this role because of my industry knowledge. I can break down margins for a local pizzeria and understand their inventory versus client base and where they are losing their profit margins.  

I know how to ask hotel general managers about their occupancy percentages each quarter. The only reason I am successful in this role is because of the hospitality industry. 

It is a lot easier to sell a product that you have firsthand experience in. 

I was the quickest in my division to get promoted to the restaurant division (SAAS) for Yelp as a senior account executive for Yelp restaurants. Here I connect restaurants with software products to ease the hassle of check-ins and waitlists. 

You are going to later find out that all these skills you developed will pay off. All roads lead back to the hospitality industry, and here I am back to my roots with a few twists and turns along the way.