SHL alumna spotlight: Erika Edmundson

My name is Erika Edmundson, and I had the privilege of graduating from the School of Hospitality Leadership in 2018. My concentration was food and beverage, as I have always had a passion and desire to bring people together through a shared meal. I am grateful to have learned about the SHL as a freshman and to use the opportunity to combine my interests and education with the hopes of being able to use both for a future career. Throughout my four years at ECU, I was able to dive into various avenues within the hospitality field and learn how to incorporate those skills into a business.

Following graduation, I didn’t have an exact plan. I worked as a receptionist for a couple of years and was keeping my options open when the opportunity to take over a business came about. In January of 2021, my husband and I became the owners of Pirate’s Popcorn, a gourmet popcorn shop in Greenville, North Carolina (hence the name). It has been nothing short of a rewarding and challenging adventure. I manage the operations and have been able to use and implement many skills I learned through the SHL, from profit margin and food costs to emotional intelligence, proper food safety, customer experience and more.

It is so rewarding getting to use my education in the town I learned it all in. I have been able to partner with ECU and connect with different organizations in the community, and I maintain contact with the amazing professors I had during my time at ECU.

I can confidently say I would not be where I am without my education from the ECU’s SHL, and I am still encouraged to keep growing.

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