St. Mike’s women rise to top in recent hospitality hirings
Maddy Moore '19 and Rachel Kucharski '17 settling into new responsibilities at Hotel Vermont in Burlington after making excellent impression on team with their poise and strong preparation
Good college preparation leads to good jobs, two Saint Michael’s College graduates from recent years learned in early May when they landed desirable marketing positions with Hotel Vermont/Westport Hospitality in downtown Burlington.
Michell Langlais, the Westport Hospitality director of sales who hired Maddy Moore ’19 and Rachel Kucharski 17 in early May, was so impressed with them and another Saint Michael’s candidate for her most recent open positions that she wanted College leaders to know just how well they are preparing students for the workplace.
Langlais wrote this to Dawn Ellinwood, vice president for student affairs: “I wanted to share a positive experience we recently had with three of your recent alumni. As you can imagine, we are re-building our workforce as we regain momentum after the pandemic. We recently had a Marketing Manager position open for Hotel Vermont… [and] our top three candidates were all alumni of Saint Michael’s College. And, we hired one as the Marketing Manager for Hotel Vermont [Moore] and the other as my Digital Marketing Specialist [Kucharski]! We were so impressed with the caliber of these candidates. They were educated, had phenomenal communication skills, they were confident and presented themselves extremely well, and were so passionate about the job opportunity. These attributes secured the positions for these fine ladies and I am certain the environment and support they had at Saint Michael’s played a huge role.”
Moore and Kucharski recently shared about their Saint Michael’s experiences that gave them such confidence in pursuing these new positions: Moore now is responsible for implementing and executing the marketing plans for both Hotel Vermont and the restaurants Juniper and Brick, including brand marketing and managing social media outlets, while Kucharski will support and develop the sales team for Westport, the management company that operates several Burlington-area hotels and restaurants..
A fan of the Burlington area
Moore, a native of Lincoln, RI, said she was drawn to the Burlington area for college initially by a variety of attractions, from great restaurants to bustling Church Street and nearby mountains. “I could truly see myself here,” she said of her first visit. Moore majored in business administration at St. Mike’s, with minors in psychology and studio art, and was very active in the Active Minds group advocating for mental health awareness, as an Orientation Leader, officer in the photography club, a certified peer monitor, a MOVE service volunteer – and, she studied abroad in South Africa.
Beyond just her professors, she cites strong guidance over four years from staff in Student Life, particularly Catherine Welch as adviser to Active Minds, and from Academic Affairs, notably Tim Mackin and Jonathan D’Amore. She says being a leader for Orientation and Active Minds were her favorite and most rewarding campus experiences.
“I’ve been following Hotel Vermont since moving to the area and was thrilled to see the Marketing Manager position listing on social media,” Moore said. “The job appealed to a number of my interests: engaging with the local community/local partnerships, implementing an element of creativity and design, and being an independent hotel since I come from a small business owning family. With a bit of digital marketing experience and connections within the Vermont small business network from my previous job and some pro bono work with a local start-up, the position checked lots of boxes for me!”
“I have St. Mike’s to thank for building my confidence,” she said. “College was a time for me to explore my passions and interests and learn about what I love; many of the requirements that were built into the business curriculum were valuable throughout the application process.”
Some connections were even more direct to her new workplace: “My Honors Program capstone project was a podcast featuring marketing strategy in the restaurant industry, featuring interviews with a variety of local restaurant owners and managers – including Matt Canning from Hotel Vermont!” Moore said.
An athlete and communicator
Kucharski, an Exeter, NH, native, came to St. Mike’s initially after being recruited for field hockey and learning of a strong journalism program, which was her chief interest. “I love the size of the campus, and that there was a really strong sense of community both in the classroom and out,” she said. After declaring as an MJD (media studies, journalism and digital arts) major she tacked on a studio arts major. “Field hockey definitely kept me busy outside of the classroom,” she said. I also was meant to be a part of the swimming & diving team at St. Mike’s but a broken wrist my first fall kept me from that.” She wrote for the student newspaper the Defender “and found that I preferred photography and the digital side of storytelling more.”
Key advisers over four years for her included Ray Patterson of religious studies — even though “his expertise wasn’t exactly in alignment with my majors, but he always made time to answer my questions and offer some sage advice.” Patterson has long been a strong backer of student athletes at the College and has served as NCAA rep. Brian Collier of Fine Arts/Graphic arts and Jon Hyde of MJD also were “a wealth of knowledge” for Kucharski and helped her a lot. She also loved the experience of studying abroad in Prague, and said she hopes everyone who can will take advantage of study abroad.
She heard of her new job on Instagram. “Pre-pandemic I was in Boston, and although I loved aspects of the area, I found that I really missed Burlington and the big city life wasn’t for me,” Kucharski said. “The pandemic offered me time to regroup and refocus on what I wanted to be doing, and also where I wanted to be doing it. I saw the job posting on Hotel Vermont’s Instagram page and knew immediately that I wanted to apply.”
“They had a very interesting application process that let me get to know not just the company, but their team and values a bit better,” she said. “I felt as if I was assessed as a whole person and not just a resume in a pile. What interested me most about the position was the opportunity to grow as a member of a team, while also expanding upon my current knowledge and skills. They have been so welcoming, and I have been informed that no two days will be the same here, which is exciting in and of itself.”
“St. Mike’s has helped me tremendously these past few years post-graduation,” Kucharski said. “I think there is a confidence that being a part of such a tight-knit community allows you to develop. I have had a wide array of professional experience since graduating, and no matter where I am or what I am doing there is always someone with a relationship to St. Mike’s.”
Michell Langlais said that, for her as a recruiter, “what set these two candidates apart from the rest of the candidate pool was their confidence and passion. Both exuded confidence on paper as well as in person.”
“We asked for sample ads when applying and their correspondence was thoughtful, detailed and professional,” Langlais said.” In person they both had superior communication skills. I was so impressed with how confident they were and how engaged they were in conversations; they handled questions with great poise and thoughtful responses.”
“Rachel and Maddy were also very passionate about wanting to join our team and you could feel that when speaking with them,” she said. “Their enthusiasm and individual stories as to why they wanted to join our family were incredibly inspiring, and ultimately from my perspective, a major reason they earned a position within our company.”