Erin Neagle, a 2008 graduate of Northwest Catholic, recently returned to the school as a guest speaker in the new Alumni LEADS program to discuss her work in hospitality management.
NWC instituted its comprehensive leadership curriculum LEADS (Leadership, Engagement, Accountability, Determination, Service) in 2015. This fall the program expanded, and one of its new initiatives is to educate students on various career paths. Erin Neagle helped Alumni LEADS achieve its goal by describing her unique path to becoming the Catering Manager at Delamar, an upscale hotel and banquet facility in West Hartford.
Neagle began her discussion with the admission that she was undecided on a major and career when she began at the University of Connecticut in 2008. While an undergraduate, Neagle waitressed and bartended, opening her eyes to hospitality work. But because her whole family worked in health care, Neagle pursued this field upon graduation. With a degree in communications and her lived experience in health care, Neagle took a position in sales at a nursing home. But working in health care didn’t suit Neagle, so she soon left and landed an entry position at St. Clements Castle in Portland, CT.
Neagle explained to the students that she knew she was going to have to learn the ropes in the hospitality business. She didn’t have a degree in the field, but she was willing to learn on the job. She told the students how, as a receptionist, she studied all the elements of running a banquet facility and pitched in to help wherever she could.
Neagle's enthusiasm paid off. She was soon invited to train as a wedding sales manager, which came with much more responsibility. Neagle went from receptionist to overseeing the execution of the banquet team during high pressure events — weddings.
After paying her dues at St. Clements Castle, Neagle scored a job as a catering manager at the famous Ocean House in Watch Hill. She had her NWC audience enrapt when she told the story of planning Bill Belichick’s daughter’s wedding. During her stint at The Ocean House, Neagle met several celebrities. She humbly chuckled as she told the students she often asked herself, “How did I get here?”
When Delamar in West Hartford reached out to Neagle, she decided it was time to come home to Connecticut. Today she lives in Hartford and is managing at the beautiful facility.
When she reflected on her time at Northwest Catholic, Neagle said she was glad she was involved with the Dramateurs. In high school she honed her public speaking skills, and her gifts at communication as well as her confidence have served her well these ten years since she’s graduated. Neagle is quick on her feet and even quicker to smile. Her ease in front of a group and her thoughtful reflections left her Northwest audience with a fresh perspective on being open to what the universe delivers and taking chances when they come by.