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MEET THE TEAM: Tess
Learn a little more about the wonderful folks working on our team! Tess is our Operations Manager- she has worked at our Front Desk and with our guests for over 30 years- here is her story!
How did you start working at Woodloch?
I grew up in this area but had never heard of Woodloch. After I started a family in the Philadelphia area, I spent time living and working in other places. I ended up coming back to this area in 1984 because I was raising two young children, and I wanted to be closer to the rest of my family.
I knew someone in the kitchen at that time and they told me the dining room was better than the front desk because the girls at the front desk were “stuck up.” I interviewed with the dining room manager and was told I’d be a good fit for the front desk HA! I started there in December of 1984 and really enjoyed it. As it turns out, the girls were not stuck up. Over the years, I worked in many different departments including the dining room and the bar as well as serving as the purchasing agent here.
What is a typical day like?
There is no typical day, and that’s what I like most about this job. Every day truly is different, and you never know what it’s going to be like. After 38 years, I still never get bored working here. In hospitality, I’m always meeting lots of new people… guests and staff alike!
What are some of your favorite hobbies?
I love spending time with my kids and grandkids! I also enjoy biking and doing yoga.
What is your favorite part of the job, and why?
My favorite part of the job is watching new staff members start here and see how they grow and develop working in a place where they’re really cared for. At Woodloch, employees are
loved, nurtured, and encouraged to grow. It is wonderful seeing them become happier, stronger, and wiser people. And while it’s bittersweet seeing a team member leave to go to a different department or new job opportunity, we love celebrating in their success and watching them advance on to what is best for them.
The most inspiring part of my job is meeting all of the guests. It’s amazing to hear their stories, whether they’re vacationing to celebrate something wonderful or they’re going through something challenging, and family is healing.
Guests comment time and time again about how amazing our staff is. They genuinely seem to enjoy working here and doing what they do. Our hospitality is authentic, and you don’t find that everywhere. Guests become friends; relationships are built over the years, and you look forward to seeing them.
What are some of the most memorable experiences you’ve had with guests over the years?
One night months after September 11th, I received a call from a guest who wasn’t happy at another local resort, and she wanted to stay at Woodloch with her family instead. I was able to get them a reservation, and I checked them in later that evening. I saw them over the course of the weekend having a great time.
When they checked out, they gave me a small stained glass angel figurine. We used to sell them in the gift shop. They thanked me and told me what an incredibly special trip this was for them. They had three teenage sons and their two-year-old niece with them. As it turned out, their brother in-law had been killed as a first responder in 9/11, and his wife had died of
cancer, leaving the little girl in their care. They were so overwhelmed with emotion that they were able to have such a special vacation that everyone could enjoy as a new family unit.
Another time, four ladies and 12 children appeared hoping to have dinner at The Inn when I was working one night. We were completely sold out and had no room to seat them; at the time, the downstairs level at The Inn was not being used a dining room. However, they really needed a place to eat so I spoke with the kitchen and dining room teams who said that they would prepare pizzas and chicken fingers for the group. We set up a table for them downstairs so that they could enjoy their meal together. I came to find out from one of the
ladies that all of the children had been orphaned after 9/11.
If you had to choose one thing, what’s the best part about working at Woodloch?
The people – hands down! I love my coworkers, the Kiesendahl family, the guests. I feel so fortunate to have worked here all these years and have been exposed to things that I might not have otherwise. I have had the privilege of meeting guests and staff from diverse cultures and backgrounds. I have personally learned and grown so much since I started here 38 years ago.