Up Close: Profile of the Catering Manager at Hershey Country Club
Since 2012, Amanda Crouse has been making wedding dreams at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (HE&R) come to life. Amanda began her journey with HE&R as Assistant Catering Manager at Hershey Country Club and has worked her way up to Catering Manager. As many of us know, wedding planning is not the quickest or easiest task, but Amanda shines at it. Throughout her career, Amanda has helped create some of the most memorable days of a guest’s life. Her love for planning and creating experiences for guests keeps her busy, but we were still able to speak with Amanda to find out even more about her career and accomplishments.
Interested in a part-time job in the hospitality industry? HE&R has some sweet opportunities for you! Check out HersheyJobs.com to see open positions.
Q) Tell us about your career. Where did you go to school? What was your career path prior to joining Hershey?
A) I graduated from Albright College (Reading, PA) with a BA in Communications and Digital Media. I had a heavy focus on TV/Radio while completing my degree and internships. Upon graduation I took a job as a promotions director for Citadel Broadcasting. I was in charge of the county division WIOV. My main responsibilities included creating, planning and executing sales and programming oriented promotions as well as all on air contests. It was fantastic because I was able to be creative while still utilizing the planning skills I so much had a passion for! I left this job as a Sales job opened up for a wedding photographer in the area and I jumped at the opportunity. After a year I decided to pursue a career within the Hotel Industry and accepted a position as the Social & Wedding Sales Manager for the Holiday Inn Harrisburg/Hershey. I worked there for five years and learned so much about sales, the social segment of hotels and of course my passion for weddings continued! I applied for the Assistant Catering Manager position at the Country Club in 2011 and was not hired, but in 2012 the position was reposted and I applied! Fast forward to present day!
Q) Walk us through your career so far at Hershey.
A) In 2012 I joined the HE&R team as Assistant Catering Manager at Hershey Country Club. I was promoted to Catering Manager in 2014 and I have been in this position ever since! The club is such a fantastic venue as you have the beautiful scenery and the spacious rooms for smaller groups! It's the perfect venue to take over if you are a small group and feel like a big fish!
Q) Why did you choose to work for Hershey?
A) Since joining the Hospitality Industry I had always wanted to work for Hershey. I love the feeling within each of the properties and the overall brand. I knew it was something I would not give up once I had my first interview here at the club in 2011. It was such a beautiful venue and I wanted to be part of it all and share experiences with couples in this setting. Upon joining the team I quickly learned that I could share my passion with serving others and giving back to the community. I love being part of the HE&R Team because there are so many avenues to do this. Through Milton Hershey School and United Way, it's been such a joy to combine these two passions!
Q) What's your biggest accomplishment since joining the Hershey team?
A) I would say growing the catering team here at the club. When I arrived in 2012 there were only 3 employees in the department, including myself. We currently have a staff of 5 including myself and have grown our business overall. Not only in the wedding/social segment, but our events for the membership here at the club have grown as well. We've become known for delivering exceptional experiences!
Q) What is one of the most memorable things that happened at a wedding that you helped plan?A) I've had some truly joyous times here at the club and have been able to be part of some fantastic weddings! In most recent months we hosted a wedding that had surprise fireworks for the bride! The dad wanted to do something special and it was decided that a 10 minute private firework show would be the perfect setting! The fireworks were set off over the 18 Green of West course! We had set up a private VIP seating for the Bride/Groom with Champagne and it was so special! What a surprise to keep from the bride & groom though! Another memorable moment was when we recently hosted the wedding of our Assistant Catering Manager Keighla Fetty (Blaney). It was so amazing to produce an event for someone who helps me produce other guests’ weddings day in and day out!
"Upon joining the team I quickly learned that I could share my passion with serving others and giving back to the community. I love being part of the HE&R Team because there are so many avenues to do this."
Q) What's the most rewarding aspect of your job?
A)Seeing an event come from an idea and then to fruition on the day of. Knowing that I've helped create some of the most memorable days in guests’ lives is so exciting! Knowing that it started with maybe an appointment and grew into something so beautiful is very magical!
Q) What advice would you give someone interested in a career in event planning?
A) Take those early jobs that might not have the big titles and learn as much as you can and grow within those roles. Being able to pull from past experiences and relating them to current jobs will help you grow! You may not have the exact experience but if you have been part of something that is relatable it's fantastic! Also keep contacts, in this industry it's so key! I still speak with past brides, vendors, etc.! You never know when you may need to call in a favor!
Q) What's the best perk of your job?
A) Doing what I love each and every day! I love planning and creating experiences for guests! Being able to do that with such a fantastic team who has become like family is just icing on the cake!
Q) What does a typical day consist of?
A) Typically on the day of a wedding I will arrive on site around 10 a.m., if I have loose ends for the wedding, I clear those up and start to prepare. Typically on Saturdays I like to tour potential clients, as they are able to see the venue set for a wedding! After this I line the staff up for the event and begin setting up the details provided by the client. Once the couple arrives on site, photos are taken, and we are ready to begin the reception! I also need to coordinate with vendors on special moments and communicate with the kitchen during the event. During the off season I begin meeting with couples for the next few months, completing tastings, and confirming details! Getting ready to get the season started!
Q) Tell us something folks might not know about you.
A) Prior to joining the Country Club team I worked for Jay Vending in Hersheypark through high school and college. I made cotton candy, and I was able to work in the park and Giant Center! It was such a fun job and I recently worked a cotton candy station for a bar mitzvah! I had to put my skills from the past to the test!