Emily Hand ('07)
I started at Eataly in August of 2010, prior to the store opening later that month. It was my first job as a sommelier, although I had been studying wine on my own for a couple of years. I worked my way up through the Pizza Pasta restaurant to the Piazza, Pesce & Verdure section. In September of 2011 I moved to Manzo full-time, which is a fine-dining steakhouse style restaurant with a list of more than 800 Italian wines. I achieved my "Certified Sommelier" accreditation shortly after I transitioned into Manzo, and I became the wine director of that restaurant less than one year later. In April of 2013 I was appointed Beverage Director of Eataly. So now I oversee the many wine lists across all of the aforementioned restaurants, and additionally the Birreria (rooftop brewery). I help coordinate store-wide promotions, which are usually regionally focused; this allows producers to showcase their wines at Eataly and we utilize these wines in the restaurants, retail wine store, and in our culinary center, La Scuola. One of my favorite parts of my job is teaching food and wine classes in the Scuola, as many as five to six times per week. I love having a captive audience after spending a long day at my desk and running around the restaurants. I lead a team of four additional sommeliers who help educate the servers, bartenders and managers. It's safe to say I've found my dream job.
William Woodson ('08)
I started with Restaurant Associates in New York City shortly after graduation. Prior to starting full-time I worked through two internships with Restaurant Associates. After some movement in the company due to the recession, I landed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as a Café Manager, a union house. While at the MET I was promoted to Director of Cafeterias, while also working to develop and manage the other four restaurants at the MET. Many of the things that I learned while at the University of Delaware have helped me to become a better manager, and also refine the skill set that I have acquired from on the job training. I continue to love this industry and my alma mater.
Drew DiFonzo ('12) and Rebecca Simon ('12)
Drew: I joined The Waldorf-Astoria as a MDP right after graduation. My first assignment was Peacock Alley, followed by Bull & Bear and then Overnight Front Office. After 15 months, I have been promoted to Banquet Manager and I am involved in all aspects of the operation, including Banquet Service, Banquet Beverage and MBO. "Andrew is as hard working as they come in this business and is an amazingly quick study of the Waldorf Astoria. Most importantly, Andrew is a true team player, works respectfully with our associates and collaboratively with his peers," said Geoffrey Cousineau, Drew's manager.
Rebecca: I joined the Management Development Program (MDP) at The Waldorf Astoria in June of 2012 right after graduation with the desired track of Event Planning. I started in Meeting and Banquet Operations (MBO) which is responsible for all executive meetings and Grand Ballroom dinner sets. I learned the importance of time management and forecasting to ensure all sets that needed to be completed were set up in advance for the VIP meetings. I then transitioned to our Banquets/Coffee Crew department where I oversaw all AM food and beverage functions for the smaller scale meetings and assisted our Director of Banquets with high profile dinners and receptions. From there I moved to Guest Services which was more of a front of the house operational department and worked closely with the Valet, Doorman, Concierge, Bell Captain, Package Room and worked directly with the Front Office. During this rotation I was able to open our brand new Motor Court and work directly to ensure its continued success. In October of 2013 after 16 months of being in the MDP Program graduated and became an Event Manager. My main focus is on groups with 75 rooms on peak night or less and handle primarily the small VIP meetings and wedding room blocks.
"Rebecca has consistently proven to be a super star (as attested by past managers who were hesitant to let her go on to her next rotations)! We are very fortunate and excited to welcome Rebecca to Events. With the combination of her past experiences and positive attitude, we know she will be a great addition to our team. Thank you in advance for lending your support as she begins this next phase of her career," said Rebecca's manager, Adrianna A. Murphy.