Maaike Couvillion-Hanby grew up as a third culture kid traveling across the world and found her educational home at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She grew up in six different countries and decided to attend UL Lafayette because of her father’s previous experience.
“Growing up overseas my father, George Couvillion, spoke fondly of his upbringing in the U.S. and experiences back when it was University of Southern Louisiana, graduating class of 1979. My father has been a pillar of support throughout life and influence in my passion for Hospitality.”
Majoring in hospitality management was a no brainer for Maaike because of her upbringing. Moving to various places inspired Maaike to find solace in comforting and helping other travelers.
“Adapting and transitioning was always tough but eye opening and a humbling experience to find comfort in a foreign place. This truly ignited my passion in the hospitality industry, to be a part in assisting those who are traveling to feel comfortable and welcomed - a home away from home. No one deserves to feel alone.”
She said, “I enjoyed volunteering at the Hilliard Museum and assisting in their Tour and Tea event for their members. Learning how they utilized the event to recognize the Museum’s members and assisting in putting the event together was great exposure. It was a great opportunity to learn networking and selling the different memberships to all those who attended was great practice.”
Maaike remembers enjoying her lecture/lab class with Professor Dubois and operating the UL Lafayette restaurant, the Lunch Club. Some of her professors have even continued to act as mentors beyond their time in class together.
"I loved our Lecture/Lab course with Mrs. Becky Dubois and running the University of Louisiana at Lafayette restaurant. I learned what it took to run and serve 50 people and work as a team. It was a great hands-on class that really allowed us to utilize what we learned in the lectures and putting it to work.”
She shared some advice for current hospitality management students, “I encourage those in the hospitality field to really take advantage of the classes to prepare you for the CHIA certification. Learning all the verbiage and acronyms used in the industry has assisted me in navigating and troubleshooting fires and favors. It helps you understand the ‘behind the scenes’ of the hotel industry and puts the ‘whys’ into perspective.”
Maaike is currently a Hilton direct sales representative for Hilton Worldwide Sales. When asked how her experience in the hospitality management program has shaped her career, she said, “It’s proved useful to understand the foundation of the hotel industry and to assist in becoming a liaison to the both the hotel and guest.”
Her short-term plans are to network and be open to new opportunities at Hilton to grow into a sales partner.
“I plan to continue and grow within Hilton Corporate sales exploring all areas and verticals offered. Hoping to one day eventually become a Sales Director, managing accounts with a team and seeing the world.”