Mary Poirier gets hands-on experience in the hospitality management program

Written byAshley McClure-French

“This is extremely interesting and exciting for me because I finally get to see what it is like to work in the world of event planning, which is what I want to pursue for my career.”

Mary Poirier is a hospitality management major at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Mary Poirier
Hospitality Management
Destrehan, La.

Where I'm From

I’m from Destrehan, La., where my dream of owning a bakery led me to hospitality management.

Where I Am

I am the lead customer service representative and interim manager at David’s Bridal in Lafayette.

Where I'm Going

I’m going to use the skills I learned at UL Lafayette to begin my career in wedding and event planning. 

Mary Poirier chose to major in hospitality management because of a life-long interest in the industry.

“As a child, my dream was to own my own bakery, and now it is to be a wedding and event planner,” she said. “I have always loved organization and working with people. I cannot think of a better career to act on that passion.”

To meet the requirements for the program, Mary had to get some industry experience. She decided to get that experience with an internship at David’s Bridal in Lafayette. Since she was already working there as a lead customer service representative, her internship role was to train for the interim operations supervisor position – a role she had to step into earlier than she expected.

“As lead customer service representative, I manage a team of five customer service representatives under the operations supervisor,” she said. “As Interim Manager, I have been given a key to the store and I am trusted to handle customer service issue on my own within company policies.”

Mary improved her customer service skills “immensely” through the Hospitality Human Resources and Service Management class (HMGT 400), helping her store receive national attention.

“Since I have been in this position, we have been awarded CSR Hall of Fame three times — something that hadn't happened at this store in at least three years,” she said. “The CSR Hall of Fame is a prize awarded to those stores who successfully provide top tier customer service and ensure that customers pick up their special-order merchandise on time for a whole quarter. Our team has earned this status for Quarters 3 and 4 of 2020 and for Quarter 1 of 2021.”

On top of her Service Management class, Mary’s taken classes and earned certifications that are required for professionals in her field including a ServSafe certification and a Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics. She was even the first student in the hospitality management program to earn a Certification in Advanced Hospitality and Tourism Analytics through a Directed Individual Study class (HMGT 497).

“I am a huge fan of the hospitality management classes that offer hands-on experience,” she said. And she had plenty of hands-on experience in her classes like cooking, travel planning, and shadowing a real preventative maintenance check of a hotel sleeping room. 

The hospitality management program has been teaching Mary about every aspect of the industry, including event planning. 

“I have taken Event Planning and Management (HMGT 407) in which I worked with a group to create and pitch an event proposal to an actual client,” she said. “This was extremely interesting and exciting for me because I finally got to see what it is like to work in the world of event planning, which is what I want to pursue for my career.”

One of the reasons Mary loves her classes so much is her experience with the professors.  

“They truly get to know you, understand your career goals, and they do everything in their power to help you get there,” she explained. “There has never been a time where I have needed to meet with them and they weren’t there, or an email has been left unanswered. They each know me by name, and they are always ready to help me with classes and with career advice.”

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