Carpentry, metal working, and watchkeeping are only a few of the early jobs Amy Moore held before joining the team at Langdon Hall in 2010. As Assistant Property Manager, Amy helps oversee the maintenance of the entire property, and although she works behind the scenes, she has a tremendous impact on ensuring the perfect guest experience.
Along with her two sisters and two brothers, Amy was born and raised in Cambridge where she grew up always helping in her father’s shop. As an inventor, her father was always creating something new so his shop was an exciting place to learn and explore.
“As kids, we were always involved in my dad’s work and really became a hands-on family,” explains Amy. “Between both my parents we learnt metal working, problem solving, home renovations, needle work and so much more. Our family mantra became: there’s always a better way,” she laughs.
Amy’s sisters are now a carpenter and teacher, one brother is an aircraft mechanic, and the other runs their father’s business. Her mom also devoted 30 years of her time to embracing the compassionate role of foster parent to infants.
|“I WILL ALWAYS BE EXTREMELY GRATEFUL TO BE ABLE TO WORK WITH AND BE SUPPORTED BY SUCH A GREAT TEAM.”|
“My mom cared for newborns who were waiting to be adopted and had a natural calling to foster,” explains Amy, who always loved having a baby around. “I remember the first thing we loved to teach them was how to stick out their tongue. Each one became part of our family and my mom gave her heart to every one of them.”
Over the 30 years, Amy’s parents cared for over 100 children. An extraordinary and selfless accomplishment. This compassion flowed through Amy and her siblings as well, and when Amy was 19 she traveled to Holland where she joined the Mercy Ships crew and became their carpenter.
Mercy Ships is a volunteer-run, global charity operating a fleet of hospital ships in developing nations. Amy joined the Anastasis, which was a 159-meter vessel converted into a mobile hospital where an average of 350 crew from more than 30 nations lived and worked.
“Being a deckhand on the Anastasis and then the Africa Mercy was an amazing experience,” says Amy. “Similar to my role at Langdon, I worked for the staff and ensured they had what they needed to fulfil their job. It also opened the door to a world of traveling.”
Over the years Amy continued to volunteer with Mercy Ships and traveled to South Africa, England, Liberia and Togo, as well as trips to Sweden, Portugal, Spain and the Canary Islands. Between trips she would return home and work for her father’s business. Through her numerous travels she made life-long friends, experienced breath-taking sceneries, and helped bring hope and healing to those who have limited access to healthcare.
After returning home from one of her trips, Amy wasn’t sure what she would do next, until she saw an ad in the local newspaper for a summer position at Langdon Hall.
“I had originally applied for a summer gardening position, but they quickly offered me a position with the Maintenance team, which was only one person at that time,” explains Amy. “It has been great seeing the team grow over the years. The best part of the job are the amazing staff who appreciate the work that we do.”
Over the years Amy has become familiar with all the aspects of the property and admits that two of her favourite spots is looking out at the view from guestrooms one and seven in the Main House. She is always working her magic behind the scenes to ensure staff can provide the best experience for guests, and at the beginning of 2017 she was grateful to be one of Langdon’s own winter brides.
“Everything came together perfectly for our wedding. I will always be extremely grateful to be able to work with and be supported by such a great team,” says Amy.
As her department has grown, Amy has taken on a leadership role in the execution of daily tasks, in addition she focuses her time on large scale projects that will benefit the property in the years to come. Langdon Hall is fortunate to have Amy alongside a team of dedicated individuals who are committed to ensuring the perfect guest experience.
It’s the details that count – from the neatly set pillow, to carefully pressed napkins, every detail becomes an intricate part of the guests’ experience. These valuable details wouldn’t exist without the remarkable people behind the scenes. Arali Valdes joined the Housekeeping team over a year ago, but recently accepted the newly created position of Accounting/HR Clerk.
Arali was born and raised in Saltillo, Mexico, a city over 500 years old and a population of over 700,000 people. She grew up with her two sisters and later moved to Monterrey, the capital and largest city of the northeastern state in Mexico.
“I met my husband in high school and attended university together,” says Arali. “I’m a very detailed-focused person so I decided to earn my degree in finance management, and began my career at a bank while also helping the family business.”
Arali and her husband started their family in the hustle and bustle of the big city. When their daughter was four, her husband’s company offered him a position in Canada. Although it was a very difficult decision, Arali and her husband decided to embrace this exciting new adventure and moved to Cambridge, Ontario.
|“IT’S A GREAT FEELING WORKING WITH AN INCREDIBLE TEAM THAT PROVIDES YOU WITH A SENSE OF BELONGING.”|
“We thought, let’s give it a try and if we don’t like it, we can always move home,” says Arali. “Five years later and we have a wonderful life full of new beginnings and now our three year old son!”
Moving her family to another country was not without its challenges. Canadian cuisine is much milder, the rhythm in Cambridge is obviously much slower than in Monterrey, and raising her two children in an unfamiliar culture would be daunting for any parent. However, Arali also faced the challenge of not having her education recognized in her new country.
“Aside from having to work through the process of obtaining my work permit in Canada, my finance degree isn’t recognized due to finance rules differing from country to country,” explains Arali. “So for the first few years in Canada I stayed home to raise my children and care for the house.”
Just over a year ago Arali came across a position at Langdon Hall for the night laundry and thought “let’s give it a try”. Working the night shift would certainly be a challenge but a friend, who was a previous employee, assured her that she would be working with an amazing group of people.
“I had been doing the family laundry for years, and I thought how wonderful it would be to get paid in actual money instead of hugs and kisses,” laughs Arali. “So I accepted the position and took pride in this very humble role, knowing every detail counts!”
Arali continued in night laundry for nine months until she was given the opportunity to move into the role of Room Inspector for Housekeeping, giving her the chance to get to know the hotel during the day. However, her ultimate goal was to return to a similar role she left behind in Mexico.
“It’s been a long detour but I want to earn my CPA designation here in Canada, but I need relevant work experience,” explains Arali. “Luckily, the team at Langdon Hall has been extremely supportive and found the role of Accounting/HR Clerk for me to transition into.”
Arali is now assisting with the daily duties for both Finance as well as Human Resources team. Although job requirements have changed, Arali’s position is still detailed focused and a step closer to her career goal.
“It’s a great feeling working with an incredible team that provides you with a sense of belonging,” says Arali. “I am excited to explore this next chapter of my new beginning.”
Imagine arriving to work in a relaxing and soothing environment, with smells of natural lavender oils and tranquil music playing softly in the background. Lisa Papazoglou experiences this everyday as an esthetician at the Spa at Langdon Hall, where she provides facials, manicures, pedicures, waxing, and makeup applications.
“Growing up my mom helped me understand the importance of taking care of my skin, and I also fell in love with makeup,” explains Lisa. “Skin care became very important to me and it was an easy decision to earn my diploma as an esthetician.”
Lisa completed a two year program to become an esthetician. She focused on acquiring technical skills, enhancing confidence, and ensuring she had the ability to assist all clients with their personal skin care concerns. She loved her program and attributes much of her success to the support of her family.
Lisa grew up in Scarborough as the middle child of three and recalls the importance placed on family life. Her mother had a passion for children so stayed home to focus on raising the three of them, and her father was always there to support their needs. These family values were passed down to Lisa as she now devotes all her spare time to her three children and husband of 21 years.
|“IF YOU’RE HAVING A BAD DAY, THIS JOB NATURALLY CHANGES YOUR MOOD. IT’S THERAPEUTIC.”|
“There isn’t a lot of work that comes home with my job so I’m fortunate to be able to devote my time to my daughter and two sons, Alexa, Carmelo and Julian,” says Lisa. “But I couldn’t do it without the support of my family, and that’s why after Julian was born, we followed my parents and brother and moved to Cambridge.”
Not long after moving to Cambridge, Lisa was introduced to Langdon Hall and joined the team at the Spa. After four years, guests now regularly request Lisa for manicures, pedicures, makeup application – and her favourite – facials. She has witnessed the renovation of a new spa and the change in industry trends.
“I take pride in every service I provide and want to surpass the guest’s expectation,” says Lisa. “I truly enjoy interacting with all the guests, but my favourite part of working at Langdon Hall is the overall environment. If you’re having a bad day, this job naturally changes your mood. It’s therapeutic.”
Lisa has been in the industry for over 20 years and has witnessed its evolution. She has noticed that esthetic services are becoming more of a necessity as opposed to a luxury to people, since there is a growing focus on maintaining your body’s overall health.
“People are realizing that pedicures are not just about nail polish but about overall foot care,” explains Lisa, “and the clientele is changing considerably with a large increase in male guests.”
The industry’s trends are also changing with a larger focus on natural ingredients. “You do not smell nail polish when visiting our spa,” says Lisa. “We work with products that are made with all vegan ingredients and are free of chemicals, which is not only enjoyed by guests but greatly appreciated by the staff.”
Lisa loves sharing the experience of facials with her clients and admits that snoring is always a compliment. Her passion for the job is evident with each treatment and she can’t see that changing anytime soon.
A milestone birthday or anniversary, that moment she says “I do”, or a quiet celebration between a couple, are memorable moments that want to be cherished for a lifetime. At Langdon Hall these moments are made possible by warm and caring people such as Greg Uss, who as Assistant Food and Beverage Manager is honoured when he becomes a part of that special memory.
Greg is a familiar face in the restaurant and many guests ask for him personally, perhaps because of the comfort he offers with his grace and charm, but for Greg it goes to a deeper level of wanting to make a difference.
“My family has a fascinating history that has created the foundation for me,” says Greg. “My maternal grandfather was an officer for the Tsar of Russia, escaped during WWI and fled to Belgium, leaving his family behind. Similarly, my paternal grandfather was a chemist in Russia who fled to Belgium with his family during the war, and eventually settled in Burlington to design the lab for Joseph Brant Hospital.”
|“I CAN TEACH NEW STAFF ANYTHING, BUT I CAN’T TEACH THEM HOW TO CARE. THAT, THEY BRING HERE THEMSELVES.”|
Greg’s parents met in Belgium but both made their way to Ontario where they settled and raised their family.
“I was surrounded by classical literature, music and art while growing up,” says Greg. “My sister and I were constantly stimulated in an environment that encouraged expression of one’s self, and we cherished this but were also told that we should be somebody.”
Once in high school, Greg began teaching music to adults and knew he had the ability to give back and share his talents, but he was still unsure how he was going to fulfil his parents’ expectation of making his life important.
“By my early 20’s I discovered I had a knack for retail and created my own store,” explains Greg. “My store was called Sweets & Treats and I offered coffee and gourmet foods. By the second year it was not doing well but after some needed advice from a dear friend I gave it everything I had and to my surprise the store’s success sky rocketed!”
After selling his store and returning to school, Greg worked part-time at a restaurant as well as in customer service at a bank. These roles reinforced his discovery of being a people person and his skillful ability of being the calming factor in any situation. He excelled in these roles but after 15 years at the restaurant he knew he wanted something more and always had his parents’ encouraging voice in the back of his head saying, “you can be somebody.”
In 2001 a past colleague invited Greg to Langdon Hall and offered him a role in the restaurant where he would be a coach, leader, and positive influence to staff as well as offer his grace and charm to each memorable moment experienced by guests. Greg saw a special opportunity and decided to take it.
“Langdon Hall’s beauty is the warmth of the staff, the sensory experience of the crackling fire and soft music, and the high standards it has worked so hard to attain,” explains Greg. “As staff, we have the responsibility to protect and respect those standards and cherish the opportunity we have to become a part of our guests’ experience.”
Over the last 16 years Greg has created a sense of place at Langdon Hall where he has touched so many lives, both of staff and guests. Whether it was providing staff with a positive outlook before beginning a stressful shift, humbling being called Sir by Robin Williams, or going the extra mile for guests, Greg has undeniably become a memorable person at Langdon Hall who has made a notable difference for many.
“I can teach new staff anything, but I can’t teach them how to care. That, they bring here themselves,” says Greg.
An immaculately made bed, towels carefully hung in a spotless bathroom, and a fire artfully set and ready to light; these are only a few items that Pat, as a Room Inspector, has to ensure are perfect before the guest arrives for check-in. Pat has a vital role to play at the hotel and her passionate touch ensures a memorable experience for all guests.
As a young girl growing up in Yorkshire, England, Pat recalls daily morning tea and the dining table always set for the next meal. “If you visit my home right now you would see the table is all set for dinner,” explains Pat. “It’s the small family traditions that stick with me.”
After serving as an explosive expert in World War II, Pat’s father dreamed of moving his family to Canada, and in 1965 they moved to London, Ontario. This became Pat’s hometown and where she later met her husband, Chuck.
Pat worked at Canada Trust head office for 23 years and after retiring, she and Chuck decided to move to Stratford and open their own bed and breakfast. Pat became housekeeper, chef, server, and dishwasher and loved it all!
“Serving breakfast was my favourite,” says Pat. “You had to keep up with the latest trends to stay competitive so it was exciting to have to create new dishes.”
|“I FEEL LIKE LANGDON IS MY OWN B&B AND I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER.”|
During the off season Pat and Chuck enjoyed traveling. The most memorable, Pat recalls, was their trip to Nepal. “We traveled with my cousin who builds schools so it was an incredible experience living within a small community where we cooked and ate with the local people.”
The next adventure began when they decided to build a B&B in Nova Scotia but in 2012 Chuck’s job brought them back to Ontario, as well as back to the privacy of their own home, as they chose not to continue their B&B. Pat missed cooking for her guests and ensuring their room was spotless but she found a place that would help fill that void.
“Driving up the lane to work inspires me to provide the guest with the very best,” explains Pat. “I feel like Langdon is my own B&B, and I couldn’t be happier continuing my passion by making sure the guest room is the best it can possibly be.”
Inspecting guest rooms is not an easy task, both physically and mentally. With three separate buildings and 60 guest rooms, Pat walks over 17 thousand steps a day, has 77 check points to review when inspecting each room, and helps to oversee the housekeeping team. Her past experience and natural passion to provide the best for her guests makes Pat an invaluable member of the Langdon team.
Pat and Chuck recently celebrated their 40th anniversary and are in the midst of planning their next trip to Hawaii. “We’re do-ers,” says Pat, “and I can’t see us slowing down any time soon!”
Langdon Hall’s famed gardens begin at the driveway entrance, span across the property with perennials and annuals, include a kitchen vegetable garden, decorative plants, and 75 acres of Carolinian forest. One can only imagine the time and energy needed to tend to every plant, flower, and tree. That is why Kevin’s role as Gardening Assistant is so essential to sustaining the beauty that was first envisioned in 1902 by the Olmsted Brothers, the designers of notable landscapes throughout North America.
When discovering the Earth Science class in his last year of high school, Kevin realized his love for the outdoors could perhaps morph into a career. “Growing up my dad and I loved going on canoe trips and exploring the outdoors, and my mom has always been passionate about gardens,” explains Kevin. “I wasn’t crazy about touring gardens with my mom as a kid, but that has definitely changed with age.”
After much consideration, Kevin enrolled at the University of Windsor for the Environmental Studies program with a specialty in Resource Management. Just before the summer of his second year his mom came across a job posting in the local paper for a summer position on the Grounds Team at Langdon Hall.
“I remember going to the interview and never even knowing this beautiful property existed,” says Kevin. “That summer I became a glorified weeder but what I didn’t realize was that I was literally learning from the ground up and gaining an appreciation for how a seed grows, insect interactions, consistency of the soil and so much more.”
|“EACH DAY IS DIFFERENT AND EACH SEASON BRINGS SOMETHING NEW”|
Kevin worked on the Grounds Team for four summers while completing university. After graduating he moved back to Kitchener with his girlfriend, and now fiancé, Ashlee and chose to stay at Langdon as a door porter after the summer season had ended. It was in the winter of 2014 that the position of Gardening Assistant became available and Kevin was chosen by Head Grounds Keeper Mario Muniz to fill the role.
“There was definitely a learning curve with the new role, but it was the opportunity I was waiting for,” explains Kevin. “The job is so diverse that one minute I’m creating a bouquet for a bride’s room and the next I’m learning about forest restoration. Each day is different and each season brings something new.”
Kevin also leads the seasonal crew each summer and credits his dad for the leadership skills he was able to bring to the position and values the management experience he has gained. His next goal is to finish his Horticultural Diploma through the University of Guelph that he has halfway completed.
“Looking back, a career in the Langdon Hall gardens didn’t really cross my mind while working as that glorified weeder,” says Kevin. “But this opportunity has planted a seed—as funny as that sounds—and I can’t wait to watch it grow.”
Next year, Kevin and Ashlee will say I do and a new chapter will begin. Perhaps one day Kevin will be called upon by a young property eager to design the next Olmsted inspired garden and hone in on the skills and knowledge he’s gaining from his experience at Langdon Hall to create the next beautiful masterpiece.
The secret sauce behind the kitchen doors.
When dining at your favourite restaurant you interact with your host, wait-staff and at times the chef; however, rarely do you witness the hard workers behind the kitchen doors, including the dishwasher. Raymond Jr. plays a vital role on the kitchen team as dishwasher and although he is inevitably hidden from the guest’s view, his contribution is the secret sauce behind a successful day.
Born and raised in Cambridge, Ontario, Ray Jr. is proud to call the city his home. “My parents moved from Newfoundland to Cambridge in 1969. I was born three years later and named after my father,” explains Ray Jr. “Galt, as we knew it back then, was our stomping ground and it hasn’t stopped being my home.”
One of Ray Jr.’s first jobs was a ‘sports runner’ for the Cambridge Reporter newspaper. He would get behind the scenes of the local hockey game and run the final score and exciting details back to the editor to print for the next day – a job that kept him connected to his city.
“I remember reading articles about the Langdon Hall property while working at the Reporter,” says Ray Jr. But little did he know how much Langdon Hall would impact his life until years later when his dad starting working for their head chef.
Similar to many, family is deeply important to Ray Jr. and his dad has been a guiding leader through his life. It was in August 2010 on Ray Jr.’s wedding day that the Langdon Hall kitchen family provided much needed support, and this newly extended family was there again in 2013 when Ray Jr. joined the dishwasher team in Langdon Hall’s kitchen.
“Becoming a dishwasher in a busy kitchen was a big learning curve for me and at first I was nervous about breaking the delicate dishes,” explains Ray Jr. “But I felt supported not only with my dad working beside me but by the whole team.”
|“RESPECT YOURSELF AND DO YOUR BEST”|
Ray Jr.’s days in the kitchen can be long, soggy and tough at times but as he gathers his troops to prep for the shift, reviews the itineraries and number of guests the house will be greeting, he finds his groove and away he goes. Although the kitchen environment can inevitably be hard, to Ray Jr. it is also rewarding.
“We look out for each other, we’re a family,” says Ray Jr. “Working at Langdon Hall feels like home and although my dad doesn’t work beside me any longer I always follow his advice, Respect yourself and do your best, and this includes being committed to my team.”
With his wife Christina and six year old son Matthew, Ray Jr. is grateful to have found a job that focuses on family ethics, both inside and outside the kitchen. He explains, “Being there for Christina and Matthew is very important to me and having a team that understands and values that means the world to me.”
As you drive up the winding driveway towards the revival estate house, Brendan’s welcoming smile may be your first encounter as he greets you, offers to assist with your luggage and valet your car. As Head Porter at Langdon Hall, Brendan is a liaison between the hotel and its guests. A job that has many responsibilities and is very guest focused.
At only 24 years of age, Brendan has many accomplishments to be proud of. Growing up as a middle child in Cambridge, Ontario sports became a passion for him. “I kept my parents busy by playing hockey for 18 years and competitive golf for five years with a summer on Team Ontario,” says Brendan.
Add two years of AAA baseball to Brendan’s list and one would think professional sports would be in his future; however, he chose to keep it a hobby and set off to Mohawk College to earn a Business and Marketing degree where he embraced his creative side. Like many college graduates Brendan set off to explore and became a dishwasher at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge in Alberta.
“I remember talking to the front desk staff at the Fairmont and realizing I loved the idea of interacting with guests,” explains Brendan. “This was my aha! moment of seeing myself working in hospitality and possibly making it a career.”
|“HOSPITALITY IS AN ART AND THIS IS MY CALLING”|
Feeling isolated in Alberta, Brendan returned to Cambridge, Ontario to follow his newly discovered path. “I fell in love with Langdon Hall at first sight. It is a hidden gem in my own backyard yet you feel a world away when you’re here.” Brendan was thrilled to join the team as a door porter and eager to learn the hotel standards and discover how to improve them.
In February 2017 Brendan was promoted to Head Porter. In this supervisory role, he assists with the daily management of the front desk and porters, takes part in hiring and training new staff, and leads the team to continually exceed guest expectations.
For Brendan, the most rewarding aspect of working at Langdon Hall is knowing that his role greatly impacts the success of creating an unforgettable experience for the guests. He is not simply a porter but a liaison to guests who builds trusting relationships, eases any uncertainty, and opens the door to welcome them into the Langdon Hall home.
This is just the beginning of Brendan’s career. “I ultimately want to work towards a management position at Langdon Hall and I’m fortunate to have inspiring leaders around me to learn from,” says Brendan. “Hospitality is an art and I feel that this is my calling.”
“Langdon Hall is committed to fair and accessible employment practices. We accommodate people with disabilities during the recruitment, assessment, and hiring procedures.”
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