Leaving your comfort zone to pursue a brand new endeavour is a brave undertaking. For Cassandra Cann, applying to be the first candidate of Langdon Hall’s newly created Manager-In-Training program came with a fear of the unknown. Now, after completing almost half of the program she is brimming with confidence and excitement for the future.
Cassandra was born and raised in Cambridge amongst her large Portuguese family who value the importance of supporting one another. As her parents both worked, she was often with her grandparents learning the family traditions and speaking Portuguese. When she was 16 years old the love of her life moved in next door.
“I remember when James and his family moved in and became our neighbours,” recalls Cassandra. “I told my mom that one day I was going to marry him,” she laughs. Cassandra stayed true to her word as she has now been with her husband James for 12 years and they have two loving children.
To Cassandra, family life matters the most so it was important for her to stay home with her son and daughter when they were young. She loved being a stay-at-home mom but once both children were in school she was ready to get back to the workforce.
“I remember hearing through a friend about a position opening in the Housekeeping department at Langdon Hall,” recalls Cassandra. “So I submitted my resume and before I knew it I was hired as a part-time Housekeeper in the summer of 2014.”
Cassandra fit right in with the team and by the fall she was offered a full-time position. “One of the best parts of this position was being able to explore the whole property through each guest room,” explains Cassandra. “When I was young, my dream was to be an interior designer so you can only imagine how quickly I fell in love with the property.”
In addition to the beauty of the property, Cassandra also felt at home among her colleagues who she bonded with quickly and now considers her work family. “It’s an incredible feeling to wake up every day and look forward to going to work,” smiles Cassandra.
A few years passed and Cassandra’s confidence in her position became second nature and her work-life balance perfectly allowed her to stay the active mom she desired to be for her children. Then a new opportunity arose that would lead Cassandra out of her comfort zone and down an exciting path.
In the spring of 2018, Langdon Hall launched a new employee initiative called the Manager-In-Training program (MIT) to provide current staff with an opportunity to pursue professional development in the hotel industry. This three-year program provides the candidate with the opportunity to rotate through four departments every six months committing to a two-year development program, followed by one year in a supervisory role upon completion.
“I remember seeing the posting for the new MIT program and went home to tell James about it,” recalls Cassandra. “At first I wasn’t sure but then three different managers encouraged me to apply. With their confidence in me and James’ support, I nervously left my comfort zone and submitted my application.”
After a little hesitation, Cassandra became the first employee to successfully join the MIT program. For her first six months, she joined the Sales and Catering team where she experienced her first desk-job and the organization behind larger onsite events. Following this position, she joined the Human Resources team to gain a better understanding of employee relations, WSIB and even started a new staff newsletter.
“I honestly believe every MIT candidate should experience HR,” explains Cassandra. “As a future supervisor, I gained an extensive amount of knowledge that I know will greatly benefit my ability to lead staff in the future.”
Cassandra has now completed almost a year and a half of the program and is fully immersed in her third department – Conference. She is back on her feet setting up meeting rooms and weddings, as well as experiencing food and beverage service for the first time.
“It feels great to be back on my feet and moving around the whole property again,” explains Cassandra. “I’ll admit, I’m still terrified about dropping a tray of food but the team is so supportive and I have gained a wealth of knowledge.”
Cassandra will move to her final department in January before completing the two-year portion of the program. She may not yet know what supervisory role she will evolve to but time will soon tell.
“The best part of the MIT program is seeing how departments intertwine with each other and work together to create a magical guest experience,” says Cassandra. “The personal experience has also been truly valuable. My confidence is higher than it has ever been and I am very excited about what the future holds.”
While at first nervous about applying for the program, especially while trying to support a young family, the support of her family and colleagues encouraged Cassandra to take a leap and challenge herself. She is now excited and thrilled to have the opportunity to become the first employee to ever complete the MIT program at Langdon Hall.