In honor of Black History Month the “Celebrating Our People” series will be showcasing a few of Proof of the Pudding’s talented Black American chefs and managers and their contribution to the culinary industry. We are dedicated to sharing their personal journeys through the world of food. Join us in celebrating the outstanding contributions of these black hospitality and culinary POPstars!

Express Meetings Manager at the Georgia International Convention Center

POP:  Thanks so much for the chat today Victoria! Let’s start with, what inspired you to have a career in hospitality?
VICTORIA:  It’s fast paced and changes all the time. Growing up I had the passion to become a nurse, medical examiner or forensic scientist. A funny thing happened…I needed a job. LOL. Once I began working at the GICC and getting to know the industry, what it takes to do the job, and how I can be an asset, I realized that my purpose is to serve. Working at the GICC provides diversity within the building and with the clients; from the receptionist, to concierge, to housekeeping, to operations, to the kitchen staff, banquets to the executive offices from all corners of the world bringing their own language, cultural background and ideas on how to efficiently work within the industry. It also gives you an opportunity to develop yourself, personally and professionally. You improve on the quality characteristics you already have by communicating with co-workers, clients, and experience from every event – especially the events that put you to the test. IT’S FUN TOO!

POP: What adversities have you faced during your career in hospitality?
VICTORIA:  Stereotypes and the expectations because I was young, black, a millennial, brand new to the industry and had no experience whatsoever, was the most challenging.

POP: How did these adversities affect your career?
VICTORIA:  These adversities made me push harder to express and deliver the ME that no one knew. I educated myself while receiving guidance from leaders who saw how hungry I was. I sat down and conversed with anyone willing to talk, to get an understanding of why these are the stereotypes and expectations. I listened, I learned, and in return, I expressed myself while delivering professionalism, exceptional customer service, proficient knowledge and integrity at all cost. Having conversations matter and could be more effective in getting an understanding of how to relate to others with an open mind.

POP:  What has been your motivation for staying in the industry?
VICTORIA:  It’s never boring! Whether is a new challenge, hence COVID, it is an opportunity to grow and be a part of a new trend or “norm” no one ever thought about before.

POP:  How long have you been with POP?
VICTORIA:  ONE YEAR this time around and 4 years previously.

POP:  What do you love about working at Proof?
VICTORIA:  I love the team I work with.

POP:  When eating out what is your favorite restaurant?
VICTORIA:  Maggiano’s Little Italy, GUMBO’s or Big Daddy’s Café on Cascade.

POP:  What dish or ingredient best represents you and your culture?
VICTORIA:  Lamb, salmon, smothered pork chops, Jameson (whiskey). I’m a true GEORGIA PEACH with a Splash of NORTHERN IRELAND.

by Kelly Treadway in Team