December 4, 2019

Tisch Center Alumni Spotlight: Madeline Fauntleroy

Madeline Fauntleroy graduated in 2012 with a BS in Hotel and Tourism Management. She now works at Pier Sixty, a partnership between Abigail Kirsch Catering and Chelsea Piers that offers full service catering and event execution. Between Pier Sixty, The Lighthouse and Current, she works on about 200 events each year including fundraising galas, corporate dinners, holiday parties, all day conferences/meetings and lots of weddings & Bar/Bat Mitzvahs.

What has your journey been like after graduating NYU?

As soon as I graduated from NYU, I accepted a Sales Admin position at Pier Sixty and have been here ever since! I actually visited Pier Sixty with my Food, Beverage and Catering Operations class where a group of five directors spoke to us about the industry and Pier Sixty. I was really captivated by their passion for events and the overall sense of community and warmth they exuded as a collective. I asked A LOT of questions that day which helped me stand out. It was the perfect place to start because I had the opportunity to learn so many aspects of the business from that vantage point with client exposure. After about a year, I was promoted to the Senior Sales Admin. Later, I moved into operations in the administrative capacity and was responsible for all of the service staff scheduling and supporting our Event Managers. Ultimately, I became an Event Manager and then Assistant Director of Banquets. Outside of work, I have embraced living in NYC wholeheartedly. I have run the NYC Marathon twice plus qualified for, and ran the Boston marathon in that process. I also met my now fiance here in New York and we will be getting married here in March. I’m from California but New York has become my home and I thank NYU for bringing me here, connecting me, and setting me up with the foundation and resources to be successful here.

Can you talk about your current role at Pier Sixty? 

In my current role as Assistant Director of Banquets, I split my time in a few ways. First, I detail and execute our social business (weddings & bar/bat mitzvahs). I love this part of my job because I get to work with our brides and grooms to select their menus, create a timeline for the day of their event, develop a floor plan, coordinate with vendors, and ultimately be on site to run the wedding. I am essentially given to the bride and groom as their day-of coordinator. The second major part of my job is corporate business. For corporate events, I am the client’s or planner’s point of contact and manage the event from a service, food and setup point of view. Third, along with our Director, I am responsible for a service staff of over 200 employees. On any given event we may have up to 100 people working and it is my responsibility to assign them to different tasks and make sure those tasks are accomplished. I am also there if they have a personal issue, behavioral issue, etc. Fourth, I work with our Event Managers and Captains to make sure everyone is trained and up to date on changes to policies and procedures. I am in constant contact with a variety of people, all in an effort to keep everyone on the same page and working toward the same goal. Lastly, I interact with our Sales team and Corporate Production teams to review future events and help them determine the best course of action for accomplishing our client’s needs and desires. 

What are you passionate about in the work that you do?

I am really passionate about helping to create an environment where people come to have fun, learn something or raise money for a good cause. My job can be highly stimulating and I always try to remember what the goal for that particular event is, be it someone’s special wedding day or an effort to raise money for charity. Also, if I’m being honest, I am a total type A control freak and find great pleasure in the opportunity to organize, plan and ultimately wrangle the chaos that can come along with a complex event.

In what ways has your NYU experience had an impact on your career and shaped who you are today?

NYU gave me the foundation for what has been the best chapter of my life. NYU provided me with a community when I moved here and knew no one. NYU introduced me to my best friend, Tiffany. NYU taught me how to think in a bigger way than I’d ever experienced. My professors were engaging and brilliant, and because we were in NYC, they had so many connections and resources to share with us. NYU provided me with so much more than just an academic experience, and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to be a student there.

What career advice would you give to NYU students?

I am so full of advice these days so take what you want and leave the rest! I think most of my advice is based around how I felt when I was graduating; I was nervous about finding a job and I had led myself to believe that I needed to know everything prior to starting said job. Hopefully this resonates for someone. The first three are really for those of you looking for jobs.

1. You do not have to know everything about the position you are applying for. You need a willingness to learn and curiosity – they will teach you!

2. If you aren’t exactly sure what you want to do, start somewhere. Accept a position that seems good enough, start working and you will learn about so many other jobs that you didn’t know exist. You will learn what you don’t want to do which is also valuable.

3. Be OK with starting in an entry level job. If you work hard, you will not be there for long.

4. Work hard. Don’t look for the easy way out or the get rich quick scheme. Just do it. You will earn respect, autonomy and authority by learning to do your job and learning to do it well. Take pride in that. If you keep working hard and moving forward, good things will happen and opportunities will present themselves.

5. Be kind to everyone you come into contact with – you never know where they will end up or when your paths will cross again.

6. Remain professional at work. Do not let the company holiday party be the one day a year you let loose, do that on your own time!

7. Do not say anything about anyone in an email that you would not say to his/her face. Just don’t put it in writing.

8. Stay positive. It’s OK to vent every now and then about the struggles that undeniably come along with being a working professional, but don’t make it a habit. Negativity is a tough habit to break and creates a really toxic office environment. You do not want to be the person lowering morale.

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