Erika Mehnert graduated in 2015 with a BS in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality. She is currently the Assistant General Manager at Quaker Ridge Golf Club, a top 50 golf club in the United States.
What has your journey been like after graduating NYU?
After graduating from NYU, I jumped straight into the private club industry! I graduated in the morning and then that afternoon I was on the Jitney out to the Hamptons to start working the following day. After working one season out in the Hamptons it slowed down quite a bit after Labor Day and I ended up looking for a different career opportunity. I came across a country club in Westchester County (just north of the Bronx) which was looking for an Assistant Event Coordinator role. I worked my way up to the Event Coordinator position and was with the country club for five years. I have recently taken a new leap in becoming the Assistant General Manager at Quaker Ridge Golf Club where I started in November 2020.
Can you talk about your current role at Quaker Ridge Golf Club?
I am the Assistant General Manager at Quaker Ridge, which means I am the number two person at the Club just under the General Manager. I am responsible for checking in on all aspects of the club; golf, tennis, pool, dining, etc. I have department heads who handle the day-to-day operations of their departments, but I am continuously checking in and lending a hand. It is a little bit different now working through a pandemic with a multitude of restrictions, but every day we are learning better ways to do the best job we can and keep everyone happy and safe. Any given day I could be helping the servers because lunch got slammed, setting up stations on the golf course for an outing, checking in on the lifeguards at the pool, or meeting with members to discuss a wedding. Every day is different, and that is why I love it so much!
What are you passionate about in the work that you do?
As I mentioned in the question above, every day that I go to work is different. I like that I am moving around and talking to people and keep going instead of sitting at a desk behind a computer. I go through a lot of shoes from the walking, but it is worth it! I also love working with so many different types of people from different places around the world that do different jobs at the club. I still learn new things every day and I think that is wonderful!
In what ways has your NYU experience had an impact on your career and shaped who you are today?
NYU has had a huge impact on my career. The classes taught me an understanding of the industry I was going into and different aspects of the industry that I should know. For instance, I knew I didn’t ever want to work in HR or Accounting but knowing how those departments work within my industry is crucial. No business operates well if the departments are not connected and aware of how they help each other. The classes were fantastic, but the other key part of my college education was networking. I 100% recommend getting to know your classmates and your professors as they will be instrumental for your future! Your classmates and professors could be your colleagues or bosses one day, so use that connection!
What career advice would you give to NYU students?
I would say my biggest piece of career advice would be to have an open mind about the hospitality industry. At first, I thought that I only wanted to go into event planning because that is what I enjoyed the most, however if I had only pursued that I would have never ended up where I am now. Do not pigeon-hole yourself, be open to new opportunities and experiences. Sure, I have had jobs and internships that I did not love, but I learned that I wanted to try other experiences and grew from it. When you are starting off in this industry post-college it is challenging to break in. Sometimes you must start in a position you don’t love to work your way up or over into something else. If you show a strong work ethic and passion about what you are doing you will end up where you are supposed to!