A Cohnversation with Suzanne Gildea
Jim Cohn: Hi Suzanne. It's been a real treat getting to know and work with you at Normandy Farm for the last, what, 3 years now? Love your energy and excitement about the venue. What did you do prior to coming to the property and what was your role once you arrived?
Suzanne Gildea: Thanks so much, Jim! Prior to joining the team full time at Normandy Farm and Blue Bell Country Club, I was busy completing a senior internship at Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar in Philadelphia. With that being said, I have had the pleasure of really growing up at Normandy Farm.
I first fell in love with the hospitality industry while working at our hotel’s front desk in 2011. From there, I was lucky enough to hold the following positions: Junior Intern, Sales and Planning, then moved to Restaurant Sales Manager and Planner. I moved into Social Sales, then Corporate Planning, then Conference and Meetings Manager, stepped up to Associate Director of Corporate Sales and now, Corporate Sales Director. Whew! I do love it here.
JC: So, what was it that made you decide to transition into sales? And what have you enjoyed the most while selling the property or getting to know your clients?
SG: It was always my dream to be in corporate sales, specifically. While working at the front desk, I was captivated with the relationships that our corporate sales managers had with our guests. It was from there that I was determined to gain that same role. While you build relationships in every sales role, I really enjoy the close relationship the corporate sales role has with folks from the local community and beyond. Getting to know all our corporate guests, the companies and people they represent and what is important to them is so interesting to me. I truly feel that the property’s history, ambience, service and amenities are one-of-a-kind. Sharing our story with everyone will forever be exciting to me.
JC: What new things happening at Normandy Farm or the Farmer's Daughter are you excited to tell our readership about? What would you like to see happen there to expand the possibilities?
SG: There are always new and exciting things happening here. We are constantly updating the decor, amenities and farm-to-table menu our venues have to offer. In fact, we are just weeks away from renovating the last two historic gatehouse suites that surround our property; completing a multi-million-dollar renovation of our hotel, conference center and country club. Our culinary executives are in the midst of rolling out a new seasonal menu in our on-site restaurant, the Farmer’s Daughter, and we just put the final touches on a brand-new brochure of team building programs for our corporate guests. We are forever evolving, and our job is never done. Going into 2020, we will continue to look for exciting ways to enhance the retreat experience at Normandy Farm and Blue Bell Country Club for our corporate guests, so stay tuned!
JC: Your culinary team building is major part of Normandy Farm and the Farmer's Daughter with Chef Abu and Chef Sam behind on the front line. Has that become a big selling point to corporations?
SG: Yes, it sure has! Food brings people together and is such an important aspect to any event. We are so incredibly fortunate to have such a talented culinary team at Normandy Farm. Our culinary and bakeshop team buildings allow us to share the talent of our team with our corporate customers who really enjoy learning new skills with their colleagues from our culinary experts.
JC: Let's talk about events. We have participated in some of your great events - do you have anything currently in the works?
SG: Our marketing executives are always busy putting together exciting, ticketed events that highlight the attributes of our property. We just completed our successful summer BBQ series and are currently in the midst of detailing a Murder Mystery dinner that will take place this Fall, and a New Year’s Eve celebration this winter. In between is our famous Thanksgiving Buffet. Following the end of the year, we are very much looking forward to hosting MPI Philadelphia’s 2020 Education Institute. We cannot wait to take great care of everyone and share with our corporate friends the latest and greatest amenities our property has to offer.