It’s hard to believe all that Tiffany Holland has overcome—including crippling PTSD and depression from a tough childhood—to get to where she is now. In just 18 months, she advanced from her entry-level position at the front desk of the Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham in Marianna, Fla., an Aimbridge Hospitality-managed property, to become front desk supervisor. Now, she is poised to go farther still. Holland, who recently graduated from the AHLA Foundation’s Manager Apprenticeship Program, shared with LODGING her experience in the program and with the company that was willing to invest in a future that she has good reason to believe will lead to a dream-come-true position as a general manager.
Holland’s entry into hospitality was through food service management, but she was looking for a new start after going through hard times in her personal life. She wanted a position that would enable her to grow and learn while providing for her family. She quickly realized she had found what she was looking for when she began working at a hotel front desk. “I liked everything about being there—meeting new people and working with great people. You can see their passion for what they do and it motivated me to grow more and learn more,” she describes.
When her manager sent her an email about the apprenticeship program, suggesting she’d be a great fit, she agreed. “They were looking for 50 motivated people; that was me, so I applied and was accepted.”
“If you see someone that you believe in, get behind them, because when you believe in somebody, they start believing in themselves.”
Holland says she was the first to graduate from the program, which immediately transformed her work life. “Suddenly, I wasn’t just working at the front desk; I was being exposed to managerial skills and information, with job rotations through financial management, marketing and sales management, human resources management, rooms management, food and beverage management, and supervisory and leadership skills. It enabled me to grow not only as a front desk manager, but to see beyond it, to the day when I can become a general manager.”
It seems apparent that that day isn’t so far off. Holland says her regional operational director is already looking for opportunities for her. “I’m so excited to know that I’m getting sought out to manage my own hotel. This apprenticeship program has definitely opened doors for me,” she says.
Holland is extremely grateful to Aimbridge Hospitality for helping her change her life and her career. “This company has really made my dreams come true. When I was working in food management, I was also battling depression and PTSD—I was stuck in a place I had to get out of. But, when I started working for Aimbridge, all these good things started happening to me because of the whole environment—the company, the managers, and, of course, the apprenticeship program. Not only has this program helped me develop my skills, it also has helped me mentally to fight the demons I was battling with.”
Holland is happy to be a model for others who are now where she was such a short time ago. Her advice to them is, “Don’t settle. You can succeed in whatever you want to do, but you have to put the work in, you have to be dedicated, you have to be motivated, and you have to be surrounded by positivity and the right people. Once you believe in yourself, there are no boundaries to what you can do.”
Holland also fully plans to pay it forward when she has the chance to encourage a colleague, just as she was promoted and encouraged to apply for the apprenticeship program. “I want to have a positive impact on somebody else’s life. I would say if you see someone that you believe in, get behind them, because when you believe in somebody, they start believing in themselves. And anything is possible with belief. Anything.”