Working in the Rockies Staff Blog – Shanice Mercado
Name and hometown. These are the only two lines that read on every employee name badge. As a guest checks in to their cabin, lodge, family reunion, or conference, as they order a cup of hot chocolate from the Rustic Cafe, or sign up for archery at Sweet Memorial – whether it’s the housekeeper that made your bed that morning or the server that prepared your breakfast, every YMCA employee and volunteer is first known by those little two lines: Hi my name is _________, from ________.
Yet behind each name badge is a face and a story. So rather than reading between the lines, we would like to introduce you to people that make hospitality happen. As we are Working in the Rockies, we want to recognize the outstanding employees, their service to the Y community, and the invaluable experience that comes with living, working, and playing at the YMCA of the Rockies.
An international staff member from the Philippines, Shanice serves the YMCA of the Rockies as a Guest Registration Attendant. After a year of working in the Rockies, we had the honor of sitting down with Shanice to reflect on her past year Working in the Rockies. It was clear that this story is far more than the two lines on a name badge.
With a Hospitality degree in hand, Shanice chose to pursue her career in America with a Work & Travel program. She wanted to prove that hospitality is more than waiting tables and serving in the food industry, but rather a relational and communicative field, a career devoted to serving others. Aspiring to one day become a Hotel Manager, Shanice blazed her own trail outside of her family’s expectations to become a Geodetic engineer. Whether it was jokingly dancing in the lobby or simply checking in a guest, Shanice described her year behind the front desk as a not just a job, but a fun and “unforgettable” experience.
Shanice explained her day to day life as always having a smile on her face. As a Guest Registration Attendant at the front desk, Shanice realized that hers was the first interaction a guest has with the organization. Because of this, a smile is just as much of a uniform as her burgundy shirt and black pants.
As an international staff member, life in America was quite the adjustment. Shanice even described having a sort of transformational experience from a shy and quiet girl to a confident and outspoken worker. Independent and experienced, Shanice is ending the year with the advice to believe in yourself.
As she reflected on her year living in the mountains, Shanice described loving the atmosphere and community here where she found friends of all backgrounds and ethnicities. She even said the great diversity at the YMCA was a factor in her decision process in coming to America.
Shanice’s biggest piece of advice to an new employee would be to apply for a job that you really love, to not give up, and don’t forget that work can be fun. She loved the front desk because there was something new to do everyday and she never got bored of interacting with both the guests and her fellow co workers.
She described the opportunity as a resume builder and unique learning experience. Shanice mentioned how her managers at the YMCA were not the stereotypical authority figures she had come to know back in the Philippines, but helpful and understanding supervisors who were willing to go out of their way to serve their employees and guests in any way possible. Shanice said that the leadership she saw at the Y redefined what it meant to be a manager.
As Shanice returns home for her next endeavor, Shanice can’t wait to be reunited with her family and traditional Filipino food. She hopes to eventually come back to America for another job in the hospitality industry.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Shanice! We wish you the best in your next season!