Splash Universe Indoor Water Park and Best Western Dundee
Dundee, Michigan - USA
Featured in "World Waterpark Magazine," May 2019
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE?
I began my aquatics career with the YMCA. While working at the Y, I attended Monroe County Community College. After leaving the YMCA, I began my journey with Splash Universe with my first title being Aquatics Manager.
WHAT CERTIFICATION OR LICENSING DO YOU HAVE?
Over the past 20 years, I have been an instructor for YMCA of the USA, American Red Cross and Jeff Ellis & Associates, as well as a certified Swim Instructor, Water Fitness Instructor and coach.
WHAT HONORS, AWARDS OR SPECIAL RECOGNITION HAVE YOU ACHIEVED?
While working with the YMCA, I launched our first community-based water safety program which resulted in community foundation awards. I have always been very proud of my teams, who successfully earned EXCEEDS through all audits when with E&A, and I have been recognized by our ownership for excellence.
WHAT MADE YOU GO INTO THIS FIELD? FATE?
My mom made me take swimming lessons as a 15 year old, which was embarrassing. Growing up in Michigan, you have to have a sense of awareness about the water. In my final session, my instructor suggested I take the lifeguard course they were offering in the following week. It was my first job, and I fell in love.
WHAT ASPECT OF THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY DO YOU LIKE BEST?
Is it fair to say I love it all?
WHO HAS MOST INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
Lots of people deserve shout outs, including: Mike Howard, Mark Moore, Jeremiah Whitman, Christina Lamson, Kristynn Herrold, Shaun Mendez and Julia Paugh. However, I am most inspired by all of the teams that I have been accountable to.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE GREATEST CHALLENGE IN YOUR WATERPARK CAREER?
Our facility was struck by a tornado in 2010. Rebuilding took 9 months, sweat, tears and blood. Yet, having to stand in front of our entire team and lay off 120 people indefinitely was one of the most difficult conversations I never thought I would have.
HOW DO YOU KEEP FOCUSED AND MOTIVATED?
The best practice for me is a written plan. I always try to have a 30-, 60-, 90-day plan that is fluid and working document. The plan makes me hold myself accountable, but also gives me the satisfaction of seeing achievements on paper.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO IS INTERESTED IN WORKING IN THE WATERPARK INDUSTRY?
Find yourself a mentor or 5, and document, document, document.
WHAT BOOKS OR PUBLICATIONS DO YOU RELY ON MOST FOR INSPIRATION OR MOTIVATION?
I sign up for information anywhere I can get it. Not just waterpark specific, but also information on general leadership, trends for consumers, government policies, marketing trends, drowning prevention, etc. I love short blips that can be daily motivators and reminders. Cameron Morrissey does a great job with videos on social media and I love to share them with my staff.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
Staff development and community relations. Working with our facility marketing, I have the pleasure of building some great relationships with media, business owners and community leaders. But, when you get a 3 a.m. phone call from a previous lifeguard, who through his tears is profusely thanking you for making him master his skills, which ultimately saved the life of his brother, nothing can be a better feeling than knowing what we do has such as lasting impact on the lives of people.
WHAT CAREER OR BUSINESS WOULD YOU CONSIDER IF YOU WERE STARTING ALL OVER AGAIN?
Being a biology nerd, I would pursue work with invasive species control and management.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH THE WWA?
Our facility has worked closely with WWA from its beginning.
WHAT IS SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOU THAT FEW KNOW OR WOULD GUESS?
I am married with 2 beautiful children, Angyl (6) and Brantley (4). My husband and I met at a horse pull event where he was a participant. He now he competes in weight competitions with our children. Talk about romance.