“My generation tends to want to give their time more than money,” says Jenny Vasquez, General Manager at the Courtyard Marriott in Federal Way and chair of MSC’s Crab Feed for the last two years. “We’re more team-oriented, and devoted to causes. So when I got to Federal Way, I thought immediately ‘Here’s my opportunity.’ MSC is a great organization that serves a lot of needs.”
The 2015 Crab Feed was a fundraising success, which Vasquez credits mostly to the hard work of the committee and volunteers. But she adds that her experiences in the hotel industry gave her the perfect preparation for organizing fundraising events.
“Most of what I do professionally is event planning,” she says. “I do enjoy more direct, hands-on projects the most, but there just aren’t as many opportunities for those. Growing up, I was always interested in community service, and as an adult I wanted to feel more connected to the community I live and work in.”
Vasquez says one way she’s different from a lot of her peers is that her path from school to a career followed a very straight line.
“When I was in high school, my father suggested I look into hotel management,” she says. “It’s not the kind of career that immediately comes to mind, like law or medicine.”
A Puyallup native, Vasquez entered the hospitality management program at Washington State University, and by the time she graduated she already had a job offer from Marriott.
“I had done two internships for them, and then they offered me a job in Southern California,” she says. She was in California for nine years, before returning five years ago—and when she came back she brought a new addition to the family, her husband Ned.
“I had to convince him to move up here, but he loves it now,” she says, laughing. The couple has since adopted a son, Andrew, and Vasquez worked on but didn’t attend the Crab Feed this year because it was Andrew’s first birthday. “Family comes first.”
With Andrew just learning to walk and her hotel about to go under renovations, Vasquez is still considering whether or not she will chair the Crab Feed again. Either way, she intends to stay involved—and encourages others to pitch in as well.
“There are a lot of opportunities to connect and volunteer,” she says. “I’d like us to tell people more about what the needs are for volunteering. Ask what the challenges are here. What are the holes that need filling?”
To learn more about volunteering and request more info visit http://mschelps.org/getinvolved/volunteer/.