From Nursing to Hospitality “By Accident” – Meet Cassandra Arndt
Cassandra Arndt is a confident Lakeshore Technical College Hospitality Management program graduate looking at a bright future. How she got to this point was a bit of “an accident.”
Cassandra graduated from Sheboygan Falls High School in 2017 and was on what most would consider a good education path. That fall, while enrolled as a Nursing program student at LTC and working as a Resident Assistant, Cassandra got into an accident which caused her to stop working and take time off from school. Ready to get back to work in March 2018, she accepted a position working the front desk at the Inn on Woodlake in Kohler – a position she enjoyed so much, it led her to change career paths.
“Once I started at Woodlake, it didn’t take me long to realize that I wasn’t ‘just working a front desk.’ I saw a career in what I was doing, and I decided to leave nursing behind and learn all I could about the hospitality industry,” said Cassandra. That included going back to LTC and enrolling in the Hospitality Management program.
“My favorite thing about working at Woodlake is that I get to interact so much with our guests and help them enjoy their stay as much as possible,” says Cassandra. “I also learn so much from my coworkers, especially my first manager, Ashleigh Yonke. She gave me exposure to many different areas of the hospitality industry, and that has been a huge factor in my decision to make this a career.”
Cassandra’s next step is to continue working at Kohler Co. and grow through different leadership roles. She hopes to apply for the Management Development Program led by Shawn Dortman, Resident Manager of the Inn on Woodlake and The American Club. She will also be taking advantage of the Lake to Lake transfer agreement between LTC and Lakeland University to earn her bachelor’s degree beginning in late May 2020. She doesn’t quite know where she’ll end up, though she’s confident it will be somewhere in the hospitality industry serving others.
In her free time, Cassandra enjoys spending time with family, including her nieces and nephews. She has also volunteered with the Literacy Council of Sheboygan where she taught English as a second language to adult learners.
Cassandra’s confidence in herself is obvious today, though that wasn’t always the case. In high school she was rather shy, and credits her hospitality experience and leadership roles in LTC’s Student Government Association and Hospitality Club with helping her become more confident communicating with people.
“If you had met me just a few years ago, you would not see the same person speaking to you today,” says Cassandra.
Cassandra’s advice for anyone considering a career in hospitality: “Don’t be afraid to try different things. Taking that first step can be the hardest, but you need to take that step to get started.”
She also has encouraging words for those considering changing their career paths at any age. “It’s okay for you to change paths to better suit what makes you happy. It’s okay if your original plan doesn’t work out. It’s okay to fail. But what’s not okay is to never get back up and try again.”