800.798.7098   •   563.556.4200
200 Main Street   •   Dubuque, IA 52001

Category Archive: Meet The Team

  1. Meet The Team: Sonja Harris

    Name: Sonja HarrisSonja_Harris_Meet_The_Team

    Title: Director of Hotel Sales

    Hometown: Galena, IL

    1. How long have you been with Hotel Julien Dubuque? 6 years

    2. What path brought you to Hotel Julien Dubuque? Please share a little bit about your professional background and what led you to this industry. I’ve worked in the hospitality industry for 23 years and loved it from the very start.  I majored in fashion merchandising in college, but found hospitality to be far more engaging.  I began my career in the hospitality industry at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa. I worked there for 17 years.  In 2012, I crossed the river to Hotel Julien Dubuque as their Sales Manager. I recently accepted the position of Director of Hotel Sales in August.  I truly enjoy our clientele and being a part of the growth of this extraordinary property.

    3. What are you most passionate about professionally? I’m passionate about helping people find success for their events that are important to them by providing the perfect venue and services.

    4. What are you passionate about personally? What is your favorite way to spend a free weekend? I love to cook & spend time outdoors walking, bike riding & kayaking.

    5. What are some of your favorite things to do in the Dubuque area? Boating on the Mississippi, Saturday mornings at Farmers Market and exploring Mines of Spain.

    6. What do you love most about Hotel Julien Dubuque? The beauty, I feel lucky to walk thru the doors of such a beautiful environment everyday.

    7. What is your personal motto?  What you do everyday matters more that what you do every once in a while.

    8. Describe your typical work day. Hotel Julien Dubuque is a bustling hotel and the busiest environment I have ever worked in.  My days are full of interaction with new and interesting people.  Each day is different and unpredictable.

    9. Please share a go-to fun-fact about yourself. I’m a first generation American.  My father is from Italy and my mother from Germany – I have been fortunate to be raised with influence of two different cultures.

  2. Meet the Team: Samantha Korman

    Name: Samantha KormanSamantha Korman_Wedding Specialist

    Title: Wedding Specialist Sales Manager

    Hometown: West Palm Beach, Florida

    How long have you been with Hotel Julien Dubuque? I have been with Hotel Julien Dubuque since April 2018.

    What path brought you to Hotel Julien Dubuque? Weddings have always been something I have loved. Whether it was watching various shows on TV or helping my friends plan their weddings, it’s always been something I have enjoyed. Professionally, I have been in the wedding industry for 3+ years working my way up from Wedding Assistant to Wedding Coordinator to where I am now as Wedding Specialist Sales Manager at Hotel Julien Dubuque.

    What are you most passionate about professionally? I have always been a people pleaser and enjoy customer service. Being in the wedding industry allows me to do both. I love building relationships with couples and their loved ones. I feel honored that every couple I work with at Hotel Julien Dubuque trusts me to help plan and execute the most important day of their lives. And at the end of the day, seeing all of the love and happiness on a couple’s wedding day reminds me that I have found my true calling and my heart is full.

    What are you passionate about personally? What is your favorite way to spend a free weekend? When I am not working weekends, I love to spend time with my daughter. My husband and I are expecting a baby in November, so we are soaking up all the time we can with her. I do also love a good cat nap and golfing.

    What are some of your favorite things to do in the Dubuque area? Being from Florida, we never got experience the seasons as we do in Iowa, so I enjoy soaking up all four here. I love to go out on the river during the summers or riding snowmobiles in the winter and everything else in between.

    What do you love most about Hotel Julien Dubuque? How welcoming everyone has been. I feel like I have worked here for years and not just five months or so.

    What is your personal motto? That I treat every wedding as if it were my own.

    Describe your typical work day: I check emails, meet with couples to go over details of their special day and check out the latest wedding trends.

    Please share a go-to fun-fact about yourself. What most don’t know about me is I am a huge tomboy. I love hunting, fishing and shooting guns. I also love working on or talking about cars with my dad. It has been something we have bonded over since I was 11 years old. We actually rebuilt my first car together. Not many girls are mechanically inclined and I am very proud that I am.

    Is there anything else that you’d like to share? Looking to book a wedding? Contact me either by email at weddings@hoteljuliendubuque.com or by phone at (563)588-5568. And be sure to follow our Weddings at Hotel Julien Dubuque Facebook and Instagram pages for tips, info, pics and more!

    #yourdreamyourday

  3. Meet The Team: Chiquitta Carroll

    Name: Chiquitta Carroll

    Title: Licensed Massage TherapistChaquitta Carroll

    Hometown: Dubuque, IA

    How long have you been with Hotel Julien Dubuque? Four and a half years.

    What path brought you to Hotel Julien Dubuque?  I was previously in the nursing field before changing to the beauty and wellness industry. My doctor recommended I look into an alternative to to nursing, because of the mental and emotional stress it was having on me. I switched fields in 2010 starting with cosmetology. I became dual licensed in 2014, by adding massage therapy. I recently completed my certification in Yoga Instruction in May of this year.

    What are you most passionate about professionally? Understanding and specializing in pain management.

    What are you passionate about personally? What is your favorite way to spend a free weekend? I’m an outgoing introvert, so I enjoy my alone time as well as camping and pottery.

    What are some of your favorite things to do in the Dubuque area? Spending time outdoors at Mines of Spain and Eagle Point Park.

    What do you love most about Hotel Julien Dubuque? I love Potosa Spa and my co-workers.

    What is your personal motto? Respect: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

    Describe your typical work day: Busy! My feet hit the floor at 6am and I’m on the run till 8pm at night.

    Please share a go-to fun-fact about yourself. I’m allergic to bananas.

    Is there anything else that you’d like to share? I’m thinking about going back to school to become a chiropractor.

  4. Meet The Team: Lucy Merfeld

    Lucy_Merfeld_Meet_the_team_Potosa_Spa

    Name: Lucy Merfeld

    Title: Cosmetologist/LMT

    Hometown: Epworth, IA

    How long have you been with Hotel Julien Dubuque? 4 years

    What path brought you to Hotel Julien Dubuque? I came to Potosa Spa for the calming atmosphere and opportunity to utilize both my massage and cosmetology skills.

    What are you most passionate about professionally? I really love the versatility of all the services I am able to perform but, what I am most passionate about is working with brides on their special day. I enjoy both styling and applying their make-up for what is one of the most important days of their life!

    What are you passionate about personally? What is your favorite way to spend a free weekend? I am passionate about being outside and enjoying nature. My favorite way to spend the weekend is being with friends and family on the river.

    What are some of your favorite things to do in the Dubuque area? Some of my favorite things to do in the Dubuque area would be anything on the water, whether it’s relaxing by the pool, boating, going on the beach, floating backwaters, or canoeing. I also enjoy four wheeling, bike rides, hikes, fishing, gardening and trying different restaurants.

    What do you love most about Hotel Julien Dubuque? I love the diversity of clients we see come through the spa/salon. I enjoy hearing their stories of life experiences or places they have been or plan on going.

    What is your personal motto? Travel as much as you can!  And, always be humble and kind to others. You never know what some people are going through and you can make a difference just by being kind to others.

    Describe your typical work day: My typical work day is different everyday depending on what services I have. I come in set up for everything. In between clients take laundry down and inventory.

    Is there anything else that you’d like to share? Book you next appointment at Potosa Spa with me!

  5. Meet the Team: Diane Kaufman

    Leading a team of over 20 individuals in executing some of life’s most memorable events is no easy task, but Banquet Manager Diane Kaufman’s attention to detail, infectious enthusiasm, bright smile, and enormous amounts of energy make her the perfect person for the job! 

    What path brought you to Hotel Julien Dubuque?
    “I love working with people. My very first job was at a local pizza and kids play place called Kid’s World. I started working there at the age of 14 and worked there until the restaurant closed when I was 18 years old. I moved up to a supervisor at age 16 and was responsible for opening and closing the store, leading other employees, managing the register and taking care of the cash drop at the end of the night. This was one of my favorite jobs as a teenager. I then went to school and obtained a degree in social work from the University of Northern Iowa in 2005.  I worked as a Domestic Violence counselor from 2005 until 2010.

    When the program I worked for closed due to funding, I decided to go back to school as well as start working as a server in the hospitality industry again since I remembered enjoying it so much. I started as a banquet server at Eagle Ridge and worked my way up to Banquet Captain. I also started working at Hotel Julien Dubuque and worked my way up to Restaurant Supervisor. I then decided to move to Denver where I remained in the hospitality industry working at the Renaissance Hotel as a server and banquet server. Upon returning to Dubuque, I applied for the Banquet Manager in May and here I am.”

    What are you most passionate about professionally? “I am passionate about providing a level of service that is the best possible!  Making people happy and making sure they enjoy themselves while here is what I love to do every day. Not just simply meeting people’s expectations for their particular event, but exceeding those expectations and ‘wowing’ them!”

    What are you passionate about personally? What is your favorite way to spend a free weekend? “I love to spend time with my friends. I love traveling and exploring new places. I also enjoy swimming, especially in an ocean whenever possible.”

    What are some of your favorite things to do in the Dubuque area? “Walking down on the river walk and hiking out at the Mines of Spain.”

    What do you love most about Hotel Julien Dubuque? “I love the people I work with! I have an amazing staff of very unique, interesting young adults who I learn from every day. I also have a supportive management team that I am proud to be a part of. Most of all, I love to work banquet events!! I love to see all the different weddings and work all the different kinds of parties that are booked at the hotel. My job changes every single day which makes things exciting and interesting.”

    What is your personal motto? “Collect moments and memories, not things.”

    As a leader a large team, what strategies do you implement to keep your team motivated and energized? 
    “Make things fun! I have a very unique department where my staff has the ability to be creative and fun in their different job roles. Some staff members like to decorate and that is a huge part of making an event successful. Other staff members enjoy meeting and talk to new people which happens every day while serving the different events. I focus on different staff members interests and abilities and I allow them to be creative and fun with it while executing their job responsibilities.”

    Please share a fun fact about yourself. “I love to sing.”

    Contact Diane via email at banquetmgr@hoteljuliendubuque.com or by phone at 563.588.5575.  

     

  6. Meet the Team: Lara LeGrand

    With over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, it is clear that Director of Sales and Marketing Lara LeGrand has found her calling. Out of all the places her career has taken her throughout the years, though, she cites Hotel Julien Dubuque as her very favorite.  Read on to find out why…

    lara webHow long have you been with Hotel Julien Dubuque? “I started at Hotel Julien Dubuque in late January 2013.”
    What path brought you to Hotel Julien Dubuque? “My career in hospitality began in Galena, IL in 1995.  I held various positions, but concentrated mostly in the sales arena.  I consider Hotel Julien Dubuque to be the premier hotel in the region and was very excited when a position opened that worked within my skill-set.  I came on board as the Catering Manager in January 2013 and was given the opportunity to become the Director of Sales and Marketing in July of 2013.”
    What are you most passionate about professionally? “Most definitely the people we get to impact every single day!  It is such a source of pride that I get to be part of such a beautiful hotel, along with Potosa Spa, Caroline’s Restaurant and Riverboat Lounge.  People will forever be making lifelong memories here!”
    What are you passionate about personally? What is your favorite way to spend a free weekend? “Far and above anything else in my life, I am most passionate about my family.  I enjoy spending time with my husband, two children, and son-in-law. Additionally, I am lucky enough to have a tight group of friends that have really come to be extended family. My parents and brother live in Dubuque which makes staying close to them very easy and my sister and her family travel back to visit with us as often as possible.”
    What are some of your favorite things to do in the Dubuque area? “There are lots of things.  Here are my top five in no particular order: Eagle Point Park, Farmer’s Market, Fourth of July Fireworks (3rd of July actually), breakfast at Caroline’s Restaurant, and boat rides on the Mississippi with family and friends!”
    What do you love most about Hotel Julien Dubuque? “I think what I truly love the most is the impact that the restoration made on downtown Dubuque.  Hotel Julien has long been a staple of the city, but has seen its share of ‘dire’ times.  I believe that the hotel has led to the resurgance of downtown and continues to set the bar high for new restaurants, spas, and area attractions.  It makes me proud to be associated with a highly regarded business.”
    What is your personal motto? “I am very into quotes, so I will offer two.  Professionally my belief can be summed up with the following quote, ‘True leaders do not create followers, they create more leaders’.  The second would be my personal life’s motto: ‘Laugh when you can, apologize when you should, and let go of what you can’t change.’  I wrote that down when I was first married and stumbled across it again on Pinterest twenty years later.  It’s the perfect life motto (in my opinion).” 
    As a leader, what strategies do you implement to keep your team motivated and energized? 
    “Enthusiasm is infectious – it is my hope that my enthusiasm for what I do is so apparent that it proves to be motivating to my team.  I certainly make every effort to touch base with each member of the sales team every day and make myself available to them whenever they need my assistance.  Fundamentally, I believe that positive reinforcement is the ONLY way to motivate people – so I try to stay positive in all of my interactions with not only my team, but all of the HJD associates and managers.”

    Contact Lara via email at dos@hoteljuliendubuque.com or by phone at 563.588.5569.  

     

  7. Meet the Team: Diane Raisbeck

    A veteran Esthetician, Diane Raisbeck has been with Potosa Spa since 2012.  Diane is from Hazel Green, Wisconsin and graduated from Capri College.  Read on as she shares unique beauty and wellness tips that can be incorporated into your daily routine.
    Joined the team:
    In August of 2011
    Hometown: Hazel Green, Wisconsin
    Background/Schooling: “I graduated from Lancaster High School and went on to earn my certification in Esthetics from Capri College.”
    Name one step of your beauty routine that you could never skip: “Moisturizing my skin in the morning and at night.”
    What is your favorite spa treatment? “Facials, of course!”
    What is your favorite beauty product? “Milk and Honey Body Scrub and Butter.”
    What wellness and/or relaxation strategies do you implement in your day-to-day life? “In the morning, I wake up and drink an 8 0z. glass of water and do 20 minutes of yoga.”
    What is your favorite beauty tip/trick? “I apply two shades of lipstick to get the color I want.”
    What do you love most about your job? “I love giving clients the best facial suited to their skin type and then educating them on at-home tips that they can incorporate into their daily routine.”
    Is there anything else that you would like to share?  “Skin is the body’s biggest organ.  No matter what age you are, be sure to give your skin the attention that it deserves.”

    Learn more about Potosa Spa by visiting www.potosaspa.com or call 563.588.5570 to schedule your next appointment. 

  8. Meet the Team: Annette Jones

     If you ever have a question about Hotel Julien Dubuque (or most anything else, for that matter!), Annette Jones will know the answer. Having worked for the Fischer Companies for the past 19 years, Annette’s experiences with Hotel Julien Dubuque extend well beyond the remodel that was completed in 2009 and she is a great person to chat with about the history of the property.

    Learn more about Annette in her feature below.  We are so lucky that she is part of our team!

    How long have you been with Fischer Companies? “19 years.”
    Please share a little bit about your professional background and what led you to the industry. “Went to school for Accounting and worked in that field for a while. I then went to Capri and got my cosmetology license and managed several salons here in Dubuque. After the salon I was at closed I went back into Accounting and have been here ever since.”
    What are you most passionate about professionally? “Learning new things everyday.”
    What are you passionate about personally? What is your favorite way to spend a free weekend? “Love traveling to tropical places. What’s a free weekend?”
    What are some of your favorite things to do in the Dubuque area? “Spending time with family and friends – doesn’t really matter what you are doing.”
    What do you love most about your job? “My boss (and the other people too) ;-)”
    What is your personal motto? “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
    When asked to describe yourself, what do you say? “I love to make people laugh.”

  9. Brian Neis: Wine & Cocktail Connoisseur

    The next time that you visit the Riverboat Lounge, be sure to say “hi” to Brian Neis. As you will read in his “Meet the Team” feature below, Brian is passionate about his position as Hotel Julien Dubuque’s Beverage Manager and the significant role that Food and Beverage establishments play in the creation of some of life’s fondest memories. Read on to learn about the path that led Brian to Hotel Julien Dubuque, his affinity for classic literature, and his favorite craft cocktail and wine selections on the Riverboat Lounge menu!

    How long have you been with Hotel Julien Dubuque? “5.5 years.”
    What path brought you to this industry? “I started in the Food and Beverage industry when I was 14 years old. I did everything from wash dishes, buss tables, mop floors, assist the cooks, and eventually assist the bartenders. When I decided to attend college, I also decided to bartend part-time to support myself. I graduated college, but instead of pursuing my field of study, I stayed in the Food and Beverage industry and began managing the bar where I was originally bartending. When Caroline’s Restaurant was in need of a supervisor, I applied and have been here ever since. I have been Hotel Julien Dubuque’s Beverage Manager for the past 2.5 years.”
    What are you most passionate about professionally? “Many of our fondest memories are associated with dining or visiting a drinking establishment. Wedding proposals, catching up with someone you have not seen for a while, celebrating a job promotion –  all often take place in this environment. It is hard to ignore the intense gratification I feel when I am in a room full of people sharing special moments. The laughter, smiles, hugs, and positive energy are infectious. How can you not love that?”
    What is your favorite way to spend your free time? “Spending time with family and friends is always a priority. During the winter months, I love to read classic world literature like Homer, Cervantes, Dostoyevsky, etc., but in the warmer months, I want to be boating on the Mississippi, riding my Harley, and taking 10 mile walks.”
    What are some of your favorite aspects of the “New Experience” in the Riverboat Lounge? “I love it when someone tells me they approve of our new approach. Having more access to the River Terrace makes a monumental difference and live music 5 nights per week is very fun.”
    What is your favorite craft cocktail on the new summer menu? Favorite wine featured in the winestation?  “Peach Sangria. Chateau Graysac Bordeaux.”
    Do you have a personal motto? “Never slam closed any door that you may someday want to walk through.”
    When asked to share a unique fact about yourself, what do you say? 
    “I acted in Hollywood, California. I was a mummy on stage at Universal Studios for about 5 minutes.”

  10. What do you mean ‘typical day’?

    When asked to describe his typical workday, Executive Housekeeping Manager Joe Polich responded by stating that, in the hospitality industry, a ‘typical day’ does not really exist. While there are certain tasks for which he is responsible on a day-to-day basis, Joe asserts that the dynamic nature of the hospitality industry is one of the things that he enjoys most about his career. Joe joined the team at Hotel Julien Dubuque over five years ago and has since gained experience working in a variety of different capacities.
    Here’s a little peek into Joe’s world…

    How long have you been with Hotel Julien Dubuque?
     “5 years.”
    What path brought you to this industry? “I was a student at Loras College and was looking for a part-time job.  I applied for a position in Housekeeping because I had previously helped with cleaning rooms in my parents’ Bed & Breakfast.  I soon transferred into working at the front desk, but left after a year to move to Madison, Wisconsin.  After a short stint working in Madison for two years, I came back to Hotel Julien Dubuque to work at the front desk again and eventually became a supervisor.  I didn’t know that hospitality would turn into my career, but when the Housekeeping Manager position opened up, I felt it was a good step for me.  I am intrigued by where this type of career is going to take me.”
    What are you most passionate about professionally? “I’m passionate about providing a good experience for every guest that walks through our doors and giving my all to make sure that happens.  I’ll do whatever is needed of me to make sure Hotel Julien Dubuque leaves a positive impression on people.”
    What is your favorite way to spend a free weekend? “What’s a free weekend??? (sorry, hospitality joke!)  Usually when I have free days, I like to spend them running, playing basketball, golfing, eating some good food and, every once in a while, just relaxing at home with a good video game.”
    Please share some of your favorite things to do in the Dubuque area. “A great thing about Dubuque, to me, is the downtown area. I love going out to eat at all the restaurants. I’ve always enjoyed walking around the Port of Dubuque, especially in the summer time. Nothing, in my mind, can beat walking across the 3rd Street overpass back towards Dubuque when the downtown area is busy.”
    What do you enjoy most about Hotel Julien Dubuque? “I love getting to know all of the associates. I think the people at Hotel Julien Dubuque have impacted my life greatly, be it past employees or current ones. I’ve made some lifelong friends because of where I work.”
    Do you have a personal motto? “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
    How would you describe your typical workday? “My day starts off by making the Housekeeping boards for the day and assigning rooms to housekeepers.  I usually will wait for everyone to come in and then give some small direction for the day if necessary. I spend time ordering supplies, inspecting rooms, trying to problem solve, etc.  The one thing you learn quickly about working in the hospitality industry is that a ‘typical day’ doesn’t really exist. You have an idea of what a day might be like, but you truly wake up each day knowing anything can happen.”
    When asked to share a unique fact about yourself, what do you say? 
    “When I was two years old, my family moved to Italy for four years.”
    Is there anything else that you would like to add?  “Go Hawks!!”