From conferences to cocktail parties, Amy (Miller) Medawar, 31, coordinates all aspects of such events as the Director of Conference Services and Events at The Liaison Capitol Hill, an Affinia boutique hotel, and adjoining Art & Soul restaurant in Washington, D.C.
Over the past nine years at the hotel, Medawar has held numerous positions including those in group sales, catering sales and conference services. She has worked in her current capacity for the last five years.
"The favorite aspect of my job are the relationships that I have built over the years," Medawar said. "Our clients put a great deal of trust in us to deliver a successful event or conference and to ensure that every detail is handled. Our job is to relay all of the necessary details and information to every other department in the hotel and restaurant."
She added that planning for events and conferences may take place several months up to one year in advance.
Medawar and her team are charged with planning the arrival and execution of events for groups ranging from five to 800 guests, including a mixture of those with and without guest rooms.
"My team coordinates all of the details of multi-day conferences, weddings, cocktail parties and any type of event in between. This includes menu planning, audiovisual requirements, set-ups, decor, lightning, floral, linen, and the list goes on and on! In addition, we coordinate guest room arrangements, including billing, VIP arrangements, transportation, etcetera," she explained. "Being located two blocks from the U.S. Capitol, many of our events conferences everyday include a member of Congress and a different group, from associations to corporations, that are coming to Capitol Hill to meet with their Congressional leaders on behalf of their cause."
Her biggest challenge in working at a hotel is the simple fact that the facility never closes.
"With my job comes many very long hours, for sometimes many straight days," she added.
Medawar said she is fortunate to have been a part of some amazing events and opportunities during which she has had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people.
"One of the biggest highlights of my career is having the opportunity to work with our celebrity chef/owner, Chef Art Smith, who is most well-known for being Oprah Winfrey's personal chef for many years and most recently, a contestant on Top Chef Masters," she noted. "With Chef Art, I have planned an intimate dinner party for First Lady Michele Obama, a luncheon for President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Bush, and an Election Day lunch for Speaker Nancy Pelosi and guests. Most recently I helped plan and execute Chef Art's own wedding this past August; that included an entire menu of celebrity chefs!"
The inauguration of President Obama was another major highlight in Medawar's career.
She explained that in addition to the series of events that occurred over the days leading up to the inauguration, she helped lead the planning of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," which her facility hosted at its Art & Soul restaurant the day after inauguration. During the event Winfrey and several celebrity guests recapped their experiences at inauguration festivities.
Although Medawar has had the opportunity to meet President Obama, President George W. Bush, Secretary of State Hillary and President Clinton, as well as many other political leaders, she was the most excited when she met famed country music artist Garth Brooks.
"We host The Recording Academy’s ‘Grammys on The Hill’ in April each year, where The Recording Academy honors leaders that over the past year have made a significant contribution to artists and their rights. In April of 2010, the awardee was Garth Brooks," she explained.
Amy is the daughter of Bob and Connie Miller of St. Marys and the younger sister of Danielle Fledderman. She is a 1997 graduate of Elk County Christian High School and a 2001 graduate of St. Vincent College. Amy and her husband Fadi Medawar currently reside in Dumfries, Va.
"All of the credit of my success is the hard work and discipline that I learned from my parents and family. Most importantly, that they have always supported me, in what sometimes seemed to be a crazy endeavor - such as picking up and moving to Washington, D.C., without a job!" she said.
Medawar added that her husband has also always supported her long hours and truly understands her work in the hospitality industry, as he too is involved in the same industry.
"Throughout many jobs that I held in high school and college, I had always been interested in customer service-focused fields and had an interest in the hospitality industry," Medawar said, referring to why she chose her specific career path.
She credits her start in the customer-service sector to her experience at Windfall Products, where she worked for several summers.
"I was given the opportunity to work closely with the sales team," Medawar added. "It was during this time that I really was able to learn the sales process and the importance of building relationships with customers that will continue to develop future business opportunities."
According to Medawar, she would never change the experience she had growing up in St. Marys.
"Growing up there, makes me appreciate so many things that are so simple, that you can take for granted every day," she said. "I absolutely love every opportunity I have to come 'home' to St. Marys."
She advises those interested in pursuing a career in the customer-service industry to be prepared to become dedicated to your position.
"Dedication is by far, the easiest way to describe being successful in the hospitality industry. You truly have to be dedicated to yourself and the time that you will invest," Medawar said.
With her limited time off, Medawar dedicates her efforts to traveling, including visits back to St. Marys to connect with her family, as well to other locations to reunite with friends.
In the future, Medawar and her husband would enjoy starting their own business such as a restaurant or bed-and-breakfast.