Lisa D. Burrell, Director of Sales, Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront & Suffolk Conference Center

My Career in Hospitality

I started a career in hospitality in 2008 and had no idea what to expect.  There was so much to learn about the hospitality industry. I had been a salesperson since the age of six when I was making and selling beaded bracelets.  Selling came very naturally to me.  Excited at the challenge of learning something new, I took on this new endeavor.  I learned very quickly that if you have the desire to learn, through hard work you can write your own map to success.

With a fresh set of eyes and a heart bursting with creativity I accepted my first a position of Sales Manager of a hotel.  My singular focus was a university only a few blocks away from the hotel.  After one year, I was promoted to SMERF (Social, Military Reunion, Education, Religious, & Fraternal) Group Sales Manager.  In addition to my university account, I took on a larger territory.  My new sales goal was over one million annually.  After working for a year, I achieved this goal and eventually exceeded it!

Map to Success at the Hilton Garden Inn

After some time, I moved to Hampton Roads and accepted a SMERF Group Sales Manager position at the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront. I later accepted a promotion to Senior Sales Manager.  Most recently, I was promoted to my current role as Director of Sales and Catering.  

What is the Map to Success?

So, what is a map to success?  A traditional map has directions, plans, techniques, and tools.  Maps are designed to get you from point A to point B.  My map to success is one that I created through the opportunities presented to me.  For example, the opportunity to become a Director of Sales & Catering with Landmark.  My map consists of training sessions, kick off meetings, monthly meetings, quarterly reviews and consistent goal setting. The map I created has tools, techniques, and guides. I choose to follow this map daily, monthly, and yearly.  Because I dedicatedly follow this plan, my team and I consistently succeed in achieving our goals.

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Out of Our Comfort Zones

During the Pandemic, I had to create a new map. It was a map with a plan of action, including new roads, and new contacts. I learned that sometimes the map changes.  New maps include destinations that are unsure, unfamiliar, uncertain. Many of us were taken out of our comfort zones as we explored new territories. 

Looking back over the last couple of years, I clearly see my new direction.  I learned that we are more resilient that we sometimes give ourselves credit for being.  There will be times in the future we must take a different direction.  I take pride in knowing that I was able to pivot and create a new map for myself.  I realized that sometimes our maps need updated like our GPS devices in our vehicles.  The biggest lesson is to understand that even if our direction changes, the destination remains the same.  Our hard work, perserverance, and dedication lead us on to success.