OTC Alumni: Kari’s Story (Rosen Plaza Hotel)

Headshot of Kari

I truly feel I’m blessed to be where I am today.

I was a lost teenager with no real plan for the future. When I first heard of Orange Technical College, I was attending University High School in Orlando, FL. A recruitment coordinator came to our school and talked to us about attending a new dual enrollment program. It was an alternative high school program on the campus at Mid Florida Tech, now known as the OTC – Mid Florida Campus.

I took the opportunity offered to me in 1999 and enrolled at OTC in the hospitality program. It was there that I met Ms. Pat Novalis. Ms. Novalis, a veteran of the hospitality industry, was and still is a very passionate person about the hotel industry and the hospitality program.

This program helped me gain real-world experiences and confidence in myself. It also afforded me the opportunity to meet new contacts in the hospitality industry. Most importantly, I gained a friend and mentor who has celebrated all my successes, not just while I was in class, but Ms. Novalis is still routing for me today.

During my time at OTC, I was part of the National Technical Honor Society and I graduated high school with honors and a certification from the hospitality program. Since I graduated, I’ve been employed with Rosen Hotels and Resorts. If anyone’s counting that’s 20 years.

I also attended Valencia College from 2004 to 2006, and took classes for my general AA degree. I am fortunate to be working for an employer like Mr. Harris Rosen as he considers education important and pays the tuition for his employees to attend college.

I started my career at Rosen Hotels and Resorts in PBX/Front Desk, then to Concierge, Front Desk Supervisor, Convention Service Admin Assistant and now my current position as Catering Sales Manager at the Rosen Plaza Hotel.

Presently, I get to share my work experience with future Orange Technical College graduates by participating on the hospitality advisory board. Ms. Novalis knows how much I love giving property tours and sharing my love for the program!

So yes, being thankful is an understatement. If it was not for Ms. Novalis and Orange Technical College, I would not be where I am today.