By Olivia Pikul
When people are told about careers in hospitality, it brings thoughts about the hotel industry, chefs, concierges and tour guides to mind. What many do not recognize is the need for hospitality management in churches, and that is where Michelle Alexandre comes into play. Churches can have bad reputations and memories attached with certain people, which is why a church has the need to feel welcoming and comforting. Harborside Christian Church is soothing with a cool temperature, feathery chairs, and inviting circular tables. As said by Alexandre, her job is to ensure Harborside “feels good, smells good, and looks good” by aligning the volunteers that will put a smile on everyone’s faces and making sure the lobby is welcoming.
Alexandre wears many hats on a day-to-day basis. From training volunteers to scheduling who will be participating in the beach baptisms to decorating the church lobby. Surprisingly, Alexandre’s job requires some paperwork and some work on the computers, so she has volunteers help her with it. While Alexandre could easily do the paper and computer work, the volunteers help complete the work is because she says, “it fills them up.” Alexandre’s perspective is to make others feel good and at home not only with the church but also with the church’s other guests.
Recently, Harborside participated in the Fall Fest, which had fall-themed games and snacks. Most of the staff at the church engaged in picking a task and Alexandre picked to create the photo booth, where attendees can choose to take fall-themed family photos. She was given a respectable budget and spent a day buying pumpkins, flowers, and pillows for the photo booth. Alexandre had an image in her head of what the photo booth would look like, and most could see her vision.
With so many people involved with the church, it is easy not to notice all the staff’s hard work but especially Alexandre’s. Many people do not take the time to appreciate the hard work, the immense amount of time, and many sets of hands it takes to do a task like decorating a lobby for fall, Easter, Christmas and many other holidays. Not only does Alexandre decorate, but she also decides on the food items for events. For example, at last year’s Christmas Eve service, there were cookies, hot chocolate, and other special and delicious treats. The treats may seem unnecessary, but Alexandre’s goal is to leave an impression on the people and make them want to come back. While it can seem daunting to take on the role and all the parts that Alexandre plays, she finds peace and comfort in the Lord and then goes and extends that peace and comfort to the church for the guests to experience.
Overall, Alexandre has many hats to wear and a variety of shoes to fill. When going through the hiring process, Alexandre asked many times in different ways “What is in my job description?” or “What would my day-to-day look like?” but the truth is, Alexandre does so much it is hard to explain it; however, everyone in the church and the guests of the church all appreciate the work of Alexandre beyond belief.