Throughout his years at St. Thomas Aquinas College, Jerron Garrett had his sights set on pursuing a career in law. But in the last semester of his senior year, one elective in hospitality management got him thinking about his future and what he enjoyed doing most. Ultimately, it pointed him in a different direction.
The course helped Jerron realize how much he enjoyed the work he’d been doing at the Residence Inn during his college years—and how good he was at it. “I decided the hospitality industry was home for me,” he says. “My natural talents of monitoring numbers and leading a team to be successful was my interest. I love helping people, too.”
Jerron, who is originally from the Bronx, landed his first job in 2015 as the front desk lead and night auditor at the Residence Inn near campus to earn pocket money and save for a car. His supervisor quickly recognized his hard work and dedication and he was appointed to a task force to assist in opening three locations of the hotel chain across New York and New Jersey. His contributions continued to be noticed and in 2016, the company named him Employee of the Year.
After he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a double minor in business management and finance, Jerron stayed in contact with Angela McDonnell, professor and coordinator of STAC’s hospitality management program, who he credits, along with a few other mentors, for encouraging him to pursue a career in the industry.
“STAC really treats you like family, whether you’ve graduated or you’re still there,” he says.
A call from the New York Department of Corrections in 2019 led Jerron on a detour to explore the possibility of the career he first imagined for himself in criminal justice. He accepted a job as a corrections officer and says the year he spent in that role was worthwhile. He gained new skills and honed others, in particular, staying calm under pressure and solving problems that inevitably arise.
“It changed my mindset coming back to the hospitality industry,” he says. “There is nothing anyone can get me flustered about. There’s always a way to fix something, and there’s always a way to communicate and meet on common ground.”
Ultimately, Jerron returned to hotel management full-time. He served as operations manager for the Courtyard by Marriott International and later at the Springhill and Fairfield Inn in New York City. In 2022, Jerron moved to Massachusetts to step into his new role as area general manager for Meads Bay Hotel Group (Edgar Hotel Ascend Collection Martha’s Vineyard). In this capacity, he oversees seven boutique hotels across Martha’s Vineyard, Provincetown, and Nantucket. The job offer came courtesy of a connection he made at the Residence Inn and the impressive résumé he built in only seven years.
Jerron’s days are busy as he handles budgeting and forecasting, signing group contracts, and overseeing his team of the front office, housekeeping, and engineering staff.
In the future, he hopes to move up in the industry to vice president of operations. For now, he’s enjoying the experience of living and working in the popular summer vacation destination and learning another facet of hospitality management.