At the city's visitor centers, the former teacher and tour guide helps travelers experience Seattle in the way that's perfect for them.
What do you do? I’m chef concierge (yes, “chef” — it’s a French term) for Visit Seattle. Along with managing and leading a team of information specialists at our two downtown tourist information centers, I’m also assisting guests at the helm of our Seventh Avenue and Pike Street visitor information center daily.
How did you get that job? Originally a teacher and summer-season tour guide, I was introduced to the term “concierge” by a meeting planner who was participating in one of my tours. I realized that the concierge position essentially combined everything I loved about teaching with everything I loved about being a tour guide — but without the parental headaches or teenage eye-rolling. Having been a tour guide — thus knowing the city inside and out — made me a prime candidate for the chef concierge position.
What’s a typical day like? Many mornings I’m greeted at my desk with visitors already waiting who are ready to experience the city. Guests at the visitor center can include business professionals, backpackers, senior citizens, families and students from every walk of life (and from all over the planet!).
I assist with requests for everything under the sun. A typical day could include questions for how to spend a “perfect day” in Seattle, where to go whale watching, where to park an RV, what restaurants I’d recommend, how to see the city “on the cheap,” where to park, how to use public transit, how to get to Mount Rainier, how to book a helicopter tour, where to find a special bottle of wine and where to stay for under $50 … and everything in between!
What’s the best part of your work? I may have the most thankful job in Seattle! I feel that I get to fill the role of travelers’ family and friends when they’re away from theirs. In making people feel comfortable and asking leading questions, I can learn how to help them to have a spectacular time in Seattle — whether it’s for an hour or a week.
What surprises people about what you do? People are surprised by how much patience I have in dealing with problems (and frankly sometimes I’m surprised by it, too!). Dealing with people from various backgrounds, different cultures and many types of personalities can be challenging — especially when their plans sometimes don’t go as expected. I enjoy the challenge in bringing people around to see opportunities, even when their plans fall through and they have to embrace a new reality.
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