Hospitality senior follows her dreams



Photo courtesy of Haley Rauffenbart

Alyssa Rothstein – Contributing Writer

Hospitality student, Haley Rauffenbart, is one of those people who look like they have their whole life figured out. Find out Rauffenbart’s secrets to happiness, advice to students, and her favorite hobbies in our one-on-one interview.

Tell me about your internship at Rafanelli Events. I was told you are the first Lasell College hospitality student to achieve an internship at their company. What does an average day at your internship look like? 
I was very excited to get this opportunity; it is honestly my dream job! On a normal day, I arrive at the office, sit down at my desk, log on to my laptop and check the intern calendar and my e-mail. The intern calendar will say which projects and with whom I will be working with during my day. We have to make sure to check our e-mails for any news on prior projects, errands that need to be run, make phone calls, oversee and set-up meetings with event producers and clients.

How did you go about getting an internship with a competitive company? What would you tell students who are trying to obtain an internship but do not know where to begin?
First, I applied by submitting my resume and cover letter to their website and followed up with an e-mail to the company. I heard back from one of the event producers a week later to schedule a phone interview, which I was told, if it went well, then I would have the opportunity for an in person interview. To prepare for my interview, I spruced up my portfolio. I made sure to include a copy of my resume, cover letter, a list of classes I have taken related to the field, references, recommendation letters, awards and examples of my work. My one piece of advice for students who need an internship but don’t know where to begin would be to apply to as many internships as you can and be confident while presenting yourself professionally.

During your experience as an intern, what was one disagreement you had in the workplace and how did you overcome it?
I was helping an event producer choose décor for a bar mitzvah, and did not agree with her personal taste knowing what the client had suggested as his idea. Since she was my superior, I did not want to offend her and say she was wrong, so I presented her my ideas combined with her ideas to see if we could collaborate. She ended up presenting all of our ideas to the client, and he ended up liking a mix of both!

If for some reason you did not succeed in the event planning industry, what would be your fall back career?
It’s totally random, but I would like to run my own daycare. I love spending time with kids, and with running a daycare there is still an aspect of planning with the daily activities for the children. It would always be a fun environment to be in.

Who has been your greatest support system throughout college and how have they helped you get to where you are today?
My mom and dad are my greatest support system. They push me to my limits and support me no matter what decision I make. It is nice to know there are always people on your side who are rooting for you to do your best. Sometimes they are even happier than you are for all you have achieved, which is a great feeling.

Once you graduate from college, you will be competing with hundreds of other applicants for prestigious positions in major companies. What separates you from everyone else?
My hands on experience. It was important to me to have more than one internship experience so when I graduate I will know what to expect in the real world. I may have thought that my classes taught me a lot, but actually working events opened up a whole new world. Throughout college, I have worked, gone to school and completed two internships, so you can tell on my resume I am a driven and hardworking person.

Looking back on your journey through college, what was the most pivotal moment that allowed you to make your decision about what career path you wanted to take?
I always knew I wanted to go into the event industry, but during college I realized I really want my focus to be on special events instead of corporate. During my junior year of college, I took an advanced special events class. I got to help plan a wedding from start to finish and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Confidence is an important characteristic to have. How important of a role does your confidence play in your life and how important an attribute is it while creating career opportunities?
It is extremely important. Normally I am shy in a new situation, but I have learned that to achieve the career I want to have, you need to be outgoing and confident in the knowledge you have. If you cannot show someone that you are confident, then they are not going to believe in you that you can excel in your career. For example, when I went for my interview at Rafanelli Events, I wore an outfit that I felt comfortable and professional in, and went prepared with my portfolio. Mainly, I tried to be myself because I knew I only had one shot and I knew if I did not give it all I had, I would have regretted it.

What do you feel was the most crucial trait, which you picked up through your college experience, and how will it help you succeed in the future?
Time management. Throughout the four years at school, I had to balance a full class load, work and a social life. It was very important to me to get good grades and meet my deadlines for school. But I also knew that I had to be earning money at the same time. I feel confident that I will be able to manage my time in the future, especially with an event-planning job; there are constantly deadlines that need to be met.

What does your five-year and ten-year plan look like? Do you want to have a family, or is your main focus excelling in your career?
In five years, I would like to have a steady job, move out of my parent’s house and travel to a different country. In ten years, I would like to be married, have the career I have always dreamed of, start a family and own my own house.  I do not want my main focus to be my career. I want to be able to spend time with the people I love and not look back with regret.

Your college graduation is soon arriving. Looking back, is there anything you wanted to do during your college experience that you did not get the chance to do?
I wish I had gone to a bigger school. Lasell is no bigger than my high school, and I wish I went to a larger school to get away from the small, tight knit community. Although I like the feeling that Lasell is safe and secure, I wish I had explored different options and experienced more than what I was used to in high school. I also wish I decided to travel abroad. It would have been an amazing experience that I will not be presented with again in my life. I advise underclassman to take the opportunity to go out of their comfort zones and experience something incredible even if they are scared.

You mentioned you would have liked to go to a college other than Lasell. Overall, how would you rate your four years at Lasell?
I like the school, the professors and the Newton/Boston area, but I had a hard time with the cliques here. I felt like I was being pushed right back into high school and it was something I was trying to escape.

I have heard from your friends you’re an amazing chef. When did your cooking hobby transcribe? What is your favorite dish to make?
When I was four and my mom bought me the American Girl Doll cookbook—I still have it! I have always been a picky eater, so I have always loved cooking food because I got to choose what I was going to be eating. I can also be creative in the kitchen and I love having people try my concoctions. What’s my favorite dish to make? It definitely has to be one I found on Pinterest last summer. It’s a pan seared sirloin steak topped with a garlic cream sauce and Cajun shrimp with a side of roasted potatoes.

If you won $5,000,000 on a scratch ticket, what would you do with the money?
First, actually, can I make a list? Lets see…go on a shopping spree, pay off my college loans, buy a new car, pay off my parents mortgage, travel the world and donate to charity. Then, I would save the rest and spend it wisely.

If you could give one piece of advice to seniors prior to their graduation, what would it be?
For school, it sometimes stinks to go to class, but it is one of the last times you will be able to sit in a class and learn about your industry you hope to work in. When it comes to the college social life, I would say to stay true to who you are and not try to become a different person. Cherish the friendships you make but don’t dwell on the ones that don’t last. The ones that matter most will be by your side ten years from now.

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