Alexis Deane-Downing started at Missouri State as a dentistry student. After taking anatomy, she decided that wasn’t the right fit for her.
Next, she tried communications. That wasn’t right either.
Her adviser asked her what she liked to do. Deane-Downing said she liked to stay in hotels.
The rest is history.
Deane-Downing met with Dr. Melissa Dallas, now faculty emeritus of hospitality leadership. She took an introductory hospitality leadership course and fell in love.
“It just clicked,” Deane-Downing said. “I knew right then and there. That’s where I’m supposed to be.”
From staying in hotels to managing one
Deane-Downing graduated from Missouri State with her hospitality leadership bachelor’s degree in Dec. 2013.
She is now the director of sales and catering at the Courtyard by Marriott in Springfield, Missouri.
The support from faculty and staff has stayed with Deane-Downing throughout her career.
Deane-Downing remembers going to Dr. Stephanie Hein, department head of hospitality leadership, and talking about new opportunities to see if they were a good fit for her.
“They were there anytime you needed them,” Deane-Downing said. “They understood a lot of us were working in the industry while going to school, and they would encourage and support us.”
Deane-Downing wants current and future students to soak in all the experiences they can, like going to New York City and learning about the hotel industry there.
“Thank you to the hospitality leadership program for taking a chance on me,” Deane-Downing said. “My personality is very loud, and I appreciate them helping me find my best fit.”