OnFocus – Jessica Barrett has held many titles over the last few years in the hotel and hospitality business. Her current title brings her back to Marshfield where she is serving as the Director of Corporate Sales.
Her journey has been much more than titles as she has worked with corporations, executives and customers of all sorts throughout her career. Hotel Marshfield, and Marshfield in general, has always had a special place in her heart.
“I think the coolest thing about my time at Hotel Marshfield was helping open the hotel it was such an awesome experience being on the ground floor and seeing a place flourish,” Barrett said. “Being back gives me the same feeling.”
As a kid, Jessica was a part of a family that moved from city-to-city quite a bit. Barrett’s family finally settled in Wausau where she attended D.C. Everest High School after spending some of her childhood in places like Utica, New York and Minnesota.
When Barrett graduated high school, her dad, who was a salesman himself, took her on a trip to try and find a job that was the right fit for her.
“The summer I graduated my Dad told me to get in the car, as it was time, I get a better job as I start college and off we went,” Barrett said. “Of course, we landed at the then biggest conference and hotel in Wausau, the then Ramada which later rebranded as the Plaza Hotel.”
Barrett walked into the hotel, grabbed an application, was interviewed and hired as a front desk agent on the same day. Barrett graduated college with a degree in graphic design but she always turned back to the hospitality business.
After working at the Plaza for a few years and working her way up to sales manager, Barrett received a message from a recruiter on LinkedIn asking if she wanted to work for a new hotel in Marshfield. She was offered the job as a director of sales and began her tenure with Hotel Marshfield.
Two years later, Barrett got married and her family relocated to Milwaukee. Barrett would leave relationships, family and clients in Marshfield to start a new career path in a bigger city.
“From my start at Hotel Marshfield, I have always loved this place and always referred to it when looking for new ideas at other properties,” Barrett said. “I was sad to leave a place that taught me so much but decided to give a shot and grow some more.”
With a bigger city came much more opportunity. Barrett was able to use her experience in the hospitality business to secure a position as a Player Development Coordinator with Potawatomi Hotel and Casino.
The transition from rural to urban living was not an easy task for Barrett as she quickly learned that things like driving to the grocery store became a two hour venture.
Barrett’s first day on the job involved her attending a VIP golf outing but she said it wasn’t all roses during her start to her new job.
“I was completely overwhelmed my first week at a casino,” Barrett said. “It was mostly training but the casino is a very well-oiled machine and there is no room for slip ups. It is a little intimidating because you must pass an FBI-style background check and depending on where you worked within the casino you had to pass numerous federal regulations tests.”
While with Potawatomi, Barrett kept her foot in the door in the hotel business as she continued to help their sales department. She helped the casino and resort as well as Visit Milwaukee bid on events for the city.
In 2018, Barrett left the casino business to join a hotel management group that represented IHG hotels in the Madison area. They had two properties Hotel Indigo and Holiday Inn Express. leads of travels for Amazon, American Family Corporate, Deloitte, and many more were in contact with Barrett daily to ensure that their employees and clients were given great treatment upon arrival in Madison.
Just last year, Barrett returned home and she said her new role is a unique one but will allow her to use the experience she has gained during her travels.
“My new position with Hotel Marshfield is Director of Corporate Sales meaning I am joining forces with our stellar Director Of Sales Tricia Berg to help uncover new business to the area work with some of Best Westerns top accounts, assist with bringing in conferences and so on,” Barrett said.
Barrett’s travels took her all over but with her parents still residing in Rothschild, her heart was always in central Wisconsin.
“Coming back to the area was something that was always a plan,” Barrett said. “I really knew I wanted to be closer to family and especially with COVID times it was hard not seeing much of them and really, I truly missed working with some of the great people of Marshfield.”
Barrett will be working alongside Tricia Berg who is the Director of Sales at Hotel Marshfield and Barrett said that was an exciting opportunity for her upon coming back to the area.
“Tricia and I have worked together in the past here and she is honestly one of the best sales directors out there,” Barrett said. “She has a knack for networking and building relationships and is one of the most creative people I know. She makes the hotel stand out just by herself and I can’t wait till we really start going and working alongside her.”
She has worked at some pretty prestigious venues but Hotel Marshfield still takes the cake as a place to stay in her eyes.
“You honestly will find the some of the same décor in Potawatomi’s hotel rooms,” Barrett said. “It’s modern, it’s fun, its unexpected and well, the staff here is amazing. It’s a place you want to come to work and be proud of. Oh, and the food at Libby McNeil’s, I love it!”
The success Barrett has had couldn’t have come without support from family, friends and coworkers. Barrett said her dad has been a huge influence in her career and she couldn’t have gotten to where she was without him.
“My parents also have always been huge supporters of my career,” Barrett said. “It’s always nice to learn from my Dad too. People always say he could sell land to a fish, and he knows so many people from his career in newspapers, magazines and now tourism it’s always fun to bounce ideas off him and learn about new travels trends and ways of selling.”
From the first go around to now, Barrett has always enjoyed her time at Hotel Marshfield despite working in bigger venues in Milwaukee.
“I am so happy to not only be home but come ‘home’ to a place that has taught me so much.”
If you would like to find out what events Jessica and the team are bringing to Hotel Marshfield in the coming months, check out their Facebook page.
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