There are some moments that remind you everything happens the way it’s supposed to. Since joining Starwood Hotels nearly one year ago, I’ve felt this time and time again – and Thursday that happy sentiment resurfaced in a big way.
The occasion – Starwood Preferred Guest’s Gavin DeGraw concert at the Sheraton New York Times Square.
Ready for his closeup: Gavin DeGraw in the Sheraton’s Penthouse Suite
Part of SPG’s Hear The Music, See The World series for members, Thursday night’s event reinforced how fortunate I am to be in the hospitality industry. And I know it’s not just because I’m a relative newbie. At one point, one of my seasoned Starwood colleagues said she’s still amazed by the great experiences we get to be a part of and help bring to life.
I couldn’t help echoing her sentiments, as we observed a wine tasting in the Sheraton’s Penthouse Suite for a handful of journalists – and Gavin DeGraw. The singer/songwriter couldn’t be more adorable or gracious. He made it a point to introduce himself to everyone.
“Hi, I’m Gavin,” he said to me with a smile as he extended his hand.
I somehow managed to resist the temptation to respond, And I’m seriously swooning over here.
Accompanying me for the evening’s festivities, PR consultant and longtime friend Jen Maguire.
All smiles: Jen and me with our staff lanyards
Jen was my initial entré into Starwood when she forwarded me an email from one of her marketing contacts in the company. I finally got to meet said contact Thursday night and thank her in person for getting me an interview last summer. Talk about a full circle moment.
The event officially kicked off with Sheraton Social Hour, a branded experience featuring a selection of premium wines – and for this special night, paired with mouth watering hors d’oeuvres.
Standing room only: the SPG crowd at Sheraton Social Hour
On the menu: scallops with truffle butter and creamy polenta, mini caprese sandwiches, a selection of pates and bacon wrapped shrimp. In a word, sublime.
My favorite surprise of the night – an appearance by actor and known oenophile Stanley Tucci. We chatted briefly about how much we both love London, as he’s about to move there. Love him.
Stanley Tucci and me!
Finally, it was time for the main attraction. I joined about 200 SPG members in Metropolitan Ballroom, transformed into an intimate lounge setting with white couches and purple lighting. As soon as Gavin took the stage with his band, the crowd was on its feet for his hit Sweeter.
Gavin DeGraw brought the house down
Speaking of sweet, Gavin brought his effortless charm right into the audience and took multitasking to new level, singing as he shook hands, posed for pictures and made his way around the entire room. During his 75-minute set, he mingled beloved hits (Chariot, Follow Through, I Don’t Want To Be) with songs from his upcoming new album (Best I Ever Had, Make A Move). He ended, not surprisingly, with the transcendent, Not Over You.
As I stood there singing right along with him, I couldn’t help thinking how I’ve finally found my professional home. And the funny thing is, it literally came to me through that aforementioned email from Jen. I put out to the universe what I wanted in my career and, after a long and winding road of many jobs, I finally got it.
Who knows? Maybe there’s a lesson in that about finding Mr. Right. After all, if I could go from a wart-covered frog to the Prince Charming of jobs, that same trajectory just might be possible in my love life too.