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Dean's List: The Business Model




By Selena Fragassi

 

Nancy Lindemer had her first learning experience in hospitality at the young age of 23 while working as a GM at an economy hotel in the suburbs of Chicago. “I managed everything,” she says. “If the housekeeper didn’t show up or the night auditor called in sick, I was [doing their jobs].” During this time, she also quickly learned there was a better opportunity waiting for her and moved into the conference center industry where she has remained ever since.

Now a global board member of IACC (International Association of Conference Centres) and the director of sales and marketing at the 22,000-square-foot/211-guest room Babson Executive Conference Center in Massachusetts, Lindemer still finds new lessons every day. “Babson College’s number one focus is the education of entrepreneurs, and that environment seeps through in teaching people to think independently and do what’s right for the business,” she says. By the looks of her career, someone’s been paying attention.

Unique Venues: What appealed to you about making the move to Babson—and the Boston area?
Nancy Lindemer: It was the right opportunity at the right time, and it’s exciting to be on a college campus. It’s creative and collaborative and there are always interesting people involved. We can take part in what’s happening onsite like the special speakers and entrepreneurs in residence, which has included Gail Simmons from “Top Chef,” Daymond Johns from “Shark Tank” and designer Tory Burch. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive all the time.

UV: Have you found the experience of a college conference center to be different from the more traditional option?
NL: “A campus is very hospitality-oriented, and we are IACC-certified so there are standards we uphold. Sometimes clients might expect they’ll be eating in cafeteria and sleeping in dorms, but in actuality they’re sleeping in a very nice guest room and have some of the best in class for food service. Our clients are here for weeks sometimes so we get to know them and personalize the service to help make them comfortable and facilitate what they’re here to do.”

UV: What has been one of the more memorable customer service experiences you can share?
NL: “It happens all the time. A lot of people come here for programs that are life changing so quite frequently the staff is part of that experience and they become embedded in people’s minds. The housekeeper will go out of their way to take care of you and the front desk personally knows you by the time you check out.”

UV: What are you looking forward to in 2015?
NL: “The industry is coming back as a whole and it’s interesting to see the new opportunities and new training programs our clients are offering to educate and develop their teams, and we can be a part of that as we develop our people as well.”

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