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Enjoying the Journey with Katie Bussiere


Sertifi is full of fresh faces who are ready to hit the ground running. I sat down with Sertifi's business development manager, Katie Bussiere, to learn about her experience in the hospitality industry, her love for hospitality, and the importance of knowing your customer's persona.

Mimi McNulty: Thank you for joining me today! 

Katie Bussiere: Thank you for having me! 

MM: You are quite seasoned with hospitality experience. How did you get your start? 

KB: I grew up in Somersworth, New Hampshire and went to New Hampshire Technical Institute. There, I received my Associate Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management, and I also received certifications in Wedding and Event Planning, as well as Hotel Administration.  

MM: What compelled you to dive so deep into hospitality? 

KB: I was originally an early childhood major! As much as I love children and working with them, I knew in my heart it wasn’t something I could do for the rest of my life. Once I decided that early childhood education wasn’t for me, and after talking it over with my college roommate and my family, I used the next semester to explore. My roommate was taking a hospitality class that she loved, so I decided to take a hospitality class and a business class to see what interested me most. I fell in love with my hospitality class and all the things associated with it. I loved learning the ins and outs of hotel operations and decided it was something I could tackle. With changing majors my second year in college, I knew I would have a heavy course load to graduate on time, which meant I had to take six classes a semester! 

MM: Wow! That’s a large amount of work to do in such a short amount of time! What did you end up doing with your degree and certifications? 

KB: Throughout high school and college, I worked as an admissions supervisor at Yorks Wild Kingdom. I would say that was the first time I dipped my toes into the hospitality realm. However, my first true hospitality job was at the Cliff House Resort & Spa as a recreation specialist. With this role, I handled the extra activities for leisure guests. As my role evolved, I started to book the events for groups recreation and organizing team-building events for corporate outings. What I loved most about that role was I was never stuck behind a desk, and it was really the interactions I had daily with guests that kept me on my toes. I met so many people from all over!  

MM: What was the next step in your career? 

KB: I absolutely love working in hospitality, but as you get older you want to find that good happy medium of a work/life balance. A previous sales coordinator I worked with at the Cliff House went to work at Amadeus Hospitality, and she loved it. After researching Amadeus and their open positions, I found a role I felt would be a good fit, so I applied and was hired as a customer support agent.  

MM: Did you have a background in tech besides the front desk functions you had learned in your previous position? 

KB: Yes! As mentioned, while I was in high school and college, I worked at York’s Wild Kingdom, as well as Best Buy as a customer service specialist, which is where I got my start in selling and learning how to talk to people about technology. I was able to assist York’s Wild Kingdom with new ideas on technology and bring to light a POS system that would really help streamline their day-to-day operations. 

MM: What brought you to Sertifi? 

KB: A former colleague I had at Amadeus referred me to Jeff Sears, Sertifi’s vice president of enterprise accounts. He told me customer support was hiring, and I applied. Then, out of nowhere, Joe Flynn, Sertifi’s chief revenue officer, reached out to me on LinkedIn asking to connect. Once we connected, he saw that I was currently a sales manager at the Hampton Inn Presque Isle and asked if I was interested in a sales role or if I wanted to go back into support. I told him that I was open to trying something new. He shared with me that there was a business development representative role open and that I should apply and go through the interview process. I decided to interview, got the job, and hit the ground running as soon as I started! Two years later, I’m still here and loving it! 

MM: You mentioned that working as a BDR (Business Development Representative) was a new experience for you. What did you learn in your past positions that have helped you at Sertifi? 

KB: In the hospitality industry – whether it is working in sales, customer support, or at the front desk – it is important to not only understand how a hotel operates effectively but to understand the role each staff member plays in the day-to-day operations. When I was at Amadeus, it was up to me to figure out how I could provide technology support to fix customers’ day-to-day issues. With providing support, I had to ensure that my terminology was correct for the individual needs of the person so they could operate at a faster pace. By understanding the person’s role in a hotel, how they were using the system, and the flow of information across departments, it made it easier to provide the best possible support. I truly needed to step into their shoes sometimes and walk them through what it would look like. 

MM: You just got promoted to manager! What has that transition been like? 

KB: When it comes to being promoted into a manager role, it has changed my day-to-day focus. I’ve had to switch from the go-go-go that comes with prospecting to sharing my knowledge, experience, and expertise with my direct reports and our internal sales team. I love being able to share my real-world experiences and watching the team grow!

Being able to learn and grow my leadership skills, under two strong female leaders like Michelle Young, Sertifi’s senior vice president of sales, and Theresa Ellsworth, Sertifi’s vice president of regional sales, has been so empowering! They encourage me to take initiative on projects, voice my opinion, as well as showing me how to be a great leader. 

MM: What makes your job worthwhile? 

KB: When you look at the statistics, hospitality has historically been a male-driven field. However, over the last several years, I feel as though we will start to see this change more and more. Being here at Sertifi, as a woman specifically in leadership, it is about understanding the value that I bring to the table but also what everyone in the company brings to the table and being able to collaborate as one. Working in leadership has nurtured my confidence in a way that has allowed me to naturally expand my knowledge base of the hospitality industry. 

MM: I’m so glad Sertifi has been such a launch pad of support for you! Is there anything that we haven’t covered that you want our audience to know about you? 

KB: When it comes to working in the hospitality industry, it has given me the opportunity to interact with many different types of people, allowing me to grow my network and expand my knowledge. When you allow yourself to have a broader understanding of the world, you have more ways to connect with others. Something an old general manager told me was “take ten minutes every day to read your local newspaper and two articles from a global news source. This and being in-the-know of what is happening in the world allows me to continue my education and grow a connection with my customers. 

To learn more from the Sertifi team, check out our employee spotlight page here.

About the author

Mimi McNulty

Mimi McNulty is a Marketing Generalist at Sertifi. While she makes a point to have a pulse on all things Sertifi, Mimi is responsible for the company's social media channels, event coordination, and blog. She also assists with content creation, creative marketing, content strategy, and internal marketing ventures. Mimi is a communication enthusiast with a passion for storytelling and media relations.