Courtney Mumford ’07 exudes Southern charm at its finest
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This year, the Mercyhurst University Hospitality Management program celebrates its 50-year anniversary beginning Homecoming Weekend Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Here’s a look at one of its many successful alumni: Courtney Mumford, director of people, Montage Palmetto Bluff. Visit the Homecoming 2022 webpage to see Hospitality’s schedule of celebratory events.)
They write books about it. Some focus on cooking. Some on home décor. Still others conjure up images of graciousness and charm—all in the name of Southern hospitality.
For Courtney Mumford ’07, the South’s warm and welcoming ambiance is where she has parlayed her Hospitality Management degree time and again, most recently as director of people at Montage Palmetto Bluff, a luxury resort in the heart of South Carolina Lowcountry.
A native of Franklin, Pennsylvania, Mumford said Mercyhurst prepared her for a rewarding career in hospitality by exposing her to real-world experiences.
“In addition to classroom training and research papers, the faculty prepared us by requiring hands-on experience on campus, two summer internships, and high expectations for career fairs and interviews,” she said. “There was never an expectation that it wouldn’t take hard work to be successful, but always the encouragement and support that if we put in the hard work, we would enjoy a successful career in one of the best industries in the world.”
Mumford’s career began as food and beverage supervisor at the Westin in Hilton Head, where she worked her way up to management, eventually earning the position of human resources manager. From there, she directed human resources at the Westin in Jekyll Island, Georgia, and the Bohemian Savannah Riverfront, before taking her current position with Montage International, where she is now in her sixth year.
“Hospitality is hard work and can be long hours and exhausting days, but there is nothing like the hospitality industry,” she said of her choice. “You are never really ready for that next position or promotion, but when you get it, if you work your tail off, ask questions, be humble, and surround yourself with people who are smarter and more experienced than you, you will find success.”
A final word of advice to aspiring hospitality managers, she said, “Take care of your people and treat them like humans first and associates/employees second.”