Viewing posts categorised under: Staff members

Here’s Jonny!

by SierraMerril

12 04, 2014 | Posted in Staff members | 0 comments

As of August 2014, Camp’s store, the Fountain, has a new manager! Jonny Dacus has taken on the task of stocking our store with drinks, treats, hiking supplies and plenty of Stanford Sierra Camp clothing for kids and adults. I caught up with Jonny (who I also happen to share an office with) last weekend to find out more about him. I also wanted to know if he had any insider information he wanted to share about the Fountain!

Stanford Sierra Camp's Fountain has plenty of gear and most things that you'll need for your stay at Fallen Leaf Lake.

How long have you been at Camp? This fall is my sixth season at Camp. In Spring 2013, a friend convinced me to come out to California and be a raft guide for the season. The job fell through because the low snow level that winter didn’t provide for much of a river-rafting season that spring or summer. A friend of a friend told me about Sierra Camp, and I arrived two weeks late in the season.  After being here only a few days, I knew Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake was where I wanted to spend some time. Where did you grow up, and do you think you’ll ever live there again? I grew up in a small town, Hendersonville, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville. I don’t think I’ll ever live there again, but I will be back to visit family and friends. I’m not quite ready to fully settle down—there’s still so much to see in the US! But for now, Fallen Leaf Lake has me, and I’m pretty excited about being here for a few years. What’s your favorite thing about Camp? The setting and scenery. Being so close to Desolation Wilderness is amazing. My favorite lake in Desolation Wilderness is Clyde Lake. It’s about eight miles from Camp just off of the Pacific Crest Trail and on the other side of Mosquito Lake.

Fountain Panoramic

What’s the most useful thing we sell at Camp?  Maps! We have a large topographic map of Desolation Wilderness and whether you’re curious about the area surrounding Camp, or you’re ready for some serious hiking, it’s a great thing to have.

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What should someone be sure to purchase when visiting the Fountain? Anything that says SSC! We have a lot of gear downstairs and with a shirt or water bottle you’ll always be reminded of how wonderful it is here. It’s also cool to see people wearing SSC gear when you’re outside of Tahoe—it’s a nice conversation starter!Fountain Will guests notice any changes or different styles when they shop in the Fountain next year? I’m going to focus on getting some bigger brands and more athletic gear in the Fountain for next season. The beer selection will also change a little, but I’m going to continue to stock lots of California and craft beers. What’s your favorite beer that we sell? 21st Amendment’s Brew Free or Die. Has anything surprised you about this job? I grew-up saying “yes sir” and “yes ma’am” a lot. I’m surprised at how many people don’t like it when I call them that! I got a few strange looks this summer. Do you have any fun facts about yourself? I’m not a big country music fan. I really only like the classics, but I did grow up in the same town Taylor Swift did! Do you have any fun facts about the Fountain? The most milkshakes that were made in a week this summer was 250. The Fountain is only open for an hour on Saturdays, so that is about 41 milkshakes a day during the other days of the week. That’s a lot of milkshake!

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Charlie Wants Your Fall Conference Season Application!

by stanfordsierra

07 24, 2014 | Posted in Employment, Staff members | 0 comments

Next Thursday, July 31 is the last day we will accept applications for employment during the fall conference season. The season begins Sunday, September 7 and ends on Friday, November 14. Applications are available on our website. We are hiring all purpose staff, so job responsibilities include cleaning cabins, serving meals, setting meeting rooms, staffing the boat dock. etc.

Setting meeting rooms is a common shift for all purpose staff

Setting meeting rooms is a common shift for all purpose staff

Charlie Powers is our conference staff director who hires and supervises the staff.
Charlie meeting with a staff member

Charlie meeting with a staff member

Charlie has an interesting work history at Stanford Sierra. He started in the kitchen in 2005 and worked year-round through the spring of 2008. Charlie then returned to the East Coast and worked in his family's insurance business. Charlie missed the weather, snow and hiking in the Lake Tahoe area, so he returned to the Stanford Sierra kitchen in the spring of 2011. It was a fortuitous move as Charlie met Alissa, his bride-to-be. The next year Charlie was hired to be the conference staff director. During his tenure, Charlie has done an excellent job of hiring friendly, hardworking staff for each conference season.

Dee, one of our hardworking, friendly & well-dressed staff, prepping for a social hour in the Old Lodge

Starting with the application, Charlie is looking for applicants who present themselves well including a complete, accurate and grammatically correct application. If the application meets Charlie's scrutiny, he invites the applicant to a Skype interview. Again, Charlie is looking for applicants who present themselves well including appropriate dress for a job interview, clear and concise answers to interview questions and a friendly, outgoing demeanor. Conference season staff work hard, but enjoy many unique benefits during their two-month stint at Fallen Leaf Lake. Staff members share lakefront cabins on Fallen Leaf Lake, enjoy delicious meals prepared by Chef Dave and his staff and enjoy excellent recreation including paddle boarding and kayaking Fallen Leaf Lake, hiking in Desolation Wilderness plus friendly staff competitions including volleyball and soccer.
A group of staff paddling Fallen Leaf Lake

A group of staff paddling Fallen Leaf Lake

Our spring and fall conference seasons fits well with other resort season jobs that tend to run summer and winter. If you are hardworking and love the outdoors, submit your application!      

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Working, Living and Playing In Tahoe

by SierraMerril

06 26, 2014 | Posted in Lake Tahoe area, Location, Meeting, Recreation, Staff members, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Stanford Sierra Camp and Conference Center sits at the base of Cathedral Peak on Fallen Leaf Lake.

Camp sits at the base of Cathedral Peak on Fallen Leaf Lake.

When I tell people that I live and work in Tahoe, the most common follow-up question is: Do you work at a ski resort? While it was a ski job that originally brought me to South Lake Tahoe in the winter of 2010-2011, I have since found myself working at the end of a five-mile road with no outlet and no cell phone service, but gorgeous views of mountains, ridges and Fallen Leaf Lake. Stanford Sierra Camp and Conference Center isn’t a rustic set of tent cabins, nor is it a four-star resort, but it’s somewhere in between. It’s a place where families enjoy mountain activities, city residents relax in the woods, and companies host conferences and retreats outside of traditional office or conference spaces. As the reservations assistant manager, I work year-round in a two-person department that corresponds with guests and takes reservations for Stanford University alumni programs and summer family camp. I also take reservations and assign housing for several retreats and conferences that are not affiliated with Stanford University, but have been coming to Camp for many years. After several seasons of assigning housing for conferences, I’ve learned quite a few quirks and perks of the 64 lodging units at Camp. People always ask, “What is the best cabin or area of Camp?” You would think that would be an easy question, but it all depends on what you’re looking for! Lake views, peace and quiet, sunlight and proximity to the lodge are different for all of our units. Individuals and families have different priorities and needs, which makes this question so hard to answer!  
While cabins in the "Hills" area of Camp can be a bit of a walk, they get some of the most sunlight and offer a different view of Camp and the lake.

Cabins in the Hills area of Camp get some of the most sunlight and offer a different view of Camp and the Lake.

Throughout the year, I stay busy preparing guests for their stay at Camp, whether it’s for two nights or seven. I simultaneously help prepare Camp and our staff for the abundance of guests that descend upon Fallen Leaf Lake when the weather warms, the snow melts off the mountains, and the lake is calm, beautiful and a bearable temperature. I am part of a management team that works hard to create memorable experiences for families, couples getting married and conference attendees. While most of my work is at my desk; sending emails, collecting money, ordering cakes, and working on housing assignments, I also have the pleasure of enjoying Fallen Leaf Lake and Camp's mountain surroundings. I get to have weekly barbecue lunches outside during the summer and greet guests when they arrive at Camp. After having worked here for the better part of three years, I’ve paddled the lake, looked down on Camp from Angora Peak and Cathedral Trail, explored Desolation Wilderness, watched the sun rise from over Lake Tahoe and set on Gardner Mountain.
Mt. Tallac is one of the Tahoe Basin's tallest mountains and can be a day hike from the Tahoe conference center.

Mt. Tallac is a long hike from Camp, but the views of the Tahoe Basin and Desolation Wilderness are unbeatable from the top!

    My life as reservations assistant manager is filled with paperwork, emails, small details and customer service, and it is enhanced daily by a constant flow of wonderful guests, a workplace filled with active coworkers and Desolation Wilderness in my backyard.

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Meet Morgan Marshall – More than ‘Head of Housekeeping’

by stanfordsierra

06 20, 2014 | Posted in Dining, Staff members | 0 comments

Morgan Marshall's title is officially Head of Housekeeping, but it's clear upon meeting him that he does quite a bit more than clean toilets and change sheets. Morgan is our resident stargazing cruise expert, the go-to person for local hiking trail conditions, volunteer fire fighter, Omelet Bar mastermind and Linen Bar guru. (We'll cover his disco bingo, volleyball and improv talents in another post)

Morgan in the middle

Morgan in the middle

Beyond his talents and contributions to Stanford Sierra, Morgan has found a way to have fun with his job and various responsibilities while putting his stamp on things. Take the Omelet Bar. According to Morgan, this isn't your "Typical Marriott omelet bar with peppers and mushrooms". While those items are options (plus 21 fruits & vegetables, 16 types of protein, nine cheeses, and a slew of sauces and extras including gummi bears), Stanford Sierra's Omelet Bar goes beyond that.
A few of the fresh omelet fillings

A few of the fresh omelet fillings

With his fellow chefs Morgan created the signature 'Pro Series' omelets including the Omnivore's Dilemma, the Taco Bell, and one served in a sushi roll. For adventurous guests, Morgan will ask them to name an omelet, then he will interpret the ingredients!
Morgan aims to satisfy the omelet desires of all guests!

Morgan aims to satisfy the omelet desires of all guests!

"Why not have fun with it? I like to think that we are purveyors of experience here." Clearly not always too serious. How many conference centers can boast whimsical omelet bars? Or a Head of Housekeeping with a tongue in cheek Instagram account. "The great part here is the latitude to put your reflection on whatever it is you're doing." This is evident within his department. From his Linen Bar during the summer family camp, which Morgan explains is more than just towels on a table (think 'Experience'), to the deliberately campy housekeeping training video he put together for staff. Morgan's stamp of quirky fun with a purpose ensures that even the expected is unexpected. Morgan points out that he wouldn't have the ability to explore his creativity without the hard work  and support of Jan Schlerth, Head of Housekeeping Assistant.
In addition to her hard work, Jan has an amazing smile!

In addition to her hard work, Jan has an amazing smile!

(We'll tell you more about Jan in a later post.) It's staff members like Morgan that help make a conference or retreat at Stanford Sierra a unique, personalized and memorable experience. Even if you don't like omelets.      

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Meet Our Conference Season Yoga Instructor and Maseusse

by stanfordsierra

04 01, 2014 | Posted in Event planning, Recreation, Staff members | 0 comments

Lake Tahoe native Ryan Goralski is a Sadhana Yoga Chi instructor and Licensed Massage Therapist who provides his services for attendees of all-inclusive conferences and retreats at Stanford Sierra Conference Center.

Ryan Goralski, yoga instructor and certified massage therapist

Ryan Goralski, yoga instructor and certified massage therapist

We recently sat down and talked to Ryan: What is your current job? In my role at Stanford Sierra Conference Center, I am a yoga instructor and massage therapist for attendees of spring and fall conferences and retreats. I usually lead yoga classes in the morning, then provide massage therapy sessions in the afternoon. This will be my third season. What is the best thing about your job? It really starts on my commute to work, when I’m driving or riding my bike out to Fallen Leaf Lake. There’s no better way to start the day.
The route to Stanford Sierra

The Fallen Leaf Chapel is part of the scenic commute to Stanford Sierra

  I also love the Cathedral Room, where I hold yoga sessions.
One of Ryan's fellow instructors teaching yoga in the Cathedral room

One of Ryan's fellow instructors teaching yoga in the Cathedral room

It overlooks the lake, but more than that, it allows me to lead the class into a sunrise session and embrace the yoga tradition. As we do sun salutations, the sun comes right over Angora Ridge and reflects off the lake. I can’t think of a better indoor location to do yoga.
Sunrise over Fallen Leaf Lake

Sunrise over Fallen Leaf Lake

Seems that most folks just want to unwind or decompress from their everyday busyness... I get to guide our guests into achieving a more relaxed and fluid well-being whether it's yoga or massage therapy or a bit of both. For guests coming in the spring or fall conference season, what is a ‘can’t miss’ activity or place to see? Start off with a yoga session in the Cathedral Room, doing sun salutations as the sun rises over Angora Ridge. Certainly the views from the top of Mt. Tallac are some of the best in the universe. It’s hard to beat an early morning paddle on Fallen Leaf Lake – either in a paddle boat or on a stand up paddleboard (SUP).   It’s beautiful when it’s glassy and calm.
A morning paddle on calm Fallen Leaf Lake

A morning paddle on calm Fallen Leaf Lake

Do you have a favorite memory of your time working at Stanford Sierra? It’s hard to narrow it down to one event, because it’s always a breath of fresh air to go out to Stanford Sierra and participate in the daily activities. It’s not so much the weather, as I also love it in the rain. It’s more the experience of being in the great outdoors – you’re surrounded by incessant natural beauty and the overall experience is truly unique. Currently there is no cell service at Fallen Leaf Lake. What do you think are the benefits of disconnecting? My perspective as a health practitioner is that it’s all about creating fluidity and spaciousness in the body.  Fallen Leaf Lake helps us to unfold our bodies from the closed modern gadgetry posture and open our peripheral awareness back to the natural environment. The lack of cell service frees you up to be truly open to our surroundings, helps boost creativity, and reconnects you with your higher well-being.
Ryan hiking with his son, Tomas

Ryan hiking with his son, Tomas

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Update on Spring Menus from Chef Dave

by stanfordsierra

03 21, 2014 | Posted in Dining, Staff members | 0 comments

Dave Dennis is the Food & Beverage Director/Executive Chef for Stanford Sierra Conference Center, a position he has held for 26 of his 27 years here. A graduate of the California Culinary Academy, Dave worked for various French restaurants in the Sacramento area before joining Stanford Sierra.

Chef Dave at a fall wedding dinner on the dining room deck

Chef Dave at a fall wedding dinner on the dining room deck

Dave is responsible for everything that happens at Stanford Sierra related to food and beverage. Dave designs custom menus for each group during our spring and fall seasons, and he orders all the food staying within budget. Dave prepares most of the food, and relies on two assistant chefs, Tara and Katie, and a pastry chef to manage the day-to-day cooking duties.
Pastry chef Steve loves to share his delicious baked treats

Pastry chef Steve loves to share his delicious baked treats!

Dave, Tara and Katie manage a staff of up to 15 working in the kitchen. Dave puts together the daily schedule for the staff, trains and supervises all of the kitchen staff plus an additional manager and crew for the dining room. According to Dave the best thing about his job is the wealth of great products and the great coworkers he works with on a daily basis. Dave also commented "There are not a whole lot of boundaries here. This allows me to explore eclectic foods along with various ethnicities, and it keeps the job exciting because I am not constrained. The clientele varies within each conference season and within the summer family camp, which makes my job both interesting and challenging. In the summer season it's much more than just family-camp style cuisine. It's become more upscale. Stanford alumni are requesting healthier and more interesting options. We offer many options and integrate as many organic and sustainable options as are available in our area." For the upcoming spring conference season, Dave plans to focus on Mediterranean cuisine with lots of fruits and vegetables being offered throughout the menus. Dave plans to use as much organic produce as possible, keeping things simple and fresh with limited ingredients.
Veggie crudite at a social hour

Veggie crudite at a social hour

Dave prefers to bring out the flavor of say, wild salmon, with a few added flavors like lemon, versus a heavy, cream-based sauce. Dave also plans to incorporate more whole grains like quinoa and bulgur. We welcome any suggestions or requests for menus for your upcoming spring event!    

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