Divna Mirolovic: A Second Home

Started as: Housekeeper, Locker Attendant, Front Desk Associate, Hostess and Busser

Currently: Barista

A Place for Flexibility

When guests grab their first cup in the morning at Coffee Flats inside the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa, Divna Mirolvic’s friendly smile greets them with a warmth as strong as their coffee.

“I love interacting with our guests,” Divna said. “They make my day.”

Divna came to the United States from Croatia in 1998 with her then husband and two young children as a refugee, fleeing war in Belgrade. As a native Serbian Croatian, she had to learn English once she moved to the United States.

“I only knew how to say, ‘Hi, how are you?’” Divna said.

Now fluent in English, Divna credits her 19 years working at the Westin Kierland towards helping her learn the language. Throughout her tenure, Divna has worked in a variety of roles – serving as a housekeeper, a locker attendant, a front desk associate at the spa, a restaurant hostess and a busser. As a single mom, each role provided her with flexibility to thrive at work and at home.

“The hotel industry is a great place for immigrants to work…We learn from each other. We help each other learn the language and each other’s cultures, countries and food”

“That’s one of the best things about the hospitality industry is that you can have a very flexible schedule,” said Liz Franzese, director of sales and marketing at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa. “We can meet your needs whether you’re a single mom and you have small children to take care of at home or if you’re a student and can only work part time or if you’re looking for career growth, we can provide that for you. And then lo and behold if you move here from across the world, there’s an opportunity for you as well.”

Divna smiles with her co-workers in their Coffee Flats aprons

“The hotel industry is a great place for immigrants to work.” Divna said. “We learn from each other. We help each other learn the language and each other’s cultures, countries and food.”

Divna touts the myriad of benefits that the hotel industry has to offer — including health insurance, 401K and travel benefits. Recently, Divna took advantage of her travel benefits to explore Chicago after being inspired by her guests to visit.

“I thought so many of the people I’ve met from Chicago are so nice, I need to see that city,” said Divna.

“She wanted to understand where these lovely people come from and that I just think that speaks to who she is, said Liz.

From building bonds with repeat customers to crafting friendships with her coworkers, Divna’s work is more than just a job.

“I feel like this is my second home.” Divna said. “We have a lot of connection  We remember each others birthdays, we go to coworker weddings, we are family to each other. When you find a place where you are very, very happy, I don’t see why you’d want to leave.”