A Place to Grow
Markisha Gates, general manager of the Townplace Suites in Oxford, Mississippi, found her way into the hotel industry as a night auditor. She was young, unsure of her goals for the future, and was happily completing her tasks for a paycheck.
“At first, it started off just a job,” Markisha said. “However, it just changed into my career because I fell in love with the hospitality world. It’s something that comes natural.”
Markisha’s general manager at the time had bigger plans for her than the night shift. He pulled her aside and asked her about her career goals, implying that she could one day take his place. Markisha’s world opened.
“After that conversation with a lot of thought, I was just like, I really can do this,” Markisha said. “This is something that I love doing daily. So, I made the change then to pursue my career.”
In Alabama, Markisha dedicated the next four years to working her way up the ladder to one day accomplish her dream: general manager.
After lots of hard work, Courtyard Marriott Birmingham promoted her to operations manager in 2011. From there, Markisha said she enjoyed transferring from hotel to hotel to build her management resume.
“The most exciting part of it is you never know how your day is going to go… it’s not the same boring situation each and every day.”
However, she missed being near her family in Mississippi. She wanted to use her travel benefits as a hotel employee to take them on vacation with her.
When the opportunity presented itself, she went for it and landed the role. Markisha Gates, general manager at the Townplace Suites in Oxford. She loves to say it. At the hotel, you’ll find Markisha’s office door decorated with stickers of her name, title, and many of her other favorite things that her team surprised her with.
“I love to see new talent come through the door– such as me a long time ago– and I can invest in them, get the tools that they need to succeed,” Markisha said. “That’s the best part of my job.”
To anyone considering a career in hotels, she recommends three things: lead with an open mind, be vulnerable and be eager to learn while willing to teach.
“The most exciting part of it is you never know how your day is going to go… it’s not the same boring situation each and every day,” Markisha said. “I may be biased by saying this, but hospitality is the way to go.”