Employee of the Month

Deerfield’s Employee Of The Month will recognize a team member who – via one remarkable example of extraordinary service, a consistent pattern of delivering exceptional guest service, or both – embodies a genuine and tireless “spirit of hospitality” in the way that he or she engages with our guests. An Employee Of The Month will distinguish himself or herself with courtesy, friendliness, empathy, enthusiasm, hard work and determination. He or she will, by word and deed, make a lasting positive impression on both guests as well as fellow team members each of whom will be inspired to emulate the effort and attitude of the Employee Of The Month. Winners of the Employee Of The Month Award will exemplify the Forewinds Hospitality credo of “Satisfaction Is Never Enough. Guests must be astounded – every visit – every experience – every day.”

2020 Employee of the Month Award Winners

July

Chris Booth

Chris has been on our maintenance crew for several seasons, and has served as Assistant Golf Course Superintendent for most of them. Chris is not only a trusted assistant of John Jacob here at Deerfield, but is a leader in several aspects of golf course and facility maintenance. Whether it’s the heat of the summer watering, fall leaf removal, the stress of the spring plantings or the challenge of winter snow/ice removal, Chris leads by example and uses his talents to give our golfers and guests the very best experience possible. Further, Chris supports his fellow crew members in whatever jobs might be required in the day to day delivery of a superior golf experience for our customers.
However, earlier this season Chris was able to provide extraordinary service to not only Deerfield and our guests, but our community as a whole. Chris’ initiative and effort distinguished not only himself but elevated Deerfield and Forewinds Hospitality as a whole in the eyes of Delaware State Parks, our valued partner in two of our businesses.
Captain John Wales of the Delaware Park Police shared this perspective in his official letter of commendation regarding Chris’s decisive actions to contain an April fire off the Deerfield grounds:
“Chris’ decisive actions undoubtedly minimized the amount of fire damage to White Clay Creek State Park property. Even though the fire was not on Deerfield property, Chris didn’t hesitate. He committed himself to handling the emergency and he did a great job in the process. White Clay Creek State Park staff and Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation are very grateful to Chris Booth and to Deerfield.”

2019 Employee of the Month Award Winners

December

Michelina Anderson

Mickey joined Deerfield only a few months ago, in November of 2019.  Mickey immediately made a positive impression on team members, managers and guests alike.  She very quickly became a reliable and committed member of the food and beverage team.  Several team members and managers remarked about her work ethic, determination and businesslike approach on Thanksgiving Day, one of her very first days with us.  Though a steady and focused worker, Mickey is always very quick with a smile, enthusiastic assistance, or a warm word for anyone around her.

Mickey is quick to take a leadership role on a project, work independently on a task, and works easily with others.  She has shown herself to have a great demeanor with guests, whether it’s assisting a guest with a special request or recognizing when something needs to be done, or that a situation needs to be corrected.  Though on our team for a relatively short time, she has become a most steady and trusted presence in the room for any event.

However, it was one particular instance of service – service to our internal customers here at Deerfield saving the day, which sparked a nomination for this honor.  It was submitted by a fellow team member, and unanimously agreed upon by our department heads who reviewed all of our nominations.  It reads:

“On the morning of one of our very busy Brunches with Santa, we were having a lot of difficulty completing a task for the set up of brunch reservations that was needed to make the day go smoothly at the hostess stand.   We were in a panic as no one knew how to fix the issue.  Michelina, even though she had her own set up tasks to complete, sat at the computer and corrected the problem for us so that we could continue on other tasks that we needed to finish.  She showed great knowledge in how to assess the problem, as well as exhibiting a calm demeanor when we were in a bit of a time crunch to complete the task.  Her willingness to volunteer her help in an area that was not her own did not go unnoticed.  Thank you Michelina!”

November

Victoria Cortese

Victoria has been an incredibly dependable banquet server for our team since joining Deerfield in early
2019. She has proven time and time again to be an exemplary team player, a willing and cheerful
colleague for her fellow banquet servers, and a very positive and enthusiastic presence in the food and
beverage department.

Victoria is a student in the Alfred Lerner School of Business and Economics at the University of Delaware.
She also speaks French and has traveled to France among other destinations. Her experience in the
classroom and her innate spirit of hospitality has been an important part of her success since joining
Team Deerfield about one year ago. Further, Victoria has served Deerfield as a bartender at a variety of
weddings, parties and special occasions. She is a key contributor for our Sunday Brunch and holiday
dining events and is always available to assist with setting a room, helping with seasonal decorating, or
any number of projects or tasks that may arise. Victoria is well known by managers and fellow team
members as a pleasant, helpful, and engaging presence on a consistent basis.

In the Fall, Deerfield received a glowing review about Victoria following our Thanksgiving Day dining
event on which she as working. This guest shared the following:

“Our party of six thoroughly enjoyed your Thanksgiving buffet. I have to say that the service was outstanding
— and that applies to every employee with whom we had contact during our visit. However, one of our
servers was Victoria. She was exceptional. Her demeanor was pleasant and welcoming — and she couldn’t do
enough to accommodate our every request. Her service was prompt and cheerful. There was nothing else
she could have done to make our visit more enjoyable. She thought of everything! Thank you!

October

Sam White

Sam joined Team Deerfield back in June, 2017 and has proven himself over many seasons to be one of our most trusted and reliable Food & Beverage team members.  Sam primarily serves as a bartender for weddings and special events.  However, Sam has also contributed to delivering a great guest experience in the role of banquet server and has been a key contributor filling in on Pub & Grille service, making sure that golfers are well accommodated and have a great experience.

Notably, Sam has also served as “Deerfield Support” for one of our biggest events of the year.  This particular event that takes place in the summer utilizes tents out of the golf course and serves nearly 1,000 guests.  In this role that is earned by many of Deerfield’s very best, Sam has earned the trust and respect of our clients and their partners in this technically challenging and fast moving multi-day event.  For the past two years, Sam has performed in a superior fashion for his guests, and helped contribute toward the event’s overall success.

Sam has proven himself as highly engaged, self-starting, and team focused as he not only leads his area but supports those around him.  Events at Deerfield go very well time and time again due in no small part to Sam’s determination and dedication.

A Deerfield department head gladly shared this effusive review of Sam’s work and spirit of hospitality.  This person wrote, “I would like to nominate Sam White, one of our most dependable bartenders to date! From his time in the pub (“Tuesdays With Sam”) all the way up to Deerfield’s most recent Sunday Brunch, Sam has always been there when the team has needed him.  He exhibits a positive attitude and a second-to-none work ethic. Rarely does a mistake occur when Sam is the lead bartender.  His paperwork and shift closes are always spot on. I am very pleased to nominate Sam for the Employee Of The Month Award.”

September

Gabby Johnson

Gabby Johnson joined Team Deerfield in June, 2018 and quickly became one of our most admired and effective banquet servers. Gabby is highly engaged with the guest at all times, continually seeking opportunities to assist our clients and help make their visits to Deerfield extraordinary. Reliable, trustworthy and hard-working, Gabby comes prepared with a great attitude to every shift. Gabby’s warmth and courtesy are noticed not only by the guests that she serves, but by her managers and her fellow team members.

Gabby has also ably handled the important responsibility of serving as Bridal Attendant. Personally overseeing the service to bride, groom and bridal party is vitally important to the success of any wedding. It requires an attention to detail and a spirit of hospitality that is exceptional. Gabby has continually fulfilled this role successfully, helping ensure that each of the couples she serves makes happy memories about their experience at Deerfield that will last a lifetime. Further, Gabby is a key contributor to the success of Sunday Brunch and holiday dining events not only as a server, but a food runner.

Gabby’s contributions were detailed beautifully in a nomination we received about her from one of her colleagues. This person wrote, “I really want to recommend Gabby Johnson. First and foremost, I think Gabby deserves it because she is one of those employees whose name you see on the schedule next to yours and you know that you’re going to have a better day because of it. She is a strong server, who everyone working an event can rely on. Yet, what sets her apart is her willingness to help others. Anyone can go to her for help, and without hesitation she is ready for any task. Even during events in which she’s is loaded with responsibilities such as Bridal Attendant, she finds the time and energy to assist anyone that needs her help. In addition to Gabby’s work ethic, I believe she deserves recognition for her amazing attitude. Even when she has a lot going on, you can always trust that Gabby will bring a positive attitude to every event she works. This is evident in the way she caters to the brides and bridal parties at weddings, how she interacts with the guests at events, and her ability to work with anyone. I’m hoping everyone agrees, and can see how her great work ethic and positive attitude are so appreciated.”

August

Ryan Davenport

Ryan Davenport joined Team Deerfield as a banquet server in February of 2017 and over the past two and half years proven himself to be a highly valued, hardworking and trustworthy team member. In April of this year, Ryan earned the position of Banquet Captain, taking the operational lead with many events and working closely with the other Operations Managers in the planning and execution of events. Very quickly, Ryan earned the respect of not only his clients, but the team of banquet servers and bartenders with which he worked.

Ryan possesses a unique spirit of hospitality, always highly engaged in his approach and sincere in his desire to serve. Ryan has also demonstrated that selfless attitude via his willingness to take on additional side projects at Deerfield that required his effort and attention. Whether it was a maintenance project, spring cleaning or supporting the needs of another department, Ryan has shown a remarkable willingness to help when needed in myriad ways.

Further, Ryan is a great example of being nominated not only for an impressive body of work over time, as noted here, but for specific instances of praise and recommendation. Ryan has received many effusive compliments from clients who have not only taken the time to recognize his work ethic and dedication, but to share it with us. One such client was an event we hosted recently for a family celebrating a 50th Wedding Anniversary. It was a very busy day, and this particular event had many unique touches and special décor elements that were critical to the event’s success. In addition to the excellent performance of our entire team, Ryan was specifically noted in a glowing review from the client that noted, “I would also like to commend the evening’s Captain, Ryan, who professionally and seamlessly managed the flow of the event and coordinated with me throughout the evening to ensure the proper timing of key moments (grand entrance, speeches, dinner, photo montage, cake cutting, etc.)” These are the kinds of comments and reviews that will facilitate a family joining us again and again for any number of parties or celebrations. It is critical to our success that each of us seek out the opportunities to serve in the remarkable way that Ryan did in this case.

July

Fausto Torres-Gomez

Fausto is one of our most tenured employees for the entire company across any department, not just the grounds crew, having joined us back in 2007. Fausto has proven to be a most reliable and talented member of our agronomic team, regularly taking on special projects, assuming new responsibilities, and working incredibly well both independently as well as a part of a group.

The golf course is among our most valuable assets. Fausto has shown himself to be a leader in the care of this delicate and important part of our property. In the heat of the summer, he is working hard to ensure that our course is kept in wonderful shape for our players. In the coldest months of the winter, he is among the very few on the team who shoulder the responsibility of snow removal, clearing paths, laying down salt, and making sure our guests and our team can arrive and depart safely.

However, Fausto’s nomination, submitted by a department head at Deerfield – and unanimously endorsed by Deerfield’s group of Department Heads – puts it perfectly. “Fausto has always been a consistent performer on the grounds crew but has increased his leadership this year by being a model employee. Fausto completes his tasks in a timely manner while always making sure quality is never sacrificed. Even when he is tasked with a certain job he is always willing to help someone else even when it’s not his responsibility. For example, Fausto is often grabbing a blower to clean off some greens when he is mowing surrounds – or will help a newer employee who is unsure of something. He is continually willing and helpful. If Fausto sees a potential issue on the course, he can be counted on to point it out to management and not look the other way. Lastly Fausto has be best attendance record of the crew this season. Fausto constantly works his schedule and even volunteers to help on weekends off when help is needed.”

Congratulations Fausto!

June

Nathan Burgun

Since joining Deerfield in October of 2017, Nathan has become an invaluable member of our team in the kitchen, working hard and long into the night (and early morning) to make sure that an incredibly important part of our guest service – dishes and utility – is delivered flawlessly. Nathan has become an incredibly reliable resource in our kitchens over the past two years, taking on difficult, challenging jobs with determination. The Pub & Grille as well as all banquet events benefit from his complete familiarity with how that part of the property works, and his efficient and thorough effort. Deerfield would not be able to do what it does without his talent and tenacity.
However, maybe the nomination that was submitted by a colleague – and unanimously endorsed by Deerfield’s group of Department Heads – says it best. “Nathan’s consistent, positive attitude, his willingness to come in early or stay late, his dedication to ensuring all his responsibilities are completed before leaving, and his desire to help (fellow team members) with rides home so they do not half to walk in the dark to make it to the bus station are just a few of his best qualities. I have observed these and many other great qualities since Nathan began working here and I feel Employee of the Month would be a great way to honor his hard work and dedication.”

May

Michael Connor

In less than a year, Michael Connor has made a meaningful impact on our Food & Beverage team at Deerfield. Michael’s enthusiasm, team-oriented spirit of hospitality, effort, reliability and exceptional guest service has made him an immediate impact player. Not only is Michael extremely admired by our clients and appreciated by our guests, but he has quickly become one of the obvious staff leaders among his peers. Michael encourages his colleagues, and clearly has earned both their friendship and their respect as witnessed during our Summer BBQ. Michael can be trusted with virtually any task or responsibility even after such a relatively short time on the crew.
However, don’t take my word for it. We received two separate communications from clients/guests noting how exceptional Michael’s service was during each respective event. Tim Gibbs from the Delaware Academy of Medicine noted, “The service and attitude of one employee stood out as exceptional. Michael Connor was there with a smile, provided expert caring assistance at every turn, and instantly turned a couple of near missteps into wins. He was the evening’s MVP in my book.” Then, we received this from a wedding guest. “Your employees were outstanding! Michael (Connor) was especially wonderful and should be acknowledged by his supervisor in some manner. He was super sweet to me and my husband more than once that night. I had never been to your place and was highly pleased. (The) food was delicious, but the employees made it exceptional.”

April

Lizette Kennedy

Lizettte has been with Deerfield since July of 2015, and in over four years of service with Deerfield has served in a number of crucial capacities as Food & Beverage Manager, Banquet Supervisor, Sales Manager, and most memorably, the “Brunch Queen of Newark, DE.” Her talents in guest services, event design, room setup and décor, staff development and overall excellence in event sales and execution have made Deerfield a better place for team members and guests for the past four seasons.
In her nomination, Lizette is described by a manager as “the employee we all desire to be.” Most notably, her willingness to lead by example is truly second to none. Many might transition to a new role and never look back. However after transitioning to Sales from Operations earlier in 2019, she selflessly continued to assist the operations team not only for Easter and Mother’s Day dining events, but to help train the more junior Operations Managers to help ensure they were set up to be successful. Lizette truly embodies the Forewinds Hospitality values, investing time and energy into enriching each client and employee she touches.

March

Joel Hernandes

Joel has been with Deerfield since May of 2017 and in about two years with Deerfield, has helped lead several remarkable facility improvements that have made the guest experience even more exceptional. Joel’s list of skills and projects are too numerous to list here. We have seen him tackle anything from electrical and plumbing to painting and woodworking with talent, enthusiasm and determination.
Additionally, Joel regularly pitches in on any number of special requests – operationally during our largest events, helping supervise parking challenges, fixing kitchen equipment in a pinch, and enhancing or improving safety related issues around the property. Many projects pop up late in the evening or overnight, and Joel never hesitates to come back to Deerfield from home to make sure an event or a client is assisted with care. I know Joel is a trusted resource and a friend to all. Deerfield’s internal and external guests are very lucky to have his talents at their disposal.

February

Kerman “KJ” Joseph

Kerman has done an amazing job bringing an enthusiastic attitude, a friendly face, and a skilled culinary skill set to our Sunday Brunch team, as lead on the Sunrise Station. Many Sunday Brunch guests go out of their way to comment about KJ’s warm rapport and positive approach to each guest interaction.
Further, KJ has been a key addition to the catering team in the kitchen, skillfully assisting with entrée preparation, overseeing hors d’oeuvre presentations, and coordinating so many details of our catered events schedule.
Congratulations KJ!

January

Alex Johnson

Alex Johnson was nominated by several Deerfield department heads for his dedication to serving both guests and team members alike, contributing to many aspects of Deerfield’s business with care and determination, and for his tireless willingness to assist on any project big or small with enthusiasm and courtesy.
Congratulations, Alex!

Would you like to nominate a Deerfield team member as Employee Of The Month? Please fill out the online form below and tell us your story!

Winners of the Employee Of The Month Award will earn a certificate, the addition of his or her name and likeness on a plaque in the Clubhouse, the sharing of their story via our online and social media platforms, and a $50 gift card. Thanks for nominating a team member for this recognition.

Fill out my online form.