Vivianna Macias-Katzenstein

Vivianna Macias-Katzenstein

’Thanks to the program I have learned what to expect about customer service’

Pilot project student Vivianna Macias-Katzenstein gives thumbs up to the Service Industry Skills program

Growing up in the tourist hotbed of Tijuana, Mexico, Vivianna Macias-Katzenstein had a busy childhood helping in her father’s restaurant. 

Today, she is an Edmontonian with plans for a restaurant of her own one day. Edmonton patrons, however, are a little different than what she is used to.

“I’ve learned that people here need things to be a little more formal. In Mexico, we are a little more casual.”

It is to understand varying character traits like this that prompted the 27-year-old to take advantage of a two-day pilot program held in November for one of NorQuest College’s newest offerings.

The Service Industry Skills program operates out of the college’s new Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation Hospitality Institute. In January it began conducting regular courses, which are short in duration and have ongoing start dates until the end of March.

“Thanks to the pilot program, I learned what to expect about customer service in Canada,” says Macias-Katzenstein.

But it’s not just the restaurant business that the institute covers. The programming teaches leading-edge skills in a range of disciplines including guest services, safety, supervision, service industry operations, and event delivery.

“The tools that you receive help you feel more professional,” she says.  “You learn the expectations of people, and you can do your job with more knowledge and confidence.”

Her increased self-assurance has already paid off. Not long after completing the sessions she was contacted by an employer, who had also taken part in the pilot, and was offered a job as a guest services agent at a leading Edmonton hotel.