“The best part of what I have done so far at The Laurel stems back to the beginning. I was selling clients dirt and floor plans—and then was able to see their faces when I had delivered on what was promised.“
Our General Manager, Shannon Lepard, is devoted to ensuring every client—from start to finish—receives the best experience possible at The Laurel. Shannon joined our team after having lead teams at two of Dallas’ luxury hotels and brings over 10 years of event planning experience and expertise to The Laurel.
Shannon, what lead you to the hospitality industry?
My first career was as a professional dancer where I worked and traveled the world performing in entertainment shows on land and at sea. When I moved to land full time, I knew I wanted to get into event planning. I started as a front desk agent at a limited service hotel and quickly moved through the ranks to a Social Catering Manager/Wedding Planner at a Luxury Westin Resort. I trained to be a Certified Wedding Planner with AACWP, one of DFW’s best wedding organizations.
What values did you learn along the way that you use now as General Manager at The Laurel?
I was taught to not only sell, but to provide an emotional and hands-on experience rare to the hotel industry. I work every day to teach my team at The Laurel the same values. The owners also share in my passion for customer service, so it was a “marriage” made in heaven when I joined the team.
How would you describe the ethos of The Laurel and those you work with?
We are an “all hands on deck" team. We believe in each other and know the support will always be there when needed. We are not afraid to get our hands dirty. The owners are very involved as well which helps keep the morale up if we’ve had a rough day.
How does The Laurel differ from other wedding venues/hotels in the area?
Not only is The Laurel a great place to work, but I also feel we provide more of a personal touch then I have seen at hotels or other venues. Coming from a hotel background, I was unsure about working at a wedding venue. But when I sat down with the owners, I knew they would do everything they could to provide the professionalism I was accustomed to. We really care about our clients and will try to do everything we can to make each one happy. I am proud to be a part of that!
Can you describe a standout experience you've had at The Laurel?
The best part of what I have done so far at the Laurel stems back to the beginning. I was selling clients dirt and floor plans and then was able to see their faces when I had delivered on what was promised. To hear how happy they were that we did what we said we were going to do—and even more—has made this experience completely worth it. My job would mean nothing if it wasn’t for my clients who I see laugh, cry and hug me with joy at how much the Laurel contributed to their big day. That’s why I do it!
Finally, you mentioned your career started as a professional dancer—would we recognize any of the characters you played?
My first job as a Professional Dancer was on Sesame Street Live as Grover. I traveled the country at 18 years old (one week out of high school) and performed in a different city every week. It was scary and I cried the first two weeks, but I stuck it out and it taught me that I can do anything. I pushed myself to be brave—that was my first step to the rest of my life and career in risk-taking.
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