The Inspiring Team At Cork Factory Hotel

The Lancaster Chamber’s Professional Women’s Forum is a half-day program for businesswomen and professionals dedicated to the advancement of women in the workplace, hosted by the Chamber’s Women in Business community.

This year, we have the privilege of hosting the 2021 Professional Women’s Forum: Metamorphosis at the Cork Factory Hotel! We wanted to spotlight the dynamic team of women behind our historic and welcoming venue. Check out their inspiring profiles below!

Name:  

Jill Fanning

Position at Cork Factory Hotel: 

Co-Owner  

Favorite thing about your job or what energizes you the most about your career:

My favorite thing about my job is watching the team at Cork Factory Hotel work together to execute each event with their various talents, creativity, and personalities.  They truly care for our customers and for each other, which is a joy to witness.

How have you cultivated confidence or overcome challenges in your professional journey?

With each challenge I face, two lessons run through my mind. The first is a quote from Nelson Mandela, which sits at my desk: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” The second is a lesson from scripture shared by my mother as I was growing up, which is that “this too shall pass”.  

These words help me remain faithful to tackle each challenge with patience, honesty, and humility. Getting outside and finding ways to clear my head are also crucial for me too. And lastly, it is comforting knowing that I will learn something and grow stronger from each challenging experience.

Name: 

Jenny Mercandetti

Position & Time at Cork Factory Hotel: 

Director of Sales and Operations, 4.5 years

Favorite thing about your job or what energizes you the most about your career:

I love working together with an amazing team to help our clients host some of the most memorable celebrations of their lives as well as meeting people from all different walks of life and connecting with them on a personal level. I don’t view myself as a salesperson because I truly believe I am here to help guests to have the best possible experience, and the relationships I cultivate with people are genuine and not just transactions.  

How does your personal identity tie in or connect to your professional role?

I pride myself on being a person of honesty, integrity, inclusion, and empathy and these values have helped me to develop into a successful leader with my team as well as a well-respected professional with my clients. I don’t ask the individuals that I oversee to do things that I would never do, and I expect those individuals to work and behave in a manner that mirrors my own. I also have been a lifelong believer in the mantra of “treat others the way you wish to be treated” and that has served me extremely well thus far in my career.  I also want to note that being a woman and in the position I am in, I am extremely proud to be where I am and am continually trying to grow and achieve more professionally. I am not one to stay still in my personal life, and the same applies to my professional life. Someone once told me to reach beyond the stars when I was very young and that has remained with me my entire life. 

Name: 

Keri Vital

Position & Time at Cork Factory Hotel: 

Event Coordinator, 6 years

Favorite thing about your job or what energizes you the most about your career: 

Having the opportunity to meet and work with so many great people and helping to make their visions for their events come to life!

How have you cultivated confidence or overcome challenges in your professional journey?

Coordinating events comes with a lot of pressure, because the goal is to make every event perfect for the client. When I first started this career, I was very unsure of myself and became quite overwhelmed at times, but I have grown so much more confident throughout the years of working in the event industry, and I feel that I can handle almost any challenge!

Name: 

Felicia Donton

Position & Time at Cork Factory Hotel:

Front Office Manager, 10 years

Favorite thing about your job or what energizes you the most about your career: 

The thing that energizes me most about my career is the constant flow of eclectic people throughout our establishment. 

How does your personal identity tie in or connect to your professional role?

I’ve always been drawn to different groups of people and I’m very intrigued by everyone’s way of operation.

How have you cultivated confidence or overcome challenges in your professional journey? 

The best way I’ve learned to overcome challenges in my career is to remember – One thing at a time and fast does not always mean correct.

Name:

Gwen Frain

Position & Time at Cork Factory Hotel:

Director of Events / Front of House Manager, 10 years

Favorite thing about your job or what energizes you the most about your career:

My favorite thing about my job is watching the faces of the guests at the end of the event.  Seeing the approving looks knowing their day was special. 

How have you cultivated confidence or overcome challenges in your professional journey?

I think the thing that has propelled me forward in my career is trying to remain positive with staff and clients.  If a client is having a bad day and you stay positive and kind you can turn their day around.  Same with staff.  If you stay positive with the staff, encourage them, and appreciate the job they do for you or notice the littlest thing that is over and above they will in return hold their head up a bit higher and work a bit harder.

Name:

Tammy Hurley

Position & Time at Cork Factory Hotel:

Executive Chef, 12 years

Favorite thing about your job or what energizes you the most about your career:

My favorite aspect of my job from the very beginning has always been the love of making food and making others happy!

How does your personal identity tie in or connect to your professional role?

I grew up on a dairy farm and my mom has always cooked everything from scratch so that was ingrained in me at a very early age, and I have brought that with me to every professional opportunity I have ever had.  My work ethic was developed from my dairy farm background and there is no option to not give your all, try your best, and work as hard as you can to achieve our goals.

How have you cultivated confidence or overcome challenges in your professional journey?

Being a female in the culinary world was quite difficult when I was growing up so simply being a woman and a Chef presented countless challenges.  I felt like I needed to assert myself more to be noticed so I became very determined and have remained that way, and it has benefitted me tremendously.  Sometimes people view me as aggressive, but honestly, I am just determined, strong, independent, capable, and I couldn’t be prouder being a woman and accomplishing all that I have in my nearly 30 years of my culinary career.  I refused to accept “no” as an answer and I kept my head down and worked hard every single day to get where I am today. 

Thank you to our Unique Sponsors for this event, Orrstown Bank and Spooky Nook Sports.

Orrstown Bank is one of the largest independent community banks in the region. Orrstown continues to provide a full range of consumer, business, and wealth management services to its neighbors.

Spooky Nook Sports is the largest indoor sports complex in the United States, providing regulation courts and playing fields for more than a dozen sports under one roof. In addition to the 700,000-square-foot indoor facility, The Nook offers an outdoor field hockey pitch and a climate-controlled dome used for field hockey, soccer, football and more.