Paying Southern Hospitality Forward

February 13, 2023 | Careers

Paying Southern Hospitality Forward

She got her first glimpse of the Carolina coast 10 years ago while traveling as a Russian exchange student — and Olesya Douglas was determined it wouldn’t be her last.

“I fell in love with the ocean, the warm climate and all the positive people around me,” recalls Douglas, who returned to the United States for two more summers, then extended her student visa and ultimately made Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, her home. “I feel so lucky and I appreciate every day of my life in South Carolina.” 

Now working as the operations manager at Homewood Suites Myrtle Beach, Douglas pays forward the Southern hospitality she herself received as a visitor.

“I get to meet all kinds of people from all over the United States,” Douglas says, adding that she also loves being surrounded by motivated team members and enjoying a beautiful ocean view while she works.

What’s more, Douglas was able to continue her education with support from OTO’s Tuition Reimbursement Program. She recently graduated magna cum laude from Coastal Carolina University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a CPA concentration.

Once she no longer needed to cram for college courses, Douglas began studying for the U.S. Citizenship Test. She sat for the exam — which focuses on civics and history — on Nov. 8. She passed with flying colors: red, white and blue, of course.

“I am extremely proud to be an American!” she says. “Some people might take the freedom and liberty we have here for granted; however, being born in Russia, I tremendously appreciate our freedom of religion, speech and press.”

Away from work, this freshly minted American loves spending time with her family. She and her husband, Zachary, have two young children — Emilia, 4, and Nicholas, 2 — who keep them plenty busy.

The Douglas family enjoys making the most of the travel perks afforded to Hilton employees. They take frequent road trips — recent destinations include Asheville, North Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; and Columbia, South Carolina — and they’re looking forward to a big trip this summer to Disney World and SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida. 

“Just like our guests, we all love to travel,” Douglas says.

CAPTION: HOMEWOOD SUITES Operations Manager Olesya Douglas recently became a U.S. citizen.  

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