Carolyn Bordonaro

Enthusiastic. Dependable. Determined.

Director of Sales, Hotel Saranac

Hometown: Buffalo, NY
Age: 29
Education: BS, Business Management, SUNY University of Buffalo
Community Involvement: Rotary Club of Lake Placid, board member; I also enjoy volunteering with activities and special events in the area.

What’s your biggest professional success?

My current position. Everything I’ve done for the past 15 years has brought me to this moment. The long and physical hours waitressing/bartending for years, my college education, the hotel positions I’ve held in different capacities. Early in my career I would look up to my managers/directors and wonder if and when I could ever be in their shoes. Being a part of an opening team for an enormously important project for our community has been my ultimate challenge and success so far, but I was ready for it. Reality will set in when we open the doors to our guests and all the hard work and passion will all be worth it.

What’s your dream job?

My dream career path would be to gather as many different experiences and aspects of tourism, hospitality, and restaurant expertise so that I can take all that knowledge and experience to someday own and operate my own small inn with a local upscale eatery in a destination like the Adirondacks, even if it is a retirement plan.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

Living in the North Country has truly helped me to accomplish work/life balance. Instead of having to travel or take vacation time to do my favorite things, I now have access to them while pursuing my career path. I can hike Baxter Mountain after work or walk right out my back door to explore the wilderness with my dog. I’m the type of person who, professionally, wants to do it all—oh, and it has to be perfect too! I realize this is how people can get burned out. I make time for myself every day, turn off my phone, and do something I love, whether it’s enjoying good company, going to a favorite restaurant, or exploring our beautiful region. Whenever I travel for work, I also make time for myself to explore new places and have some “me time.”

What important lessons have you learned in your career?

I’ve learned that I don’t know everything, and how important being part of a strong and diverse team is. It’s a great feeling to celebrate successes with a team, learn from each other, and have fun along the way.

What’s the most exciting trend happening in the community right now?

Maybe I’m biased, but the Hotel Saranac opening in Saranac Lake! The hotel has been closed for a few years and is undergoing major construction to restore its roaring twenties legacy. We already have a wonderful community in Saranac Lake, filled with arts, history, and great shops. The opening of the hotel is going to bring new life back into the downtown area and provide additional city style amenities to our “micropolitan” village. I can’t wait to see what other restaurants, specialty shops, activities, and talented people come into our area in the next few years.

What would make the North Country a more enjoyable place to live and work?

If there were more middle-income housing and childcare opportunities, especially in the Tri-Lakes, I think our region would be a more enticing place for young professionals to consider. The more movers and shakers, outdoor enthusiasts, and professionals from different industries that move here, the more it would benefit us all and make it easier to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

Who is your mentor and what have you learned from him/her?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have many mentors throughout my adult life, but my Dad has always been that consistent, honest, and experienced mentor to me. Even though his background is in education—as a teacher and administrator—his experiences and advice have helped me through many challenging decisions throughout my career. He has always taught me to think through situations by considering my gut feeling, but also to pause and reconsider them and ultimately to learn from every experience and apply them to making better decisions in the future.

How do you contribute to the culture of your company?

I’ve had the unique opportunity of being a part of the pre-opening team for my employer—setting the tone and developing the culture here. We are hospitality. I live and breathe it every day. It’s not only about customer service but also the way we treat our associates and work together as a team. As a leader in my organization, I always try to set a good example and am genuinely passionate about the success of our hotel, myself, and my colleagues—and bout delighting our guests.

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?

Without a doubt, moving to the Adirondacks. I knew one person when I came here, so there were a lot of unknowns, such as finding a place to live, making new connections, being further away from family/friends, being a little less accessible, and adjusting to a different lifestyle. Living here is not for everyone, but so far, my biggest risk has become the best decision I’ve made.

What is something that no one would guess about you?

I could eat authentic Mexican food every day of my life and be content.

Write a brief note to your younger self…

“Stop and smell the flowers.” Moving to the Adirondacks over three years ago was a lifestyle change for me, and since I’ve been here, I’ve promised myself that I would take advantage of every moment living in this beautiful place. Along the way, I also realized this has helped me to have a greater appreciation for all the moments and relationships in my life. Not only has it made my life more fulfilling, but it has also given me more opportunities to learn new things every day and has shaped the person I am today. If I could tell my younger self one thing it would be to be present in each moment, personally and professionally. Don’t be so concerned with what is next and always go, go, go. Take the time to have deeper conversations, ask more questions, do what you enjoy and experience new things.