After retiring from public service a few years ago, Linda “Sammie” Gard was interested in reinventing herself and starting a new career. Although she didn’t think there was anything new to learn about the area, the native and lifelong resident of the Outer Banks was surprised to learn College of The Albemarle (COA) had a Hospitality and Tourism Certification program. Gard thought it might be something she’d like to try. During her first Customer Service class, she was hooked and continued on to receive her Reservationist Certification. Gard’s favorite class was the Outer Banks Ambassador class where she discovered new places and local history she hadn’t known before. She says because of that class she has “been an ambassador ever since!”
Gard always felt she had good people skills, and with the encouragement and support of her instructors and fellow classmates she is now confident she can make a positive impact on the Outer Banks hospitality industry.
Gard says she was glad the classes were just a few weeks each and she didn’t have to commit to long hours of study to complete her certification. The bonding experience she had with fellow classmates helped her “grow and become better” in many areas.
Gard is thrilled to now be working full time as a reservationist for one of the Outer Banks’ largest real estate agencies.