The longevity of a career is worth its weight in gold, and the Chrysalis Inn & Spa in Bellingham has an invaluable talent for nurturing an environment of mutual respect and camaraderie among its staff. Employees John Souza, Rebecca Ellis and Cassie Wiebe embody the strength and dedication behind what it means to work in the hospitality industry.
Front desk agent and graphic designer John Souza fulfills his roles with fervor and a natural touch to hospitality. He has been in the industry since his mid-twenties, starting his career in Minnesota before hiking out west. âI moved here to Bellingham in 2005 to visit new places,â says Souza, ââ I’ve always had my eye on the West Coast. ”
Upon his arrival, Souza held a position with Village Inn for three years before moving to the Chrysalis Inn & Spa, where he has stayed for the past 13 years.
After starting reception, John eventually returned to school and studied graphic design, a move that helped him transition to other opportunities within Chrysalis. “I was able to integrate the sales department of Chrysalis after having resumed graphic design studies”, explains Souza. “I did some of the early web work for them before we partnered with Hilton.” Now he works at the front desk on Fridays and Saturdays while doing graphic design for the Chrysalis remotely.
It’s a tough balance, but Souza succeeds. His versatility at Chrysalis knows no bounds, and Souza comments that being at the front desk means being multitasking and making quick decisions, especially during the busiest times.
John also recognizes the unique benefits of working up front and the welcoming atmosphere he seeks to create with his guests. âIt’s always nice to see different people from different parts of the country and the world,â he says. âWe always make people feel welcome and safe. Especially now we want people to feel like they have a safe space to come to. “
Outside of his busy schedule, John leads a calm and peaceful life. âI love Netflix, hiking, biking, and reading good books,â he says. âI really like science fiction movies and shows. You may also catch him reading design books and learning more about his craft.
It is clear that John loves his career and the people he works with at Chrysalis Inn & Spa.
âThe Chrysalis is a great team and within the departments there are a lot of people who have been there for a few good years,â says Souza. “They are a good team, a good family, and the management is always supportive of us.”
Laundry Manager Rebecca Ellis has worked for the Chrysalis Inn & Spa for over 16 years. Her days at the hostel are packed with activities from the moment she walks in to work until she leaves.
âUsually I arrive around 8 am and run the laundry room,â says Ellis. âThroughout the day there are people in the laundry room from eight in the morning until eight in the evening. We wash, fold, sort all the laundry that comes down, then put the clean laundry in the cleaning cupboards.
Ellis helps manage the hostel’s essential workforce which keeps key components fresh and smells like heaven.
Next year will mark the seventeenth year that Ellis has worked for the Chrysalis, continuing to achieve longevity in a career of service to others. In her early days, she worked in housekeeping and slowly moved on to laundry service.
âThey had an advertisement for housekeeping, and I applied for the job,â Ellis recalls. âI cleaned for 6-8 years cleaning rooms, then moved to the spa and worked as a spa attendant. Eventually I moved into the laundry and have been there for about seven to eight years.
Ellis credits his management and colleagues for his desire to stay at the hostel for so long – it’s just a nice atmosphere to be a part of.
Outside of her hospitality career, Ellis appreciates the simple pleasures of life. She lives with and loves her two cats, Johnny and Naya. Any day, Ellis can be found listening to crime stories or walking the trails around her house. âI’m a huge movie fan and a great cat person,â says Ellis. “I also watch romantic comedies and action movies.” Rocket man,
a moving biopic about Elton John, is one of her recent favorites, but Ellis jokes that she hasn’t had time to watch the vast collection of Marvel movies yet.
Head Massage Therapist Cassie Wiebe brings to the Chrysalis Inn & Spa team a wealth of experience and a passion for helping others. A longtime exercise and outdoor enthusiast, Wiebe enjoys running and hiking on her days off, and any quality time spent with her beloved furry babies is her favorite spot. âI’m well known for being absolutely obsessed with my dogs,â says Wiebe.
This Whatcom native also enjoys exploring her roots in the home she has known all her life. âI was born and raised in Whatcom County, and I love it here,â she says. “I always knew I wanted to work somewhere in Bellingham and not move.”
After working part-time at a local gym, Wiebe heard good things about the Chrysalis Inn & Spa and decided to apply. âIt seemed like a nice change of scenery,â says Wiebe. “Over time, I slowly moved on to a full time job with the Chrysalis.”
The most rewarding part of her job is the impact she has on her clients, something she loves most about being a massage therapist. âIt’s nice to be a part of their celebrations; it’s nice to be an enjoyable part of their day, âsays Wiebe. “They come in with aches and pains, and I’m doing my best to make this hour, hour and a half of their day a positive experience.”
Like John and Rebecca, Cassie epitomizes the encouraging and hospitable atmosphere for which the Chrysalis Inn & Spa has become famous.
Featured photo of Cassie Wiebe courtesy of Chrysalis Inn & Spa