A Golden Opportunity
Jen Tordella ’17 helped spread the Olympic spirit when she interned in as a hospitality guide for NBC Universal in Rio de Janeiro.
That communications workshop last fall at the Center for Career Development? It paid off handsomely for Jen Tordella ’17. The double major in Hispanic studies and business management was selected to spend three weeks in Brazil, meeting celebrities and media CEOs, attending Olympic events, and watching the operations of a major media company unfold on an international stage.
The opportunity came about when Lisa Moody, interim director of the Center for Career Development, toured the NBC offices in New York City. She met an NBC executive who, impressed with the communications workshop program, invited Washington College students to apply for the Olympic hospitality guide position.
Last January on her way home from the gym, Tordella got the call. “I was so ecstatic,” she says. “That was probably one of the coolest moments ever.”
Tordella already had a family connection to the Olympics through her cousin Kevin Barnett, a member of the 2000 and 2004 Olympic indoor men’s volleyball team. He was also in Rio this summer, working as a commentator.
Home base for hospitality guides was the Belmond Copacabana Palace, one of the top luxury hotels in South America. Tordella’s job was to greet guests of NBC and offer activities so they could experience Rio. A typical day for her often included taking an open-air jeep full of media executives out to Corcavado (site of the famous Christ the Redeemer statue), then lunch in a treehouse restaurant, followed by an event at the Olympic swimming park. “The days were long,” Tordella says, “but it was all so much fun.”
She quickly gained confidence in a corporate environment, and was inspired to pursue job opportunities in the media field. “I think it definitely pushed me ten steps forward, to be more proactive about getting into those cool positions,” she says. “Going to the Olympics was incredible, but meeting the NBC Universal guests and hearing their stories was probably one of the most beneficial things about the experience for me.”
— Catalina Righter ’17