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Seasider Manager Aline Ly says she puts employees first as she takes on new position

Aline Ly stands in front of a sign outside of the Seasider.

Coming back to the roots of her first job at BYU–Hawaii as a Seasider general helper, BYUH alumna Aline Ly returned as the new Seasider manager beginning Winter Semester 2020. Ly said the most important part of her new position is to put her employees first. She said she believes if they are taken care of, everything else will be too.

Ly received her associate’s degree while attending culinary school at the College of Westchester in New York City. After serving a mission right after culinary school, she decided to apply to all of the CES schools. Once accepted to all three, she said she chose BYUH due to the diverse culture.

Ly graduated from BYUH in June of 2019 with a degree in hospitality and tourism management. During her time here, began working as a Seasider general helper, then transitioned into the role of a supervisor. Ly commented, “I think the difference is when you’re a supervisor, you get to see the full picture, but when you become a manager, you see the little details in between that make the whole picture.” She continued, “The way I see things now has changed.”

She shared the positive and negative challenges of working with college students as employees. She mentioned how because she is close in age, she understands what they are thinking and going through. However, she said she is also aware a line needs to be drawn between being an employee’s friend and being their boss first.

Dominic Samora, an intercultural peacebuilding alumnus from Washington, had been working during the transition from the previous Seasider manager to Ly. He said it has been helpful to have many new hires among the staff since January. “I think this gave her a good chance to start fresh with new employees and create the environment she wants to.”

Sofia Fischio, a junior from Utah majoring in art education, shared her feelings on the transition of having a new manager. “The transition has been really easy. It helps that she has been here before.” Fischio continued, “I think because she knew us already, she knew how the Seasider functioned, and she was not coming in blind.”

After working as a Seasider supervisor, Ly accepted an internship with BYUH Food Services, and after graduating, she continued to work at Food Services by overseeing the CStore and Micro Market. Ly shared she enjoys working in “Food Services because it is very giving, and you get a lot back.” She further explained, “It is also a very ‘go, go, go’ environment. I think coming from New York, that is something I enjoy a lot. The fast pace is what I enjoy.”

When asked what contributing factors Ly brought to the Seasider, Fischio responded, “She brings a lot of new ideas. I think she is thinking a lot about what the students want and ways to incorporate [those wants] to try and make the Seasider a better place.”

It was not long after overseeing the CStore and Micro Market that Ly received the opportunity to work for Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel. She said she was valued for her input, as she was able to bring a younger and refreshing perspective to the staff. Ly shared the example of her speaking Spanish from her mission. with her being bilingual, she was able to help the hotel since she was the only one who spoke Spanish. This allowed for her to be able to book and accommodate the Spanish-speaking guests who came.

It was after working at the hotel Ly said she was contacted by BYUH Food Services Director David Keala to be the new Seasider manager.

Ly said, “I think the experience from the outside and then coming back was able to give me a breather but was also an eye-opening moment of seeing what is important and what can be changed.”

She shared she was humbled to know the staff found great value in the younger perspective and the cultural perspective she was able to offer at the hotel. Ly added she was able to connect with families from different cultures because of her experience at BYUH. All of this background helped her have a successful experience.

Ly continued to share the insights she gained from working at the hotel. She shared, “One of the things I grasped was realistically learning how to email people, answering the phone, and acknowledging customers in a proper way.”

To provide examples of how Ly is incorporating various wants of other people to make the Seasider a better place, Fischio commented, “I think that she is changing the atmosphere around here. She is trying to make it more of a hang-out environment, which I think is drawing more students in.”

Having various experiences at the hotel helped her to know what she wanted to change here at the Seasider, commented Ly. “I think one of the things I noticed with working at the hotel was the seminars they would provide. [I learned] if your foundation is not strong enough, it will not make sense at all.”

She continued, “Coming into Food Services, one of the things I want to do is go back to my basics and to my foundation.” Ly shared she wants to give to students a different perspective about the Seasider so they feel comfortable and want to spend time there with their friends.