Reigniting the Fire

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Image of woman in period clothing in front of the entrance to Fort Steele Heritage Town.

Daniela Carizzoni Norton was born to work in the hospitality industry. Growing up in a family-run hotel in Switzerland, she was waiting tables by the time she was five years old.

As she grew up, she continued to work in a variety of positions including a travel agency, as a tour guide and at a Swiss bank. Along the way, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

At the age of 20, Daniela travelled to New Zealand where she worked for several months at a hotel – and met her Canadian husband, Steve.  When Steve’s position brought them to Kimberley, she focused primarily on raising her family – while still taking on part-time jobs and volunteer positions.  As her girls got older, she took on a full-time job at the Chateau Kimberley, moving into the position of manager two years later.

Daniela continued in the role of manager at the Chateau until 2012 when her mother’s health started failing. Daniela then left her position and instead focused on travelling back and forth to Switzerland to help care for her mom.

In 2014, Daniela returned to the workforce in a hospitality role. However, unlike her previous experiences, she found herself not enjoying the workplace environment and thought it was maybe time to rethink her future. “I started feeling maybe it is time to change direction and to find a new career path. I looked into retail and also into leasing a café space in Cranbrook.”

While searching for the right option for her next step, Daniela learned about the 6-week Mountain Hospitality program offered at College of the Rockies.  She was immediately interested.

It was in this program – specifically the WorldHost training she received – that Daniela rediscovered her passion for the tourism industry.  After completing the program, she stumbled across a job posting for the Visitor Centre at Fort Steele Heritage Town and knew she had to apply.

With her love of the hospitality industry combined with her multilingual background, Daniela was a great candidate for the position. She is now the head of the Visitor Centre which includes the reception area, a café and a gift shop. She oversees 6 employees during the busy season and in the quieter times enjoys the one-on-one time she’s able to enjoy with “her visitors”.

Looking ahead to her future, Daniela is grateful that the Mountain Hospitality program helped reignite her love of the tourism industry and led her to find her dream job.  “I would love this to be my last job and to remain here for a few years until I retire,” she says.