Ashley Van Anne
Birch & Vine
Individual Excellence in Customer Service
“Receiving recognition and $1,000 from Squaremouth was astonishing and brought me to tears because I know I am only one of many who perform this service with commitment and dedication to their job and their customers.”
I have been a server at the Birch and Vine restaurant for just two months. I am their newest employee, though arrived with many years of experience in the hospitality industry. The Birchwood has provided me with the best job I have ever had. Chuck Prather is an incredible and gracious owner; our Executive Chef Jason Cline is outstanding; and my fellow employees have taken me under their wing to teach me about the world of fine dining. On many days, being a server feels more like fun than work because I so enjoy what I do as part of a team that provides an outstanding customer experience. Seeing customers pleased is a real reward. Receiving recognition and $1,000 from Squaremouth was astonishing and brought me to tears because I know I am only one of many who perform this service with commitment and dedication to their job and their customers.
I moved to St. Petersburg three years ago after earning a degree in Communication Studies and Marketing from the University of North Texas. Taking advantage of an opportunity to envision my future, I am beginning to build a fulfilling and meaningful new career based on my interests and interpersonal skills. I feel called to nursing, a multidimensional job of service, and recently enrolled in demanding prerequisite classes at St. Petersburg College and a CNA course in Tampa. Soon, I will apply to University of South Florida’s Accelerated Nursing Program. Ultimately, I would like to get a Master’s Degree to qualify as a head nurse in a hospital setting. These significant goals are well worth the commitment of my time, energy, and the money I earn as a server. I learned I do not qualify for financial aid because of my B.A. degree, so I am paying for my education the old-fashioned way—through hard work.
I am grateful to the Birch and Vine for the opportunity to do a gratifying job in a beautiful setting, and to Squaremouth for the recognition and $1,000, which I’ve deposited in my tuition savings account. “Thank you” seems insufficient. I am so very grateful. I will always remember this incredible experience.
–Ashley Van Anne