Community profile: Humbly motivated, this Garfield County woman anything but ‘average’
Monica Vetter brings her brand of hospitality to Glenwood Springs
At first glance there’s nothing out of the ordinary about Monica Vetter. The 40-year-old Denver native and mother to two adult children works as the front desk supervisor at Hotel Colorado.
“I’m just your average, boring person,” Vetter said.
Yet Vetter, who earned a certificate in hospitality as well as an associate’s in restaurant management from Colorado Mountain College, is an extraordinary example of what someone can accomplish.
Five years ago, Monica had no postsecondary education under her belt.
Vetter had moved to Garfield County in 2004 with her husband, whose family lived in the area.
“I was always working the dead-end jobs, the fast food jobs, the jobs that aren’t going anywhere.”
Vetter said she was hired as the front desk auditor at Affordable Inns in Glenwood Springs in August 2014.
“They were the ones to take a chance on me and help me get my foot in the door,” Vetter said.
For three years, Vetter worked the overnight shift.
“At first I was asking myself, why am I here? But I like people,” Vetter said.
“I like meeting new people and there you got just that right amount — you get to say hi, how are you? Some of them are recurring. The camaraderie was there, but at the same time you didn’t have to see them all the time.”
In 2015, Vetter divorced her husband and moved in with a friend who was attending Colorado Mesa University. That inspired Vetter to invest in herself and enroll in classes at Colorado Mountain College, which offered a hospitality program and offered commuter campuses so Vetter, who lives in Rifle, could attend class when she was in Glenwood Springs between work shifts.
“It’s not exactly easy, when you haven’t been in school for 20 years; it’s a little different,” Vetter said.
Vetter used the downtime while working overnight shifts to study, and could often be found buried in a text book in the Affordable Inns lobby.
The hard work paid off.
“I graduated with my second degree last December — I get an actual graduation next month,” Vetter said.
Vetter applied for a position at the Hotel Colorado in January, even though the historic hotel wasn’t technically hiring.
But it was Vetter’s pursuit of higher education in hospitality and her work experience that impressed Kate Kropid, the front office manager at Hotel Colorado.
“I knew she was super excited and was going to be here long-term,” Kropid said.
“It’s actually funny — when I met her we talked a lot about school and her work experiences, but I kind of got glimpses of her personality,” Kropid said.
“You’re going to have fun with Monica. She’s a character and super outgoing, friendly and not afraid to be herself.”
Kropid said she’ll often overhear Vetter interact with unhappy guests at the front desk.
“She knows how to talk to people. I can tell from their voice they’re having a bad day and she’ll say one thing that just cheers them up.”
Kropid explained that job prospects in many career fields have stalled somewhat due to COVID-19 and she knows many people who have gone back to school for a degree as a result.
“But Monica did it because she just wanted to do something different and she worked to put herself through that. She’s just so motivated,” Kropid said.
“She is really humble. I really don’t think she realizes how awesome and how motivated.”
Taking on more classes per semester and working two jobs wasn’t feasible, so Vetter decided to end her employment at the Affordable Inns last month.
Vetter is taking 13 credits this semester. She’s on track to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Leadership and Management in 2022 and is working towards a Bachelor’s of Arts and Sciences degree in Resort Management and an Associate’s Degree in Restaurant and Culinary Management by 2023.
Vetter is paying out of pocket for her education and proudly holds a 3.7 GPA.
When it comes to paying credit, Vetter does that from a grateful heart.
“I don’t think I’d be where I am today without the support from my few friends and family, Vetter said.
Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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