Management

Sean Zier, General Manager

I have lived in numerous parts of the United States and bring wonderful memories from Minneapolis/St.Paul, Minnesota; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Indianapolis, Indiana; Chicago, Illinois; Anchorage, Alaska; New York City and currently West Hartford, Connecticut for the last 4 years. I attended Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana where I majored in political science.

I have over 17 years of experience in restaurant and private event management and the Food and Beverage/Hospitality industry. I have held essentially every position in a restaurant, from washing dishes, bussing, waiting tables, bartending or cooking, all assets I apply in my profession now. In New York, I was an integral part of the opening of The Modern, the Danny Meyer owned restaurant at The Museum of Modern Art. I managed private events ranging from 6 to 600 guests, including Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, as well as Tom Brokaw’s retirement gala. While living in New York, I was also the General Manager of two French restaurants in midtown Manhattan. Upon moving to Connecticut, I took a management position at Max Downtown in Hartford.

In September 2008 I married my wonderful wife, Lara, at The Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station in Haddam. I was contacted by managing partner, Jim Bucko, a few months later in regards to a new venue opening in Hartford, The Society Room of Hartford. The fantastic cuisine, cordial and attentive staff and the overall attention to detail I received at my wedding made it a very easy decision to say yes when offered the General Manager position at The Riverhouse, at the beginning of January 2009. In October 2009, I transferred my office to The Society Room and have thoroughly enjoyed being at the helm of such a beautiful and unique location. I am excited for the limitless possibilities for our venue and am proud to work with such hard working colleagues in a breathtaking environment.

Providing our clients with the finest cuisine and service and offering them an experience that will supply them with a lifetime of memories makes this an extremely rewarding occupation. My passion for this business is equaled by our capability to consistently exceed the expectations of our guests.


Cecilia Han, Director of Operations

When I accepted the position as Director of Operations at the Society Room 1½ years ago, I did so with the confidence that my extensive background in the food service industry would serve me well. As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, I have the formal training necessary for the job. Equally valuable, in my mind, is the 30 plus years of on the job experience I bring with me. Not only have I owned and operated my own catering company in Boston, S & S Fine Foods , I have also served in various assignments in restaurants, hotels, private schools, and other high-end catering companies.

Immediately preceding my tenure here at the Society Room, I served as Director of Operations for Jordan Caterers & Event Planners of Cheshire, CT. This involved the management of many corporate events and galas, among them the New Britain Museum Gala, the Amistad Center for Art & Culture Gala, and the Juneteenth Wadsworth Atheneum Gala. Since my arrival here at the Society Room, I have overseen major corporate and fund-raising events, large political gatherings, and at least 175 weddings to date.

My personal and professional philosophy is simple: to see that every event, be it a company breakfast for 20, a wedding for 200, or a gala for 1000, has the same positive outcome. Every guest that leaves the Society Room should feel that they have just received the very best that our facility has to offer.


Chip Miller, Executive Chef

I started my culinary career in my high school years during the mid 80′s. I moved several times and had the opportunity to work in various high volume restaurants and inns across the country. The excitement and energy of the restaurant industry lured me to Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, where I graduated in 1995 with an Associates’ degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelors’ degree in Restaurant Management.

I fueled my career and passion for cuisine with visits to Thailand and Singapore until I found the casino world in 1996. I opened the Atlantis located on Paradise Island, Bahamas. I was also the Executive Sous Chef for Mohegan Sun between the years 2000 and 2009 where I had oversight for various outlets from the Steak houses to Italian cuisine. My biggest project at Mohegan Sun was the expansion of the Asian Cuisine entity. From the layout of the kitchen, to development of the menu, training of staff and everything in between, I found myself spearheading the development and design of the Asian and steak house concepts. After a solid 14 years in the casino world I wanted something new in the culinary industry.

In December 2009, I joined the team of Compass Group under their corporate dining sector Flik International. I was the Executive Chef of Aetna, their flagship property in Hartford, offering a newly renovated, cutting edge dining facility accommodating up to 6000 employees as well as executive dining for the most influential people in the company. From Healthy Throw Downs with Bobby Flay to the development of healthy recipes while exceeding national nutritional guidelines, it was truly a unique experience in which I brought a new level of dining to the World Headquarters of Aetna.

I enjoy the changing seasons of New England as well as supporting local farmers in our community and neighboring states. These relationships influence many of my dishes and allow me to utilize the freshest ingredients. We have such a great coastline with many species of fish that flourish such as scallops in Stonington and Mahi-Mahi off the coast of Long Island, to name a couple. I enjoy working along side local farms for produce as well as dairy farms for unique cheeses and ice creams. I also like to partner with local apple orchards, berry farms and wineries as well. The bounty of products I have to incorporate into my dishes from our region makes being a Chef and creating menus even more rewarding.

The elegance of The Society Room will pair wonderfully with my creative spirit and innovative cuisine. I enjoy working personally with guests to create a memorable personalized experience.

If you don’t find me in the kitchen, you will find me 80 miles off shore fishing for giant tuna, swordfish and sharks.


Jessica Correia, Corporate Sales Manager

Jessica Correia has been the corporate sales manager for The Society Room of Hartford since 2008.

I am a graduate of Johnson & Wales University and relocated to Connecticut from West Chester, PA. I came to The Society Room with 7 years of event sales and planning experience. My career started as a sales and event manager for Marriott Hotels throughout the state for six years. Prior to joining the Society Room I worked with Jordan Caterers & Event Planners selling and servicing events in the Hartford area and beyond. My focus was primarily on events held at the Wadsworth Athenaeum of Art. Highlights of my resume include events such as the Wadsworth Atheneum Annual Gala, The Hartford Symphony Annual Gala, Mastercam Annual Meeting, Fox 61 Morning

News Premier Party, Delta Sigma Theta Conference, Dan Malloy’s Election Party, numerous weddings and countless corporate meetings and seminars.

Jim Bucko, General Manager said, “Mrs. Correia worked with us on our first event Riverhouse Catering held at The Society Room in May 2008. I was completely impressed with Mrs. Corriea’s knowledge of the business, attention to detail and calm demeanor. Knowing we would be occupying the space at 31 Pratt Street long term I asked Mrs. Correia if she would be interested in joining our sales team and to my delight she accepted.”


Dana Montanari, Wedding and Social Events Coordinator

I began my career in the food and beverage industry back in 1998 before I even realized that I truly loved it. At the age of 16 I took a part-time job as a server assistant at a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. It wasn’t until I became banquet server for a small country club in my hometown several years later that my passion for catering and events began to take flight.

After a few years of working the floor, I was offered a full time position at Indian Hill Country Club in Newington, CT where I contributed my personal touches in creating and stylizing events ranging from large member golf outings to weddings and beyond. Within that position I finally felt like I was on the right track. Taking the next steps forward on my journey into the field, I spent a long summer on Cape Cod working at Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club where I learned more of the inner workings of what makes this industry so great. Shortly after I moved back, I took a position with Max Restaurant Group as a Catering Manager at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, CT. The year that I spent within that position was when I fell in love with it all.

I have had the opportunity to work within the walls of 31 Pratt Street before The Society Room had even become a twinkle in anyone’s eye. When Riverhouse Catering took over the venue fulltime in January of 2009 and I was offered the position of the Wedding and Social Events Coordinator, I believe I accepted before the owner, Jim Bucko, even finished asking me the question! The historically beautiful ballroom has become one of my favorite places to be and I couldn’t be any happier working within it. It is a great place for me to combine my enthusiasm for design, my eye in photography and my love for food and drink! Since The Society Room has come to be, we have collectively hosted hundreds of weddings, social parties and corporate events. Being part of such a great team within an unmatched venue that serves the best event food in Hartford… well, that is just the best!!


Desmond Abdul, Assistant Banquet Manager

Since moving to the U.S. three years ago, all of my work experiences have been centered on the food service industry. My background includes employment at a well-known Hartford restaurant, The Russell, as well as at Jordan Caterers and Event Planners of Cheshire, CT. It was here at Jordan’s Operations Department that I met and began working with Cecilia Han. When she made the move to the Society Room a year and a half ago, she offered me a position in the Operations Department here. Since that time, she has served as a mentor to me, and with her training I have been able to attain my current position as Assistant Banquet Manager.

Having worked and trained so closely with Ms. Han, I have adopted her point of view as to the quality of service we should provide to each and every client. We strive to produce a memorable event every time, and we operate as a well-coordinated team in order to do so.

 

 


Jane DiMartin, Corporate Sales Manager

After receiving my Bachelor of Science degree in Restaurant, Hotel and Institutional Management from Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN I knew I found my true calling for my career. I am excited to bring over 25 years of Event Planning experience to The Society Room of Hartford!

Whether it was planning a dance as Social Chairman for my sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma, or orchestrating a cookout in the desert for 3000 associates for a Fortune 500 Company in Scottsdale, AZ, I have always enjoyed the execution of a great event experience for people, as well as superior Customer Service.

I have been fortunate to have some incredible career Event Planning experiences, including stunt flying in the Grand Canyon and Sedona with Executives, meeting Sammy Davis Jr. while interning during college in Indiana, flying to Hawaii in a U.S. Air Force refueling plane and running a Dairy Queen with my husband of 24 years while raising twin daughters!

I have great respect for The Riverhouse Properties and everything the company has accomplished in the past 7 years. The Society Room of Hartford has everything I want in a career ~ a stunningly beautiful venue, a fabulous team of professionals, exceptional food and the assurance that the Corporate groups who have their Meetings, Dinner Receptions, Galas and Anniversary Celebrations will have a truly unforgettable experience!


Melissa Vailette, Social Events and Assistant Wedding Sales Manager

Melissa started at Donovan’s Reef in the beginning of her junior year in high school as a busser and worked private events, such as christenings, anniversary and birthday parties. Although it wasn’t until she worked at Mango’s Bar & Grille that she really fell in love with the business. The hustle and bustle of a working kitchen, tables full in the dining room and laughter coming from the bar was music to her ears. Melissa earned the position of Assistant Manager but this was not enough for her, she wanted something more.In 2007, Melissa knew she wanted to be an event coordinator while assisting in the planning process of her brother’s wedding. Taking part in meetings with florists, making favors and going to look at dresses with her now sister in-law had made such an impression that she knew this was the path she wanted to pursue. Melissa soon found herself looking at all different bridal magazines, researching different events as well as getting involved with any offsite catering. During each event, she would absorb many setup styles and event execution while gaining experience and learn as much as she could.Melissa began with Riverhouse Properties in January 2012 as in intern at The Riverhouse and has been hired as Social Events and Assistant Wedding Sale Manager at The Society Room of Hartford as of July 2012.