Cultivating creativity and renewal for those on a journey to redefine themselves
We’re H&F Redefined, and we can’t wait to start working together. Our goal is to provide an inspired community platform designed to foster a link between all talented professionals who seek to redefine themselves following a lay-off or furlough.
“WOWZAS!” That was the first word uttered from our retired neighbor when he first met us on move-in day. We decided to get an apartment together right out of college to take on the world… We knew we had a lot of challenges ahead of us, but figuring them out together would be key. But first, penne pasta with Parmesan sprinkle cheese at our new neighbor, and new friends, apartment! We knew we picked the right place just by the hospitality extended to us on move-in day and how appropriate considering that Hospitality is the degree we both graduated with and the direction our careers were taking us.
We can’t recall how we got paired together, more than likely sat at the same table, but we were randomly paired together to work on our first-semester project in Orlando at UCF. And as they say, the rest is history. We lived together for four years and worked at the same Marriott hotel that kick-started our careers. Together we witnessed Grey’s love affair with McDreamy, discovered our love for Corona Light (with lime!), went cave tubing in Belize, landed our DREAM jobs in our mid-twenties (with adjoining cubicles) and stood by as we watched each other say our “I Do's.”
Yes, we’ve been friends for nearly two decades and have followed each other through life's little moments. We’ve both been working for Hilton hotels for over 10 years and loved every moment of being career/family women. It hasn't always been easy, but doing what you love at such a young age has more rewarding moments than not. More recently we have both been furloughed/laid off from our careers which has given us an opportunity to reflect on redefining ourselves. However, more gratifying than that is the opportunity to provide a platform for our fellow colleagues and friends who are also trying to redefine themselves. We hope to create a community for all hospitality professionals who are turning over a new leaf and wish to showcase their talents.
Gladi and Laura
Meet The Duo
Laura Hartmann, PBC, CPCE
Born in Ohio, yet raised in Columbia, Missouri, Laura takes pride in her traditional mid-west roots which have acted as her compass over the past two decades of decision making. Without knowing the hospitality world would become her professional foundation later in life, she took her first job at 14 in a country club, and later with a famous chain restaurant while in school. Then, Laura took a leap of faith as she graduated high school to move to Orlando, Florida after being selected to join the University of Central Florida dance team. She bravely left a life that was comfortable and stable to seek out independence and the unknown with hopes of gaining a sense of accomplishment and empowerment as a young woman.
Although initially intending to study psychology and sociology, it wasn't long that she discovered she could apply many of her natural skills and passions into a different path - wedding and event planning.
Laura graduated proudly from the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality in 2007 . While in Orlando, she's worked various positions within the industry across brands such as Marriott, Starwood, Hilton and Waldorf Astoria. She gained credentials such as her PBC (Professional Bridal Consultant), CPCE (Certified Professional of Catering and Events), and is a past board member for the Orlando Chapter of NACE. In addition, she's honored to have been chosen as the food and beverage lead and project manager for an impressive list of clientele over the past 10 years with Hilton.
Furlough hit Laura while holding the title of Assistant Director of Events at a Hilton property, which was followed by an official lay off in August 2020. As bittersweet as this news has been, she's passionate about putting her skills into action and teaming up with Gladi to redefine herself and her peers that have found themselves in the same shoes/heels.
Laura is known for her creative approach to every project. She is always looking for a way to think outside the box, differentiate the experience and push her teammates to be the best for themselves and for the customer.
She loves to dream BIG and always has a vision. She's excited to partner with Gladi to present H&F Redefined to the world and shout from their keyboards about the talented redefined innovators out there that could use a little recognition.
Laura believes where there's a will, there is always a way.
Personal interests include spending time with her husband and two small boys, faith formation, dancing, visiting the beach, traveling, shopping, cheering on the Knights, all things food & beverage, reading, writing, working out and a healthy dose of mindless reality TV.
Gladi Colón, CMP
Originally from Melbourne, Florida, she now resides in Orlando, Florida where she has built her career in hospitality and event management. She started her career at a 300-room downtown Marriott hotel and quickly proved she had the tenacity and work ethic it would take to make her way into some of the largest convention hotels in Orlando to include brands representing Starwood, Hilton and Waldorf Astoria.
Gladi had dreamed of being in the event world ever since stepping foot onto campus at the University of Central Florida, Rosen College of Hospitality. Here she had the opportunity to receive training, education, hands-on experience and mentorship from some of the industry's most renowned experts. Following graduation, she spent time learning the restaurant world as the AGM of a sophisticated and acclaimed signature Italian concept that took residency inside one of Disney's most famous resorts. It wasn't long though until her dream quickly became a reality when she was recruited to transition to her first position in events with Hilton in 2009.
Finding her calling, it's been clear that meeting and event management has always been at the core of Gladi’s passion providing an outlet for her to be creative, innovative and always forward-thinking in a fast-paced ever evolving industry. In addition, the exposure to food and beverage on every project and event has also cultivated her love for culinary and wine.
Over the years she has worked on acquiring different certifications including Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) and level 1 Sommelier as recognized by the Court of Master Sommeliers.
In March 2020 Gladi was furloughed from her full-time job as the Assistant Director of Events for Hilton hotels. This led her on a journey of self-discovery and unlocking some other unique skills and talents she was passionate about like writing.
Gladi’s passion for the H&F Redefined mission comes from her faith and her desire to tell the stories of some of the greatest professionals in the nation.
After seven months of furlough, she says she was blessed to be given the opportunity to be the Director of Event Management at the Caribe Royale Orlando resort.
Personal interests include spending quality time with her husband and beloved family members, soaking up the sunshine, exploring new restaurants, traveling, wine tastings, reading, writing and watching movies.