Spice of Life

Alison Casler, B.S. '98, flourishes from the variety in her workplace, coursework at Mizzou

Alison Casler, B.S. '98, is the vice president of human resources for Drury Hotels.Alison Casler, B.S. ’98, is the vice president of human resources for Drury Hotels.

n Alison Casler’s work environment at Drury Hotels, no two days are ever the same.

“I love the variety and the pace —it’s intense and extremely rewarding. It’s that variety that makes it so fun. I would have a hard time at a job where I did the same routine work over and over. And that is not the case in hospitality,” she said.

At Drury Hotels, Casler, B.S. ’98, is the vice president of human resources and is responsible for the brand’s 5,000 team members. Her other tasks include recruiting and visiting college campuses in search for leadership job candidates, working with benefits, employee training and development, compensation and various other duties.

One under-taking that Casler is also responsible for is studying the complexities of government regulations such as the Fair Labor Standards and Affordable Care Acts.

“There are constantly changing government regulations that I have to stay abreast on,” Casler said. “To be honest, one of the more challenging aspects of my job is keeping up with the legislation and figuring out how it impacts us here at Drury.”

Casler’s interest in the hotel industry boils down to her sense of compassion for others from both a hotel guest and employee perspective.

“It sounds so generic, but I really, sincerely enjoy taking care of others,” Casler said. “Hospitality offers that in a couple different ways. From a hotel guest perspective, trying to anticipate their needs and finding creative ways to exceed their expectations — that’s a pretty cool challenge. Caring for others also applies to your team at the hotel. As a leader, trying to anticipate the needs of my team and making sure they have a safe, fun environment to work in — that’s a challenge, too.”

After moving several times when she first entered the field, Casler and her husband settled down in St. Louis where she spent the last two years working on her MBA at Washington University while working full-time. She said she enjoys that her line of work allowed her to experience new places in Ohio, Texas and across Missouri.

“During the first few years after college, my husband and I moved five different times,” Casler said. “Something I really love about this job is that there is not only variety in the day-to-day work experience but in the locations where you do it.”

Casler started working in hotels as an undergraduate student at Mizzou, at the front desk and in housekeeping at the Drury Hotel in Columbia, Mo. To graduate, she had to meet the required number of work hours at a job within the hospitality management industry.

“When I think back to my school days at Mizzou, their program had a nice variety of course work. It included not only hotel operations, but there was human resources, finance, management, and the list could go on. There was such variety, and that coupled with the hands-on experience that is required is what really gave me a solid foundation to build upon.”

Casler said one of the most memorable things she took away from her college years at MU was the long-lasting relationships that started on campus. About a month ago, she reunited with four women she met at Mizzou for a four-day stay in Naples.

“Twenty-two years later, and I still enjoy spending time with these girls,” Casler said. “And none of us live in the same city. It’s such a treat to keep those relationships and connections through all the changes in life and as we get older.”