Young Professional of the Month: Malinda Kothe

Santa Maria Connect Young Professionals is a Young Professionals program run by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber. Each month, the program will showcase a local young professional. This month's showcase is Malinda Kothe, Catering and Events Manager at the Historic Santa Maria Inn.

Talk a bit about yourself. What do you do professionally and what are your hobbies?
I am the Catering and Events Manager at the Historic Santa Maria Inn. The biggest part of my life is spending time with my family, raising my three children. But another passion of mine is health and fitness. 

Working with the Historic Santa Maria Inn has allowed me to get more involved with the community because I work closely with not only small and large businesses but also the people of this community by planning business meetings and special events for any occasion. It is important for my career to stay up to date with local events, new businesses opening and reaching out to community members to see if they have any needs for our services here at the Historic Santa Maria Inn.

As a local business professional, what have been your biggest challenges and triumphs during the pandemic?
The biggest challenge during the pandemic was the unknown of how and when we would re-open safely to host meeting and events again. It was hard to have to tell brides who waited their whole lives for their Wedding Day or the Businesses we have worked with for so many years that we had to cancel, or post-pone and I was not able to provide them with the answers they needed. 

The triumph was that I was fortunate to stay employed and work various positions at the property. I was able to learn and grow as a person and employee. I have gained more respect for what others do for the property. The team grew closer as we all had the same objective and that was to do whatever we could safely and efficiently to keep our doors open for our guests and that is what we did! 

What is your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite thing about my job is that I get to create lasting memories for people and see all the hard work and details that go into planning events all come together. I get to do what I love every day, and it is something I am truly grateful for. 

How are you involved in the community outside of your job?
Outside of my job I am involved in the community by teaching health and fitness classes and personal training. I also, give back when opportunities arise by donating and supporting local businesses. I enjoy giving back to the community because it is an amazing feeling to make a difference in even just one person’s life. 

Why would you encourage other young professionals to get involved/give back to their local community?
I would encourage other Young Professionals to get involved/give back to their community because they are our future. This city is constantly changing and growing as well as the people in it. But we still live with the small-town values. It is something we should cherish, and we need to take care of our community and the people who are in it. Even the smallest gesture can make the biggest changes.

What is your favorite thing about Santa Maria?
My favorite thing about Santa Maria is that it is my hometown, I grew up here as the community itself grew. The people I grew up with and went to school with are now raising their families, opening businesses, supporting businesses, and thriving here in Santa Maria. It is amazing to see! Seeing the community come together after the pandemic to re-open schools, local sports and businesses is a community I am proud to be a part of. 

If you have a suggestion for a Young Professional of the Month feature, email Alex Castillo at alex@santamaria.com