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When Joclyn McDonald moved to Colorado more than six years ago from Syracuse, N.Y., it was pretty much a no-brainer that she would wind up working in restaurants.

“I practically waited tables in my mom’s belly!” says the catering and banquet manager for Hodsons Denver and Hodsons SouthGlenn, who has been with Hodsons’ parent company Roadhouse Hospitality Group for six years, and celebrates three years with Hodsons in April.

McDonald grew up in Ogdensburg, N.Y., on the Canadian and U.S. border, along the St. Lawrence River. She graduated from business school and went to work in employee relations for a local government agency in Syracuse, N.Y., but the call of the Colorado lifestyle was too strong.

“When I left to move to Colorado, all of my friends said, ‘What are you going to do if you can’t find a job?’” says McDonald. “I said, ‘I can always wait tables!’”

And that’s exactly what she did, starting at Spanky’s Urban Roadhouse, where she quickly worked her way up to managing shifts, followed by stints at other Roadhouse restaurants.

Luckily for the guests who book their weddings, wedding rehearsals, baby showers, office parties and other big group gatherings and special events at Hodsons’ two locations – including in the comfortable and intimate wine cellar-style private room at Hodsons SouthGlenn – she soon took over the responsibilities of helping people plan their important life celebrations.

Here’s a Q&A that offers a glimpse into her world.

What’s the best thing about being a catering and banquet manager?

Getting to meet and talk to new people everyday. I love to talk! I also enjoy being involved with all the different restaurants. I’m lucky to work with so many amazing and helpful people.

What’s your favorite dish at Hodsons and why?

My favorite dish at Hodsons right now is the dueling tuna. It’s a beautiful dish, with so many different flavors and three of my favorite things: avocado, tuna, and wasabi.

What’s the coolest event that you’ve done at Hodsons?

Weddings are always great events! I’d have to say the best was one of our managers had his wedding at our downtown location. So many of the guests were family and friends of the different restaurants. It was like being at family wedding, and sharing in their special day was an awesome experience!

What’s a skill you have that has really been called into play in this career?

This past year has been all about improvement. Some things I’ve really been working on are adapting to change and keeping a positive attitude. There is never a dull day in this industry, and keeping a positive attitude allows you to find a solution in an ever-changing environment.

People would be surprised to know that I . . .

I don’t think people would be surprised by much! I’m an open book. I think my coworkers know more about me than they would like to. Like I said, I LOVE to talk. Oh, I might have one they probably wouldn’t believe: I’ve swum to Canada multiple times! Remember the St. Lawrence River? It’s only about a mile swim across. My dad’s family owns camps along the river, and every summer my family does the swim across. That tradition got me into competitive swimming in high school.

To book your next great event at Hodsons Denver or Hodsons SouthGlenn with Joclyn, contact her here or at 720-355-6265.

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