ST. PETERSBURG — Adrian Robbins wears many hats, and every one of them seems to be a great fit.
The catering and sales manager at the downtown St. Pete Hilton, Robbins is also the president of the Bay Area Concierge Association, has done modeling for TV and print media and even has the power to bring couples together in matrimony as an ordained minister.
Pretty impressive for a 30 year old. With her easy and welcoming manner, she secured her first job in the business as a hotel operator at the age of 16.
“Originally I started working at the Don Cesar as a PBX operator,” Robbins explained, “then throughout college I cross trained through the front desk and the concierge desk, so I was working both of those departments. And then I applied to get my le clef d’or key, which is the highest rank that a concierge can be in the area.”
It translates as literally “the key of gold” and signifies that the members have had years of training and are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to advising guests on restaurants, nightlife, sporting and theater events, sightseeing tours and other activities.
Not long after, Robbins obtained her notary license and applied to become an ordained minister. At 20, she performed her first weddings at the Don Cesar when most young adults her age were crashing sorority and fraternity parties. It might be natural to think that some couples were taken aback when they realized someone so young was to marry them, but Robbins asserted that they were just happy to be in the moment.
“They were really relaxed because a lot of them were on vacation and it would be a spur-of-the-moment type thing,” she explained, “so they decided to just get married.”
Sometimes the bride and groom were caught up in the moment, quite literally.
“I did have this one couple that had just met each other at the hotel,” Robbins said, “and were hanging out at the bar and had this long conversation and decided to get married! So they got the marriage license, came back to the desk and I performed the ceremony for them.”
Robbins still keeps in touch with the couple, who now have added a little daughter to the family.
She specialized in performing only intimate weddings, which means the number of guest could total anywhere from two to 30. She said that often it would just be the bride and groom or a couple of close relatives.
“A lot of times it was second time around weddings,” she said, “where they just wanted something simple and easy.”
She has quite a few ceremonies under her belt, having personally performed 150 weddings in 2012 and 105 in 2013.
After Robbins did intimate weddings on her own at the hotel for about three years, the Don Cesar created an official intimate wedding position, and asked her to come down to do these weddings directly for the hotel. She did it for about two years, until her current position became open at the Hilton.
“I thought it was a good opportunity, so I made the move,” she said in her typical take charge and decisive manner.
As catering and sales manager she is responsible for a variety of tasks which include collaborating with chefs, banquet mangers and convention leaders in the planning and execution of hotel functions, designing a tasteful décor and even calculating budgets. She also plans all the weddings, gala events and corporate meetings.
In 2005 Robbins became a board member of the Bay Area Concierge Association (BACA) where she started off as the secretary to the vice president. Vicki Wrede was the association’s president when Robbins first became a member, and in a way Robbins admits that Wrede was a role model for her.
“When I first attended a meeting, I said: ‘I’m going to have her job.’ So she was my inspiration!” she said, laughing.
True to her word and her goal, Robbins is now the president of BACA, whose members discuss events and happenings in Tampa Bay and seek to serve not only visitors to the area but the community as well.
“We usually host an event once a month to educate the different concierges at all the properties so they know what’s going on in the community and they can better serve their guests who are always looking for area attractions and events,” Robbins said.
As if all this doesn’t keep her busy enough, she also owns her own personal concierge and event company, Short and Sweet Events.
“So I kind of do a little bit of everything,” she said in an understatement. “In planning events, it’s nice knowing that at the end of the day you’re able to follow through on someone’s vision.”
Speaking of envisioning things, what did she see herself doing when she was a young girl?
“Wearing a suit,” she replied without a millisecond of hesitation. “It’s funny because when I was a little kid I always said that whatever it was that I was going to do be doing, I was going to wear a suit and basically be a model. And I said that when I was in the second grade,” she said, giggling.
These days, she finds a connection in the showmanship of the stage or runway and business meetings.
“I was into modeling and acting as a kid, so I would take acting and modeling classes, and also learned how to do makeup and everything,” she said. “And now when I’m conducting business, I have to put on my game face. And it’s almost as if you’re acting, putting on a show when it’s time to close the deal! So all those different things kind of set me up for where I am today.”
With all she has going on, she still tries to stay active and counts golfing and snorkeling at Egmont key among her outdoor hobbies. But for a go-getter like Robbins, there almost is no such thing as a day off.
“Even when I’m out at a social event I’m still out looking for business and networking,” she admitted. “I’m so bad about that! I was even on a double date, and the guy’s girlfriend said ‘I work for Crown Accura and I asked: ‘So do you guys host holiday parties?”’
Keeping so extraordinarily busy doesn’t seem to faze her, as she seems to thrive on it. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I truly enjoy what I do, and I think that’s really important,” Robbins stressed. “This is my dream job.”