Hapi People Spotlight: Aya McKeen

September 3, 2023


A winding career path among hotel operators and technology providers has provided Aya McKeen with an incredible wealth of industry knowledge. From lifeguarding at a luxury hotel to becoming a seasoned expert in CRM implementation, Aya’s passion for learning has set her up for success in her current role as Director of CRM Implementation & Support for Hapi.

Let’s get to know Aya below.

What is your full name and title?

Aya McKeen, Director, CRM Implementation & Support

Where do you call home?

Parkville, MD

Can you tell us about your background and how you came to work for Hapi?

I graduated from Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, where I majored in German Studies (History, Language, Literature, & Culture), minored in dance, and worked full time in the Athletic Department. After one season as an Assistant Field Hockey coach at Vassar College, I threw caution to the gators and moved to Orlando, FL to escape the snow. 

I started my career in Hospitality at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel as a lifeguard and moved up the ranks in Recreation to Star Service (Room Service) to eventually become Minibar Supervisor. In that role, I got my first taste of implementation as the department Point Of Contact for an upgrade to our Minibar tech. 

After 4 years at Loews, an opportunity to focus on my knack for processes and training presented itself in the form of an HR Position at the Melia Orlando Suite Hotel. At Melia, I continued to move my way through the ranks working in HR, F&B, Housekeeping, Engineer, Security, IT, and Accounting. As an Assistant Manager of Operations, I was the hotel contact for an OPERA rebuild and a Micros to Symphony upgrade. After that experience, I jumped the fence as a contractor for OPERA, working with Country Inn, Omni, Wyndham and a few others. Before joining Hapi, I was with Shiji for a few years implementing OPERA, mostly with Hyatt, and developing the Train the Trainer Program for Shiji Enterprise Platform.

Can you tell us a little bit about your role and responsibilities?

My daily goal is supporting the CRM Implementation team. Whether it's managing and advancing support tickets, talking to partners, training, polishing documentation, reviewing project plans, or even some occasional technical work, I show up every day to support the team in getting the job done. No one day is the same as the next, which is part of the fun for me. I love learning more and more about our tech everyday and being able to use that knowledge to help the team, "translate" from "techy" to "client friendly," and standardize our processes so we can work smart and not hard.

Can you describe a recent project or accomplishment that you're particularly proud of?

I am currently in a phase of celebrating small victories. Every time we complete a document, or a step in a project, or overcome a challenge with a client I do a happy dance! And any time I can answer a technical question for a client on my own, it is a big win for me (AND my team, because they've taught me everything I know. Thanks, team!). And, it did feel pretty spectacular to pass the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam.

What makes you Hapi?

My friends and family; my doggo Tux; being outside; yoga, rock climbing, and hiking; saying yes to new adventures/experiences; watching bad TV; the ocean; my planner; camping & road trips; volunteering; learning new things; renovating our house...

Today, I think I most identify with Never Give Up. Both at work and not, something new, different and challenging comes up every day and it has me in full Dory Mode ("just keep swimming!") It may take a few moments or a few months, but with everything that comes up, my drive is to find the best way to keep moving forward and make progress. 

Tell us about your favorite travel experience. 

Gosh, what a hard choice! The summer after freshman year of High School I went abroad for the first time and visited Germany with my mom for three weeks. It was that summer when I learned my mother speaks fluent German (why she didn't raise me bilingual I'll never understand!) and that German food is the best. We traveled all around, visiting friends and new places, staying mostly in small B&Bs and avoiding super-touristy stuff. That trip taught me how to be a good citizen of the world, ignited my love for travel, and prompted me to study German (and eventually study there twice during college).

What’s your secret talent no one knows about?

I'm told that I'm quite good at tiling, which has come in handy during the house renovations. I can sew my own clothes and love a good chance to make a themed outfit or costume. I also used to be an East Coast Swing Dance instructor.

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