We want to wish you all Happy Holidays! Each year our team does a holiday card. Here is this years and below find out a little bit more about each of us!
Meet the Team
- Amanda Leszczyszyn – Private Events Assistant – Let’s start with what everyone asks, how do you say her last name? While it may look like a bunch of gibberish, it is real! It’s pronounced “Less-chish-en” and its Polish. Born and raised in Irmo, Amanda attended USC and majored in Hospitality & Tourism where she gained lots of hands on event and catering experience. Between her junior and senior year, Amanda did a summer internship with our office and then joined our team once she graduated in May. She said her favorite part of working at Riverbanks is that it’s never the same thing every day. She loves constantly learning different things about animals that she never would have thought she would learn or need to know. In her free time, Amanda likes adventuring around Columbia, spoiling & playing with her dogs, pinning on Pinterest, shopping, and spending quality time with friends & family.
- David Schrouder – Catering Operations Manager – Originally from New York, David moved to Columbia in search of warmer weather. He began his catering career as a part time banquet server for waterfront weddings on Long Island. David joined our team 2.5 years ago and brought with him 10+ years of catering experience. When he’s not here, David can be found playing with his son, coming up with unique meal ideas at home and playing paintball.
- Jeremy Godish – Executive Chef – Growing up in Charleston, WV, Jeremy’s mother and grandmothers were all great cooks and as he got older his interest in cooking peaked. Nobody in his family works in the business so it surprised his parents when he said he wanted to be a chef. He attended the Culinary Institute of America and made his way to Columbia when he accepted a job at the Palmetto Club. He joined the team at Riverbanks 3 years ago and brought with him 15 years of events and catering experience. Jeremy says that when he tells people he is a chef at a zoo they always give him an odd look. That is the same look he gave when he was offered the job. But after 3 years he is still extremely impressed with what we do every day, not only at Riverbanks, but throughout SSA, constantly striving to raise the bar for both the catering and QSR (quick service restaurant) industry.
- McKenzie Roland – Wedding Sales & Coordination – McKenzie grew up in Leesville and moved to Columbia for college. At USC he majored in Hospitality Management were he gained experience in the food & beverage world. After a few internships with hotels and a job with a country club, he saw how the event world worked and it peaked his interest. After graduation, McKenzie started as our Events Assistant and was then promoted to Wedding Sales & Coordination. McKenzie’s favorite part of working at the zoo would have to be all of the different people. He says “You do not realize how many people it takes to run the entire operation and being connected with each of them is pretty special. Also doesn’t hurt if you need a break for the office, just take a stroll past the lions and tigers to help clear your head!” In his free time, McKenzie enjoys going to the movies, trying new foods/drinks, day trips, photography, and spending time with his family whom he is very close with.
- Morgan Schau – Corporate Sales Manager – Morgan grew up on Hilton Head Island. After graduating from USC with a BS in hospitality management and a concentration in events & meeting planning she took a job with the Carolina Panthers working all private and game day events. Looking to move closer to friends and family, Morgan joined the team here in August of 2014, bringing with her years of events and catering experience. Her favorite part of working at Riverbanks is the animals and the people. Morgan is the proud mother of two dogs, Chevy & Duke and she enjoys anything involving sports (especially Gamecock & Panthers Football), being out on the water and boating, DIY projects and most importantly spending quality time with family/friends.
- Noelle Tran – Assistant Catering Operations Manager – Looking to move back home to Columbia, Noelle started with us in April 2017. Born and raised in Columbia, Noelle went to USC for the HRTM program. After living in Florida and North Carolina she decided move back to Soda City. With four years of catering experience, her favorite part of this job is being able to watch an event come together from start to finish and know that the client is happy! And of course, the giraffes! In her free time Noelle enjoys playing with her dog and spending time with her family and friends.
- Olivia Neary – Group Sales Manager – Olivia moved from her home state of Kentucky to attend Furman University in Greenville, SC. Through a few internships in college she found her love for events. Following graduation Olivia stayed in Greenville and worked for a food and wine festival and then handled catering sales for a local restaurant group. She moved to Columbia after meeting her husband and has been with the Riverbanks team since. They are expecting their first child in 2018. Her favorite part of working at Riverbanks is the opportunity to learn something new each day. With so many different specialties on the Riverbanks team you get to work with people in such diverse fields every day.