After being told not to pursue a career in hospitality, Debbie couldn’t keep herself away. For a short period of time she tried other realms of the service industry like banking and retail, but nothing could match her personality, or touch on the fun she had in the fast-paced and electric environment of the hospitality world.
Debbie thrives in the unique and intense “way of restaurant life.” Forming relationships with her co-workers and creating memorable experiences for everyone she meets is her specialty — so it’s no surprise that Debbie met her husband in the industry when they were both bartenders at the same nightclub in Arkansas.
Knowing her path would never stray from this line of business, Debbie attended the University of West Florida and graduated with a degree in hospitality, recreation, and resort management, and has worked most front-of-the-house positions “back in the day” in restaurants, nightclubs, and bars en route to her current position as assistant general manager.
At a crossroads in her career, Debbie couldn’t imagine herself working for anyone other than Chef Jim Shirley. Determined and ambitious, she boldly chased after her dream — confidently running after Jim when she saw him around town one day. After interviewing with Jim’s management team, Debbie accepted an invitation to join the team as a server before assuming the role of restaurant manager of The Bay’s sister restaurant, the Great Southern Café, two short months later.
When not at the restaurant, Debbie sits on the committee of Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Northwest Florida Chapter, and enjoys spending time on the beach with her husband and friends.