Quenton Harrison is an energetic man with a mission to move forward and help others along the way, but life wasn’t always like this for the outgoing banquet professional.
He grew up in Queens, NY with his brother and a single mom, following the death of his father. Life wasn’t easy and he struggled. “I had no direction for years… but MUST Ministries changed all of that.”
“I worked in Job Corps and Fed Ex and while I enjoyed the people, I still had no real direction. I got married and came to Atlanta to pursue more,” he said. “I let my wife have the car and I walked everywhere or took the bus.”
Harrison said he kept walking up and down Highway 41, right by the MUST Marietta program office. For some reason, he felt drawn to the MUST building and thought “maybe there’s a job there”. “One day, my internal voice – the God within me – drew me and I went up the hill and walked through the front door.”
He was feeling despair and empty. “When I walked in to MUST, I felt shallow. When I walked out of there, I felt like a champion. Leaving MUST with food, paperwork for a job and clothing was a turning point. “I felt like I could do anything. MUST made me feel like a man. I am capable! I am confident! I had never felt like that in my life.”
He said he learned that thoughts lead to feeling and feelings lead to actions. He thought about working in the food industry and got excited about that idea. He started serving and working in catering. Eventually, he spent three years at St. Regis Hotel and gained invaluable experience.
Three years ago, his next step was to move to an incredible opportunity. He became the Assistant Banquet Manager for Omni Hotels, a job spanning the renowned hotel, CNN Center and College Football Hall of Fame. He is now responsible for 40 people, plus a 15-person stewarding crew.
The $20 million Omni banquet division supports an amazing 1,200 events a year. “We serve three to five events a day, so it’s a very busy pace,” he said. Sometimes he reflects on where he came from and how he got to a role with so much responsibility. “You have to ask and seek,” he said.
Recently, he came back to MUST. This time, he wanted to give back. “Six years ago, I walked into MUST and it changed my life. Now I want to teach others that they can have the same outcome.” He wants to give hope. “Tomorrow is promised to you if you promise yourself to tomorrow,” he said, his conversations now peppered with motivational phrases.
Harrison approached MUST Employment Services and began teaching a comprehensive course on banquet serving. His classes include hands-on demonstrations and role play, appropriate demeanor, approaching a guest, event etiquette and the fine points of properly serving. He even teaches self-empowerment and character perfection that help clients become outstanding in their field of serving.
In addition, he comes to the Elizabeth Inn homeless campus and recruits participants during the week before the classes. Beyond teaching, he has reached out to his friends in the food service field and asked that they hire people who have been certified through the MUST course he teaches.
His efforts have already benefitted many seeking employment. “Food service is a good business. There is always work and people with skills can create a stable lifestyle,” he said. “I love what I do and I love what MUST does. Now I have a chance to blend those together and help others.”