A self-proclaimed “proponent of people and places,” 32-year-old John Onsa knows a thing or two about hospitality. A graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, John worked for seven years with Marriott Hotels, six with the Resort Brand and one with Autograph Collection. He has spent two years in luxury private clubs and one year with Omni Hotels. He loves record collecting, men’s fashion, Jazz, R&B, boxing, Jujitsu and working with local radio.

How long have you served as the food and beverage director at Greystone Golf and Country Club?

I have been in this position for four months. My responsibilities are to oversee all the food and beverage operations for our two clubhouses. This includes all restaurants and the catering department.

What brought you to Greystone?

The GM, Dave Porter. His vision for leadership and the club business made me want to work with him and build the Greystone brand. I want to work with great leaders, and he is one. Birmingham was attractive to me as well. It’s a city that is transforming itself, and I wanted to be a part of that.

How did you get into this particular industry?

I was a young college student who traded the sidewalks of Philadelphia for the warm sandy beaches of Marco Island, Florida. The Marriott has a flagship hotel there called the Marco Island Marriott which is now a JW. I originally started working at the local Starbucks in Marco Island. I was recruited by an employee from the hotel to come work in the banquets department. I worked over 80 hours a week between the two jobs and was successful. When it was time to go back for another semester, I asked the food and beverage department for a leadership opportunity and they made me a restaurant supervisor. I gladly accepted. I went back to school, finished my semester, bid my friends farewell and started the next day. I’ve been working ever since.

What’s your favorite part about your current position?

Leadership. Leadership. Leadership. There are so many managers in this world, but we all deserve more leaders. I work at my leadership every day. Critiquing, improving, questioning. If someone on my staff gets better due to leadership, not my management, then I know I’m on the right track. This is a 24/7, 365 business, although sometimes the club hours don’t reflect that. Club management is for those who are committed to excellence. Excellence is something I strive for in my work, but you have to be prepared to work for it every day.

What are your goals for the coming months at Greystone?

Our members have their work, their home and that third place. Our goal is to make Greystone that third place. Work, home, Greystone. We can achieve that through consistent seasonal menus, excellence in service, and a professional and welcoming team. My father once told me, “John, be nice, at all costs.” I think about that every morning I get up. How can I make someone’s life better today? This has helped me in the growth of my career.