California native Kurt Bjorkman is the general manager of The Ranch at Laguna Beach in the heart of coastal Orange County. Learn about Kurt Bjorkman…
Hometown: Born in Berkeley, CA, and raised in Los Osos, CA.
First job: Building homes with my dad.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in CA: Exploring California’s natural landscape by mountain biking or free diving with my two sons.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: Professionally, the two-year project of renovating and re-branding The Ranch at Laguna Beach has been one of the most satisfying and rewarding accomplishments. All of my past experience came together to help me create this very special resort. My greatest personal accomplishment has been helping to raise an amazing family at home here in Dana Point, CA.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: Growing up, we moved around a lot. Until we landed in Los Osos, we were never anywhere longer than four years. The constant change made it difficult for me to finally settle down and plant permanent roots. I always felt like I needed to move to the next adventure – dragging my family along for the ride. Now, I’m a 12-year resident of Dana Point and thoroughly enjoying my current role at The Ranch at Laguna Beach. I am so happy this is our forever home!
Someone who inspires you and why: My wife, Jacquelyn. She is the real hero of our family.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Have patience. Get as much experience in each area of hotel operations as possible and learn as much as you can. Understand that success in this industry should not be measured by a title. Every single position in a resort or hotel is incredibly important and, until you fully understand that, you cannot be a true leader. Don’t get caught up in advancement, just enjoy making others feel welcomed – the rest will come. I have met so many hotel “leaders” who are devoid of heart or emotional intelligence – it takes more than a degree or analytical knowledge to be successful in this business. At the end of the day, it’s about not about the percentages; it’s about the people (not yourself).
Favorite quote: “It’s not about you.” Confidential mentor quote.
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I have a wildly creative side that can take over my thought process quite often!
What makes someone fabulous: A person who cares for other people more than they care about themselves.