Careen Mancuso, COO at Bell Gate Farm, LLC, an MBA graduate from Boston College’s Carroll School of Management with over 10 years of experience in finance and sales, has had an eclectic and creative professional career. She began as a bank teller in Massachusetts, working through her undergraduate and graduate education. Always exhibiting the spirit of an entrepreneur, Careen started her own theater company at 21 years of age. The company rented theater space at The Boston Center for the Arts and made a profit on their first production. When the opportunity to grow with a small bank in Belmont, MA presented itself Careen did not hesitate and joined the rapidly growing institution as a Banker. Never one to be boxed in by her job description, Careen was essential in designing the new bank sales philosophy, pioneered the opening of three new branches, was promoted to Assistant Manager and went on to write and implement a bank wide training program that spanned over 800 employees in less than three years. She found that a well-defined on boarding process that makes new hires feel valued ensures consistent positive results from employees. “The base ingredients of every business foundation are the same, it is the mix that needs to be tailored for each particular industry,” she shares. “Banking needs a more stringent checks and balance system while the events world requires creativity, and empathy with only a dash of “best practice” rigidity.” When Careen and her husband were moving to Pennsylvania, she joined Bell Gate Farm as their COO and brought her MBA and theater background together in an entrepreneurial framework. At Bell Gate Farm, a five-star, luxury, award winning event venue, Careen, and the Bell Gate Team have created repeat customers through an almost guaranteed consistent customer experience.
"Bell Gate went under it’s first major interior and exterior renovation."
Bell Gate Farm’s philosophy has always been people first, and Careen along with the Bell Gate team including Owner and CEO Stephanie Stevens, strive to create a place where people want to come to work rather than “must” come to work. “We have a network of volunteer part time event staff whose dedication to our clients stems from genuine enjoyment of their responsibilities rather than expectation,” she adds. “Bell Gate’s focus as a team is primarily the client and our reviews can attest to how successful we are in creating magic for our couples, but this success comes from ensuring that our team is running well to begin with. Self-care for successful client care.”
Bell Gate’s team dynamic is what sets it apart from the rest. “It is clear that we have fun and love working together,” says Careen. The team strives to create a space where employees are comfortable coming to work, voicing their needs and being successful in their roles. Client’s enjoy the “Bell Gate Experience” when they have an event which is what truly sets Bell Gate apart from the others. The team ensures they are there for the client all day long making sure they are never searching for assistance. “Our marketing strategy depends heavily on client word of mouth, online reviews and organic growth. I believe this has created a more successful close rate for walk throughs because guests have already heard amazing things from friends or family when they arrive for their tour,” says Careen.
According to Careen, the COVID-19 pandemic has been the greatest challenge anyone could imagine. “How do you continue to generate business when you have been forced to stay at home? As a venue it is nearly impossible to strike the imagination of a potential client from your living room,” she explains. “I used the time to create a stunning video tour of the space and encouraged our team to continue to book client inquiry meetings via Zoom.” Through some creativity Careen and the team have been able to continue booking events through the pandemic creating new revenue. Bell Gate also decided to take advantage of any available government programs so Careen wrote a grant application that gained them access to a larger loan than what would have normally been approved. Once restrictions had been lifted and employees were able to come back to work, Careen took the unusual free time as a blessing and invested in their spaces to ensure every inch of the venue was event ready. “I have always kept a list of projects that I wish we had time to do and during the pandemic we almost completed all of them which will set us up for success in the years to come,” she adds. “Bell Gate Farm strives to become an all-inclusive luxury resort in the next five years. Guests will have the opportunity to pamper themselves and their guests before, during and after their big day truly creating a home away from home.”IE
COO Bell Gate Farm
Bell Gate Farm was once one of 3 of the largest farms in Pennsylvania, and visitors would travel hundreds of miles to visit these pastoral lands. Situated and nestled at the bottom of a Valley further reinforces what we know historically about the property. Built upon a spring would have given the occupants plenty of water and the resources needed to survive the daily structure of life like cooking, smoking meats, and keeping perishable foods cold.