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Meet Sarah Koustrup, Chief Operating Officer, National Hospitality Services

Sarah Koustrup

Photo by Hillary Ehlen

Who she is…
Born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, I started my career in Human Resources, working for outstanding companies like Citi and Midco while earning a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management and Business Administration. In 2011, I moved with my husband and daughter to Fargo working for Microsoft before joining National Hospitality Services in 2012. I lead a team of talented individuals both in our Fargo-based corporate office, as well as 32 hotels across the country, including the Delta by Marriott, Staybridge Suites and Hawthorn Suites here in Fargo. 

The worst piece of advice she’s ever received…
“Smile pretty and nod.” The manager that told me this was one of the only female managers in that company at the time. She told me that she felt much of her success was because she had the ability to simply listen and get along. I believe in listening, collaboration and a positive work environment, but I think that the very best companies are those where employees feel comfortable sharing feedback, pushing back when appropriate and having leaders with the ability to use that information to make the company better. 

How her job is different than you may think…
My job and type of company is unique, but I think that people have the perception that anyone with a “C Suite” level job manages “on high” from their office and plays a great deal of golf. The reality is that my job is extremely collaborative. I spend every day working with members of our team at every level of the organization. I am a strong believer in surrounding yourself with people that are smarter than you, and I love the daily brainstorming, debating and learning that happens with our team every day. I also love going to our hotels getting to know our employees, learning about what works and what doesn’t and listening to their ideas and concerns. As for the golf, I am spectacularly terrible at all sports, especially golf. 

If she could thank one person she would thank…
My grandfather, Joe H. Floyd. As one of the founders of what is today Midco (a regional telecommunications company), he showed me the importance of treating employees well, empowering them to go above and beyond for customers and to never be afraid of change. I am so grateful for his no-nonsense advice on all topics big and small and his constant push to be brave, work hard and never give up.  

A local resource she enjoys…
I love the work that the FMWF Chamber of Commerce does in our community. We partner regularly with them on local events, and I am always impressed by the range and quality of the work they do. One program I just don’t think you hear about enough is the Young Entrepreneurs Academy that works with high school students to start and run a real business. It’s an incredible program that does incredible work with young people, providing them skills and lessons that they will use for a lifetime.  

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