Role: General Manager
Serving Since: 2019
Email Vijayakumar Raj, CCM, CRDE
Vijayakumar “Vijay” Raj was born and raised in Bangalore, India. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in 1991, he moved to the U.S. to study at Johnson & Wales University where he obtained a Master of Science in Hospitality Administration. Vijay has worked in the hospitality industry with companies including Swissotel and Starwood. He has served in different leadership role in the private clubs industry for the past 18 years in Washington, DC and Singapore.
Vijay is a Certified Club Manager (CCM) from Club Managers Association of America and a Certified Rooms Division Executive (CRDE) from the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Additionally, he has advanced certifications from Cornell University in revenue management, and marketing and food service management.
With his extensive background in private clubs and hotels, Vijay brings a thorough understanding of the life cycle and value of members and guests, as well as a passion for new challenges and helping teams achieve long-term visions. He is a dedicated volunteer at several community outreach programs and enjoys mentoring future leaders, which helps him foster great relationships with the community in which he lives and works.
Vijay has received several scholarships, commendations for his dedication, professionalism and leadership skills, and is a member of the Club Managers Association of America, Club Managers Association of Singapore, Johnson & Wales University Alumni Association and Cornell Hotel Society.
In his spare time, Vijay enjoys quality moments with family and friends, volunteering with local community organizations, traveling, photography and has quickly become of a fan of Chicago sports.
Helen was born and raised in Eritrea, North East Africa. She come in as a refugee with her parents, five brothers, and sister to Indianapolis 1994.
Helen graduate from Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) with a degree in Computer Technology.
Helen began her career with ClubCorp family as a Server/Captain at the Skyline Club in Indianapolis in 1999. In 2004 Helen began working at the Metropolitan Club as Supervisor/Assistant Banquet Manager, where she oversaw many private and member based events. Later she would take on additional duties as major changes swept through the banquet department and become a Service Director.
In her free time, Helen enjoys spending her time with her husband, Berhane, and her three children, Nathal (14), twins Hermella and Hermon (10). Loves traveling with her family and friends around the world.
Nastassia, “Tasha” was raised in sunny San Diego, California. After graduating high school, she opted to join the workforce and gain experience while discovering her passion. Her career journey allowed her to collect a wealth of expertise and obtain many unique continuing education opportunities from becoming certified in Make-up Artistry and Google AdWords to most recently becoming a certified Meeting and Event Planner by way of San Diego State University in 2017.
Tasha began her career with ClubCorp in 2016 at The University Club atop Symphony Towers in San Diego. There, she began as the Private Event Coordinator working alongside the Private Event Directors to host a variety of large and small programs for close to 3 years. In 2018, Tasha was promoted to Member Experience Manager specializing in the Club’s programming and communications. She worked as the liaison within the 14 diverse committees helping to coordinate up to 40 events a month while also working to maintain Club Life ensuring each Member’s experience at the Club exceeded expectations.
In July 2020, Tasha moved to beautiful Chicago to join The Metropolitan team as their Member Experience Manager. She looks forward to working closely with Members and staff to bring engaging gatherings to this Club and invites you to connect with her.
Gina was born in Chicago and grew up in Wilmette with her younger sister, Bianca. She attended Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Gina spent 11 years as a Realtor in residential real estate specializing in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area.
After enjoying the life in the sun, she moved back to Chicago in the summer of 2015. Gina started at The Mid-America Club shortly after as part of the dynamic Membership Team who exceed goals year after year. She made the transition in March of 2020 to The Metropolitan and looks forward to continued success.
Gina lives downtown and enjoys all that the Chicago lifestyle has to offer. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, checking out new restaurants, a great glass of wine and traveling. She is always looking to travel to new destinations and her favorite country to visit is Italy. Gina looks forward to welcoming you, connecting you with other Members and ensuring you enjoy your time at The Metropolitan!
Lorena was born & raised in the suburbs of Chicago, and graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Communication Studies. She immediately gained experience in the hospitality industry after college working at Soldier Field. Lorena joined the ClubCorp family in 2013 as a Membership assistant, and loves her role as a Private Event Director. When she's not at work, Lorena enjoys rec league sports with her friends, traveling and listening to music.
Sally is from Chicago, IL and graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Business Management and a minor in Corporate Communications. Her background in marketing and corporate event planning will be a huge plus for The Metropolitan.
Role: Executive Chef
Serving Since: 2020
Email Dominique Beers
Chef Dominique grew up in the picturesque Hudson Valley area of NY. Her passion for food has been a part of her whole life, with her family having a French restaurant for seven years and then growing up around the Culinary Institute of America where later she would receive her Bachelor's degree in Culinary Arts. After graduating from the CIA, Dominique spent a year at Coach Farm learning how to make goat cheese, selling to some of the top restaurants in NYC and going to weekend farmer's markets. She moved to the midwest to attend Purdue University, where she received her Master's of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Prior to joining the ClubCorp family, Chef Dominique worked for White Lodging at the Marriott in Indianapolis and Omni Hotels & Resorts in Indianapolis and Chicago.
Her food philosophy is centered around honoring the ingredients, making fun, approachable food, that will excite the palate and awaken the senses. She believes it's important to have strong relationships with the farmers and producers and utilize food that is grown with sustainable practices that are good for the environment and support the local community.
In her free time she loves to tinker around in her garden, enjoy the diverse food scene around Chicago, travel and experience new places. Recently she added a new member to the family, adopting Stella, a pointer mix puppy. Chef Dominique is always excited to talk about food, teach cooking lessons and create one-of-a-kind dining experiences.
Role: Service and Beverage Director/Sommelier
Serving Since: 2020
Email Mark Canak
The Metropolitan is proud to welcome Sommelier Mark Canak to the team (once again) as the new Director of Restaurants. Receiving his Sommelier certification with guidance from the world’s best sommeliers, he looks forward to offering unique expertise and expansive knowledge to the Members of The Metropolitan.
Beginning his career in the industry at the age of fifteen, Canak is no stranger to the restaurant and bar scene. After moving to the Windy City in 2006, he left his mark as beverage director for many Chicago establishments such as the Park Grill in Millennium Park, Tesori at Chicago Symphony Center and, most recently, ENO Wine Room and Michael Jordan’s Steak House. He has participated in numerous local and national competitions, earning accolades such as third place at Geja's 42nd Annual Pro-Am Wine Tasting Contest and third place in the North America category at the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend Sommelier Star Competition. Canak was even invited back to Sonoma as one of the "Best of the Best" for the 10-year anniversary of the Sommelier Star program. Locally, Canak was a featured sommelier at 2017’s Bon Appétit presents Chicago Gourmet, served as guest speaker at Chicago's 2017 River North Business Expo discussing Wine Etiquette for Business Entertaining, and is an active member of Chicago's Second City Sommeliers group and Guild of Sommeliers.
With an expansive portfolio and expert knowledge, Canak is excited to bring hard-to-find wines to the imbibers of The Metropolitan and provide unique opportunities to meet the winemakers, as well as offer creative cocktails and a vintage wine selection. Under the direction of Canak, Members can look for immersive experiences at the Club, taking the beverage program to the next level.