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.
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: 1984
Email Greg Carso
Greg’s love of food comes from his Italian background and his techniques—he uses his hands to create delicious creations. Greg attended Chicago’s Washburne Trade School and then La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris before working at Levy Restaurants organization, an off-premise catering company, and the Cash House restaurant. In addition to the Metropolitan Club, Chef Carso has worked at several other ClubCorp clubs.
He is well known for his messy kitchens while experimenting and creating new and different cuisines. Greg Carso believes the messier the kitchen the better, “One of the things I love most about being a chef is the ‘high’ I get after a hectic day of trouble-shooting and making things work.” Greg Carso is available for speaking engagements, cooking demonstrations, and hosting.
Chef Carso has participated in various dinners from celebrities, politicians, and famous athletes. He has been involved with James Beard Celebrity Chef dinners, cooking with former White House chefs to celebrity chefs from the Food Channel. He has been honored as an alumnus from Washburne Trade School and is involved with an inner city organization “Break Through” that teaches teenagers how to cook.
Role: Service and Beverage Director/Sommelier
Serving Since: 2020