Hattie R. Donner
In the summer of 2010, I started working at The Riverhouse as the Assistant Banquet Manager.
Coming from the Saybrook Point Inn’s restaurant I was eager to learn a new side of the industry. I studied at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida where I specialized in Hotel, Resort & Restaurant Management with a minor in Marketing. I also attended Mount Ida College in Boston Massachusetts for a degree in Business Management. With my education and experience working with the Director of Operations, I gained knowledge of event setup, floor design, staffing and execution.
My favorite part of the wedding industry was watching the ballroom come alive. From a bare room with just tables and chairs to all the glitz and glam of each event. I get excited over linens, flower arrangements, glistening votive candles and attention to detail. Watching the bride’s face light up at her first look to the room is the best feeling. I was happy to be a part of this, knowing that we did everything to make each event special.
In the last several years at The Riverhouse I have worked as the Assistant Banquet Manager, Wedding Sales Manager and in 2017 was promoted to the General Manager. Every department has given me a different experience that has enabled my knowledge for event planning.
When I’m not with my work family, you can find me with my husband Donnie and our two young boys, either enjoying our property in East Haddam or at the beach in Old Saybrook.
Wedding Sales Manager
I started working at The Riverhouse as a server when I was 17 years old and have been falling in love with the industry ever since. Prior to being in the Sales Office, I had the pleasure of embracing many positions in the company such as Bridal Attendant, Banquet Captain, and Banquet Manager. I was fortunate to work directly with couples on their wedding day to make it everything they had hoped for. In these rolls, I learned a great deal about leadership, service and etiquette. I loved working the ballroom, but my ultimate goal was always to work in the sales office. I attended bridal shows and volunteered my time in the office to further my knowledge about the sales aspect of the job. Eventually, I was offered my dream job of working in wedding sales.
In the office I am able to meet with couples to go over all of their wedding’s details prior to their reception and am in constant contact with couples as they planned their big day. It has opened my eyes to all of the work that goes into a wedding prior to the execution, and I thoroughly enjoy watching the couple’s vision come together! All of my past knowledge from my different positions here at the Riverhouse undeniably helps me assist our couples to plan the best day ever! I love everything about the Riverhouse, and I know you will too!!
I started my foray into the events industry after I graduated from Columbia University in 2012. Since then, I’ve worked as an immersive experience designer and event runner, creating one-of-a-kind experiences for people around the world. I first began working in the wedding industry at the beginning of the 2019 wedding season at the Wadsworth Mansion. As the Event Manager there, I oversaw events and worked closely with couples to make their dreams into reality. Now as the Banquet Manager at the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station, I’m using my expertise to create truly memorable experiences for clients. I love watching the hard work that goes into an event pay off, leaving guests with smiles and fond memories.
Director of Operations
In the summer of 2022, Matthew Rutty has returned home to the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station as our Director of Operations. Over the past 20 years Matt has established himself as one of the top Operations focused food and beverage professionals in the state of CT. While away from the Riverhouse family, he polished his event skills at a Four Diamond Property on the Connecticut shoreline. He is also a Pineapple Award Winner for Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality. When not at work he enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife Dana and their two children Nicolas and Layla.
Executive Sous Chef
With over 25 years of experience in the culinary industry, Diana is a natural-born chef, artist, and team leader who thrives in the heat of the kitchen and loves a challenge. In her career, she has worked in kitchens across the country, from private parties in Greenwich, CT to the fast-paced restaurant scene in Los Angeles, CA.
In 2014, after spending a month backpacking solo through France and Spain, Diana’s passion for cooking and new experiences with global cuisine led her back to Connecticut, where she was humbled by the opportunity to run a local soup kitchen, allowing her to channel her culinary expertise for the aid of those in need. During her time with the non-profit, she helped pioneer the “MACC Chefs” Culinary Job Training Program for the underprivileged as an instructor and mentor. After the birth of her children, Diana took a brief hiatus before landing her role as Sous Chef at the award-winning restaurant, “The Charles”, in Old Wethersfield. While there, she aided in menu development, served as horticulturist for the restaurant’s garden, and assisted in opening one of Connecticut’s top restaurants in the midst of a global pandemic. Before coming to The Riverhouse, Diana served as Lead Catering Chef with “Doro Catering & Events” in West Hartford, where she led the culinary team and executed weddings, galas, mitzvahs, memorial services, and many other types of events all around the state.
Diana emphasizes her deep-rooted passion for “farm to fork”, raising and butchering poultry and maintaining a year-round garden at her home. She has also penned articles for and been featured in “Connecticut Food & Farm Magazine” and strives to maintain relationships and partnerships with local farmers.
As Executive Sous Chef at The Riverhouse, Diana uses all of her experiences to create truly unique dishes and memorable events for each and every one of her clients. From casual
get-togethers to rustic farm style weddings and fine dining, Diana feels at home in her niche with The Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station.
When Diana is not playing with fire and knives, she enjoys quilting, learning new hobbies or trades and spending time relaxing by a fire with her husband, Phil and their two sons, Nick and Jack.