Traveling Through the Hospitality & Tourism Professional Development Academy

The morning sessions at the Hospitality & Tourism Professional Development Academy at the 2015 International Career Development Conference in Orlando, Fla., began with learning about the opportunities available to students in the food service and hospitality industries with the Multicultural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance’s (MFHA) Showcase of the Stars.

The panelists were Craig Schneider, Regional Director of Operations for Starbucks Coffee Company, Michael Drapikowski, Restaurateur for Chipotle Mexican Grill, Denise R. Ammaccapane, Director of Workplace Diversity and Inclusion for Sodexo, and the moderator, Gerry Fernandez, from MFHA.

There were two key points that stood out the most to the group. The first point was that you need to build relationships. Mr. Fernandez and Mr. Schneider were able to get promotions to due to the relationships that they built throughout the years in their professional careers.

The second one was that, as a leader, you need to believe in your staff members’ success and not be afraid to tell them that they aren’t giving it their all. Mr. Fernandez shared a story with us in which his boss told him that he was only giving 60% and that he should,  “get out of his face until he is able to give 9%.” Then, Fernandez and his boss would be able to talk. I found that to be an important reminder to always give everything your all.

It was an incredible opportunity to have professionals from these esteemed companies join us at #CDECAICDC and the entire audience learned so much from these individuals.

 Our afternoon session was with LaTarsha Melvin, a recruiter for Publix. She shared with us the many opportunities for students with Publix, as well as things we should look for as we began to look for companies to start our careers with.

Some of things she shared with us were to do your research before as you are applying to companies and see what they are all about, to weigh the benefits as you are getting offers and to see if the values of the company align with your personal values.

Thanks to the PDA sessions at #CDECAICDC, I found myself considering the opportunities with certain companies in a completely different way.

Follow Brooke on Twitter @thtrnerd221.

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