Having a mentor throughout your life is invaluable. During our educational years, our teachers, counselors, and professors play an increasingly important role as a mentor. During my last two years of college, Dr. White, my business professor, was my first mentor outside of my parents. Dr. White’s value as a mentor help to prepare me for life beyond graduation.
Throughout my career, I can honestly say three individuals (my mentors) made a huge impact on my life. First was Jane Martinez, who was my DOS at Hyatt Regency New Orleans during the start of my hospitality career. She taught me the business and the value of client relationships. Second, was and still is Michael Smith, currently the GM of the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. I worked with Michael three times when he was the F&B Director, the GM in 2004-2005, and again when he was brought back to re-open the hotel following Hurricane Katrina. Michael taught me a new meaning of the word “perseverance.” During the years I worked for Michael, I was exposed to business situations the average DOS will never experience during a hotel career. And finally, my current mentor is Jeff O’Hara, President of PRA New Orleans. His tenacious entrepreneurial spirit and recipe for success: “the team, our partners, and our clients” while basic, brings us all back to the fundamentals.
So how do you wrap up all the lessons learned and bestow that gift on the next generation? It starts with understanding the value of education. As state by Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” Below are my Top 5 Tips for Giving Back to the Next Generation of Hospitality Professionals:
1. Become a role model for participating in continuing education through industry organizations and serve that organization on a committee or in a board role. Not only will you remain current, but it gives you a competitive advantage for staying current. If you are in the hospitality industry or thinking about it as a career, read more hospitality industry designations here.
2. Be a mentor within your company or industry. You’ll be surprised how much of a two-way street this objective fulfills when you learn from your mentee equally as much as they learn from you!
3. Join an industry organization and invite someone new in the industry to join with you. You’ll get brownie points from the membership committee and the person you recruited will welcome all the new folks you can introduce him/her to.
4. Offer to be a speaker at high school, community college, or university hospitality class on subject matter that you are passionate about, have experience in, or have valuable lessons to share.
5. Don’t be afraid to share your lessons learned and remember sometimes, somebody just needs an ear for you to listen and provide constructive feedback.
Working with colleagues to forge paths into great hospitality careers for our next generation of hospitality workers is just one of my passions. Much of my free time is spent serving as an adjunct instructor for Delgado Community College. This comment from one of my students sums up why I’ll never stop giving back: “ Mrs. Hayes, I would love to thank you for letting me do this and taking the time out of your day to help me. Without that phone call, I wouldn’t have been so motivated. As I go up the ladder through school, every teacher tells me that when you get in college, they won’t help you. I always feared that would be true, but you proved them wrong.”
So, do you Believe in a Better Tomorrow for Others? How will you make a difference?