The GMC Student Membership Committee produced its 2nd Annual Student Program at the NIU Naperville Campus on October 4th. A total of 56 students spent the day listening to a diverse group of industry professionals who represented various industries that make up the hospitality market. Colleges represented were Roosevelt University, Michigan State, DePaul, and Moraine Valley.
The event started with master of ceremonies Bill Martin hosting “What Really is the Hospitality Industry?” game show in a Jeopardy format. Bill was assisted by Christina Wares who helped facilitate the question and answer board. Students answered a variety of question on the subjects of Hotels, Cities, PCMA, and Acronyms.
Students then proceeded to one of four breakouts hosted by subject matter experts in each field. Students rotated so they were able to attend all four breakouts and get a wider view of the different areas of the hospitality industry. The breakouts were the following:
- Hotel (Sales & Convention Services) Hosted by Julie Scuras, Intercontinental Hotels Group and Grant Hickman, Starwood Hotels and Resorts
- Convention & Visitors Bureau Hosted by Walden Agustin, San Francisco Travel Association; Angie Ranalli, San Diego Tourism Authority; & Tim O’Brien, San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Association and Corporate Meeting Planners Hosted by Patti Beese, National Restaurant Association, and Lisa Byers, Grainger Corporation
- Decorators Hosted by Greg McCormack, The Expo Group, and Doug Bennett, GES
After a networking lunch with a presentation by PCMA’s Patrick Crosson about the benefits that PCMA extends to students, everyone headed back to the auditorium for the Technology and Trends Session. Ryan Murphy with Freeman and Laura Welsh with Core Apps presented the latest trends in meeting technology including the use of mobile apps, digital signage, and presentation technology.
The program then focused on being hired in the hospitality industry. The first panel consisted of hotel Human Resource Managers including Kristy Seidel, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Sharon Wavrek, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, and Nancy Lally, Hilton Hotels & Resorts. They gave advice and answered questions about what companies are looking for from first time applicants. The second panel was a group of students who found jobs in the industry through their involvement with PCMA. The students, Casey Carignan, Lia Sophia, and Jenna Blandi, AAOMS, told their stories and gave advice from their experience on how to get hired for that first industry job.
The event concluded with a Power Networking Fair where students were able to talk one-on- one with the speakers of the day and other industry professionals who volunteered their time. Students seemed to be very interested in getting advice from the industry volunteers and took away a lot of valuable information. Thanks to all the GMC Volunteers and Student Membership Committee on putting together a great event.