Bright and early on Saturday morning, October 10, thirty-five student leaders in The School of Hospitality Business joined Master Trainer Phil Zeller (BA ’96) and Graduate Assistants Matthew Anderson (BA ’09), Jeremy Mourey (BA ’00), and Ron Cichy (BA ’72, MBA ’77) for a custom-designed, three-hour professional development program based on the time-tested principles of Dale Carnegie.

“Dr. Cichy has long been a believer in the Dale Carnegie practices and their ability to transform students’ lives,” says Phil, who has taught the program to School students for a number of years. “And Matt and Jeremy are both graduates, not only of The School, but of the Dale Carnegie 12-week Course.” This latest PDP was funded by an angel Alumnus who prefers to remain anonymous. The participants represented each of The School’s ten industry-related clubs and three annual events.

Initially, the students were encouraged to discover and use practices that enhance their memory and their communication skills.

Then the students were asked to name their mentors and to think about the traits that make them good mentors. Knowledge and skills, it was decided, are very important. But by far the most noticeable positive attribute among mentors, the students said, is “a positive attitude.”

Phil then discussed the “Five Drivers of Success,” according to Dale Carnegie. He stressed:

  • Building greater self-confidence
  • Strengthening people skills
  • Enhancing communication skills
  • Developing leadership skills
  • Reducing stress and improving attitudes

These are the five pillars, he said, that will improve not only the careers of the students, but their entire
lives. The students immediately put into practice some of those pillars during a vision planning session, where they were divided by their clubs or events and asked to picture what they would be celebrating in May 2016 at the end of the school year. They were encouraged not to think in terms of “I hope,” or “I think.” Instead, they used words like, “I know,” and “We will,” revealing confidence in the attainability of their goals.

Speaking for the students involved in CAREER EXPO, Taylor Zuelch (BA ’16) said they would be talking about a 98% placement for seniors and interns; a doubling of internship opportunities; new companies participating in CAREER EXPO; successful professional development programs at CAREER EXPO; happy recruiters, and the ability of the CAREER EXPO board to stay within their budget.

The student leaders in Destination Auction, whose spokesperson was Kortnie Bush (BA ‘16), said they would have 400 attendees this year and they would raise a net of $90,000. “We will keep opening opportunities for others, the way others have done for us,” she said.

The Club Managers Association of America (CMAA), a club in The School that consistently wins membership and leadership awards from the national organization, had several of its officers and members in attendance. Sara Anderson (BA ’16) spoke for them, saying they would be celebrating a record 35 members participating in CMAA’s World Conference in San Diego this year. They would again win “Club of the Future” at the conference. And the funds in their club account will double by May.

Les Gourmets also had several officers present, and Lauren LaFontaine (BA ’16) explained that the group will celebrate selling the highest number of tickets in recent years – over 200. They are also celebrating the 65th anniversary of the elegant reception and dinner, and setting a new standard for the event.

The student chapter of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) will be celebrating 25 paid members, according to spokesperson Mary Grego (BA ’17). They will also have volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing and participated in several “site tours” of hotels in the area.

The umbrella organization that helps fund all of the clubs in The School, the Hospitality Association (HA), is led by its CEO Karina Thomas (BA ’16). She said that HA in May will be celebrating successfully raising the most money for the annual Relay for Life in the history of The School. They will have engaged more than 100 student leaders and a record-breaking number of alumni. In addition, each officer in HA received the job offer of his or her dream!

Senior Caitlyn Kuskowski (BA ’16), COO of HA, who helped organize the program and encourage student participation, was eloquent about Dale Carnegie and its effect on one’s attitude. “The power of our attitude and positive thinking gives me confidence to say that by the end of this year, we will be accomplished and successful. We will have fostered relationships that will last a lifetime. And we will share a passion and sense of belonging that will keep us connected to our School and to MSU.”

The Dale Carnegie Professional Development Program in October provides an introduction to the full Dale Carnegie Course offered to select students throughout a 12-week period in Fall Semester and again in Spring Semester. Over the past several years, dozens of students, faculty, and staff members have taken the opportunity to participate in these courses. “The Dale Carnegie Course certainly emphasized skills and practices that I use to this day to manage my life and career more effectively,” says Jeremy Mourey, corporate operations director for Premiere Food Service, Inc. “If the students think it gives them an edge while they’re in college, just wait until they’ve started their careers!”

And this is exactly why The School invests in sending students to Dale Carnegie. “We are deeply interested in providing every advantage to students who display enthusiasm and hard work,” says Matt Anderson, a partner with Engaged Education. “Dale Carnegie is a meaningful addition to their education.”