It might be a little unusual for a school to send its students to another course, but in the School of Hospitality Business, Dale Carnegie is a “partner,” not a competitor.

Since 2012, an endowment fund and anonymous donors have allowed The School to enroll some of its student leaders in a local Dale Carnegie Course both fall and spring semesters, so that to date 48 students (and four faculty and/or staff members) have completed the entire 12-week course.  In addition, Dale Carnegie in Lansing has designed and presented a custom, three-hour professional development program for nearly 50 students once each semester.

“We believe the concepts within the Dale Carnegie Course have the potential to really change lives,” says Dr. Ron Cichy, who advocates for these programs in the School.  “Our school is dedicated to giving its graduates every advantage it can as they start their careers.  This is why we do what we do.”

On Tuesday, April 11, five students joined their fellow Dale Carnegie graduates for a special celebration at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Lansing, where Master Trainer Mark Eddy and Phil Zeller (BA Hospitality Business ’96), owner of the Dale Carnegie Ralph Nichols Group, spoke of the self-confidence, communication, and stress reduction skills Dale Carnegie popularized nearly 100 years ago, and which are still applicable and effective today.

Phil Zeller, Brandon Goddard, Michael Gonino, Monique Zentner, Ron Cichy, Dean Zhu, Pedro Casanova-Herrero, and Mark Eddy

Phil Zeller, Brandon Goddard, Michael Gonino, Monique Zentner, Ron Cichy, Dean Zhu, Pedro Casanova-Herrero, and Mark Eddy

Mark also spoke about each Dale Carnegie graduate individually noting the way that person had grown over the past 12 weeks and the ways each of them learned to apply the time-tested principles in the class.

From the School, Mark said, “Brandon Goddard (BA Hospitality Business ’17), a squad leader of the Spartan Marching Band, sweeps through his life, living with gusto.”  Michael Gonino (BA Hospitality Business ’17), a resident assistant and teaching assistant at MSU, “uses encouragement and asks questions instead of ‘giving orders.’”

A School student from China, Dean (Di) Zhu (MS Hospitality Business ’18) is someone who “combines vision and action and has the ability to change the world.”  Monique Zentner (BA Hospitality Business ’17), the CFO of the School’s National Society of Minorities in Hospitality chapter is “a beacon of light” who “gives praise and appreciation.”  And of Pedro Casanova-Herrero (BA ’18), a student from Puerto Rico, Mark said, “He radiates excitement” and has learned how to build long-lasting relationships.

It was the students themselves who also spoke to the value of graduating from the Dale Carnegie Course.  “It has opened my eyes and instilled in me a confidence and enthusiasm that is priceless,” says Monique.  She explains her nervousness initially about speaking in front of others and “giving a thought-provoking sentiment,” but the work has “encouraged me to volunteer to be the first to speak.”  She has learned to manage some of the stress involved in being a student leader with a busy schedule and high academic standards, and has been told by teachers, family and significant other that “my level of confidence is far more evident, as well as my ability to work with others through conflict resolution.”  Overall, she says, “this Course has illuminated the possibilities I will have as a leader.”

Michael Gonino echo’s Monique’s conclusion, saying, “This is a Course that you live out each day, and you make choices about the skills you learn.  You’re in charge of your own life, and you get the opportunity to make a difference in the relationships in your personal and professional lives.  I learned to build my confidence, handle my stress, and speak in public.  I learned to be proud of who I am and love who I am as an individual.”  Importantly for his career, he says, “I have learned the difference between a boss and a leader.”

Dean (Di) Zhu, an MS candidate in the School’s graduate program, observed, “If I act enthusiastically, I will be enthusiastic.  This has helped me pull myself out of my comfort zone to keep moving and do something differently.”  Dean is now nominating other graduate students to be considered for future Dale Carnegie Courses.

Indeed, students are applying to enroll in next year’s offering of the Dale Carnegie Course, anticipating learning skills that will last a lifetime.   In addition, the fall 2017 Dale Carnegie Professional Development Program has been scheduled from 7:30 a.m. (breakfast at Brody Hall) to 11:55 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017.