A Dale Carnegie Course graduation ceremony on Thursday, December 3 at the Crowne Plaza Lansing West Hotel included two students and one alumna from The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University.
Sami Weiner (BA ’16) and Kaitlin Smith (BA ’16) were enrolled in the course, funded by an anonymous “angel investor.” Thuy Tran, CTA (MS ’08), earned a Master’s degree in Hospitality Business in The School in 2008, and is the housekeeping manager at the Crowne Plaza. Her enrollment was supported by the hotel and its general manager, Cindy Bowen, CHA, CTA.
The three were part of a class of 40 from the Lansing community who enrolled in the 12-week course designed to help individuals learn practices that enhance their communication and leadership skills, increase their confidence, and reduce stress levels. Dr. Ron Cichy, professor in The School, has built a strong relationship with Master Trainers Phil Zeller (MSU BA ’96) and Mark Eddy, and for several years has arranged for student leaders in The School to seize this growth opportunity.
“I believe it is a life-changer,” he says. “The School is known for its students who go on to do great things in our industry, and we believe in giving them every opportunity to become leaders. Dale Carnegie is a prime example of this.”
All three of The School’s graduates agree. Sami, expressing her gratitude to The School, says that “The most apparent ways I have grown from Dale Carnegie are that I have a greater ability to deal with the people around me and I can better control my stress.” She talks about the Dale Carnegie principles for “Stop Worrying and Start Living” as the ones she took to heart and has used in her life since the course began. “I can only imagine how hectic life will be as I begin a career, relocate from my home in Chicago, find a place to live, and become independent. I will use these principles and skills in future jobs and throughout my career.”
Kaitlin Smith, president of The School’s award-winning student chapter of the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA), says the Dale Carnegie Course was “one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life.” She also describes important principles and qualities that have become part of her daily life (being positive, expressing sincere appreciation, and opening up). But she also notes that the public speaking requirement during each class gave her abilities that she will use “for the rest of my career.” She says, “I will forever hold Mr. Carnegie’s work close to my heart and use it on a daily basis.”
Thuy Tran is a hardworking member of the Crowne Plaza Lansing leadership team. In fact, in early 2015, she was named the Housekeeper of the Year at the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association Stars of the Industry gala. But Thuy describes being painfully uncomfortable speaking in class in front of the 40-plus students each week. However, “By week seven, I became more confident because of all the tools and principles I had learned.” She is grateful to the course graduate assistant, whose weekly emails and phone calls built Thuy’s confidence and encouraged her success. She says, “I wish I could have taken this class earlier in my career.” In fact, the principle she relies on most is “don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.” As a manager, she says, this wise advice has improved her relationship with her associates, her productivity, and the morale of her department. Her co-workers have even commented on her increased confidence, and so has her general manager.
“Thuy has always been an effective manager,” says Cindy Bowen. “But I have observed her growth over the past semester, and am truly impressed with how she incorporates the Dale Carnegie practices in her daily life. I believe her when she says she is determined now to make the Crowne Plaza number one in the IHG system!”
The ceremony itself was led by Phil Zeller and Mark Eddy. Another School alumnus, Matt Anderson (BA ’09), also a Dale Carnegie graduate and now a graduate assistant, joined Dr. Cichy and Ms. Bowen in the audience, along with all of the graduates and their families. Jeremy Mourey (BA ’00), who with Matt Anderson is building an endowment to support School students in Dale Carnegie Training, was also present at graduation.
Six more students from The School are enrolled in the Dale Carnegie Course for Spring Semester.