A new Graduate Student Professional Development program is underway in The School of Hospitality Business at MSU, led by Graduate Programs Coordinator and Advisor Melissa Bankroff, which addresses issues faced by women leaders in the hospitality industry.
“Well over half of our students are female,” explains Melissa. “We recognize that they will face certain challenges and opportunities, both in their careers and at home, so we want them to be as prepared as possible.”
With that in mind, women leaders will be invited to come and address students, sharing their career paths and their stories.
The first alumna to come to campus was Ann Doré (BA ’04, MS ’07). As a student, Ann was the very capable CEO of The School’s Auctions in 2002 and 2003. She is now project manager at the Kellogg Company, and a member of the newly-formed Performance Excellence Task Force in the company’s Customer and Logistics Services (CLS) Department. In her roles, Ann is able to use her service-oriented education and hospitality background, as well as develop her supply chain knowledge. She has been recognized for her leadership in providing excellent customer service, receiving the first-ever CLS Customer Service Outstanding Leadership Award in 2008 and the Q2 Peak Performance Award from the Western Regional Sales Team in 2009.
Ann spoke to graduate students on March 23, 2012. She gave an overview of her company, and provided time for the students to interact with her and with each other. Discussing her own “Leadership Journey and Lessons Learned,” Ann noted that working at a large company is similar to a “long group project.” And in a group project, she said, it is important to define what you can bring to the team, communicate effectively, praise your peers in public, and seek out and respond to feedback.
She encouraged the students to build credibility early and to deliver what you say you will do. Maintain a positive attitude – everyday – and “dig into the details for understanding,” since, she said, “you will be questioned and tested.” In this regard, Ann urged the students to “build your analytical skills, but remember to ‘zoom out’ to keep the big picture in mind with perspective and relevance.”
The students were impressed with Ann and grateful for her insights. “I think Ann is young enough to relate to us,” said one student. “And she could be specific about how the ‘live’ projects we do in The School actually are translatable to the work world. I appreciated her wisdom and her positive attitude.”