University of Denver – Speaking With Our Future

As some of you know, I attended the University of Denver’s Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management (formerly Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management) in the Daniels College of Business and take great pride in my university, including being a member of the school’s Executive Advisory Board. I am happy to dedicate my time and efforts to the further success of our program, students who are committed to hospitality and the university as a whole – giving back to what you are most passionate about is extremely important to me.

I was recently invited once again to speak with Dr. Cheri Young’s Restaurant Development class, which I had the pleasure to have done last year. This year, Dr. Young is teaching the class with a great restaurateur (also a former classmate and good friend of mine), Jon Schlegel, the founder of Snooze, an A.M. Eatery. I immediately committed to speak with the class and was all set to head to Denver on Tuesday morning, when a freak Spring snowstorm hit and changed my plans. However, we had modern technology on our side and Dr. Young suggested a call via Skype to connect me with the class – a great idea!

All of the students in the class were seniors, poised to graduate this June and head out into our amazing industry; so I wanted to make sure that I was supportive, informative and captivating of their attention. When you have a chance to speak with high school or college students, especially with the current generations, you must make every effort to keep their attention/keep them involved since they process information at such a fast rate with the technology, information and everything around them.

My conversation with these students was exactly that – I wasn’t speaking towards them, but rather with them. We kept a great back and forth going on the do’s and don’ts of restaurants, design elements, how to gather research/information and other elements of the business. I think I enjoyed the hour and a half Skype session as much as they did – these students are extremely bright, very engaging and forward thinking with the concepts that they are putting together. I look forward to having a chance to check out the 5 groups restaurant concepts at the end of their class and prior to their graduation.

I can’t thank Jon Schlegel and Dr. Young enough for this opportunity and look forward to the chance to speak with future classes at the school in the near future. My closing message to each of you is this – it’s not enough to follow your passion and embrace that passion; it is your task to SHARE your passion with others and support those who are just getting started in your industry. Take time, give back; the rewards you gain from that will be endless.

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