The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources held its Hospitality Management Career Fair March 5. The fair hosted 31 companies in the Culinary Café in Eckles Hall.
All MU students were invited to attend, although the career fair targets students majoring in hospitality management and emphasizing in conference and events management, food and beverage management, lodging management, and/or sport venue management.
More than 215 students attended the fair.
“I believe the Hospitality Management Career Fair was a great success and a lot of that credit should go directly to our hospitality management students,” said Melissa Daniels, hospitality management academic and career advisor. “We had countless volunteers from numerous classes and we simply could not have executed the event without each and every one of them.”
Four hospitality management students emphasizing in conference and events helped organize and run the fair as part of their capstone experience. Students included seniors Morgan Koch, Kristen George, Holly Sanders and Cydney Ferguson.
“This is a great opportunity to network,” Koch said. “CAFNR does a great job of making sure we have events and opportunities to meet employers and leaders in the industry.”
Interviews were held March 6 for students companies were interested in hiring for internships and full and part-time positions.
A series of four panel workshops was held the morning of the fair featuring employers. The panels covered food and beverage, event planning, hotel management and sport venue management.
Lodging Industry Panel
Six industry experts served as panelists and shared their expertise and experiences in the hotel and lodging industry with students. The panelists were Valerie Walker, Director of Rooms Operations at Kansas City Marriott; Bob McDonald, General Manager from The Broadway, Doubletree by Hilton, Columbia, Mo.; Susan Barr, VP of Revenue Management, Marriott International, Inc.; Tim Combs, Director of Human Resources, Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch; Anne Conway, Corporate Director of Training and Development Lodging Hotel Management (LHM), and Wendy Kreitman, Drury Hotels. The panel was moderated by students Ashley Smith, Erica Gaston and Kanesha Hoover.
Sports Venue Management Panel
SVM hosted three industry practitioners in its panel. The panelists were Jim Wynkoop, General Manager, Chaifetz Arena, St. Louis, Mo.; Jayne Martin, Director of Fan Experience, Kansas City Chiefs; and Richard King who owns the Blue Note in Columbia. The student moderators were Lexi Linsenman and Rachel Woodhurst.
Jim Wynkoop put the nature of the sport and entertainment business into focus when he said, “We have the opportunity to create lifelong memories every time we open our doors.” Jayne Martin noted that the key to success for any sport and entertainment property is in making sure that guests are taken care of and have an enjoyable experience.
“We cannot control what happens on the field,” Martin said. “However, those experiences away from the competition are entirely within our sphere of influence. It is the experiences within that sphere that most guests base their decision to return or not to return.”
One of the recurring professional development themes shared by the panelists was passion. They all stated that it is not enough to simply verbalize the passion to be a part of the industry. The students’ body of work including employment, volunteer experience, social activities – and even academic performance in coursework related to the industry – should demonstrate this passion and seriousness of purpose.
Conference & Events Panel
The industry participants were: Beth Mead, Convention and Visitors Bureau of Columbia; Anne Churchill from AnneBelle Events; Brian Ingalls from Brancatos Catering & All Seasons Rentals; Logan Keasling, Meeting Planners International; Sarah Morrissey, Meeting Planners International; Jenny Kehm, Owner & Lead Coordinator, Before I Do, St. Louis, Mo.; and Kristen Smarr, CAFNR Communications. The student moderators included Scott Brandon, Nick Ferrarese, Meredith Curd, Sam Hill and Megan Flannigan.
Food & Beverage Panel
Panelists included Harris Coble, Assistant General Manager, The Apawamis Club, Rye, N.Y.; Mary Ostman, Managing Recruiter, J. Alexander’s, Nashville, Tenn.; Pat Holmes, Area Manager, Fresh Ideas Food Service Management, Columbia, Mo.; and David Justice, Dewey’s Pizza, St. Louis, Mo. Student moderators were Emma Faist and Jaran Hermann.