The 180: Hotel Leadership Development Program reflections

By: The 180

Step into the lobby of The Statler Hotel at any given time, and you’re bound to see the friendly face of a Hotelie, hard at work and eager to help you whenever possible. It’s an everyday occurrence for students in the Hotel Leadership Development Program (HLDP), a program that has established a benchmark of excellence. HLDP is widely regarded by students, industry, faculty, alumni, and management within The Statler Hotel to be an experience that is at once challenging, worthwhile,and professionally rewarding. The program represents students’ first opportunity to gain management experience and professional growth through experiential learning within the framework on an academic environment.

To better understand what makes this unique program so worthwhile, we asked students to share, in their own words, what their HLDP experience has meant to them:

Lauren Towell ’18

“HLDP has been an incredibly unique experience and it is the only program of its kind. The trust that is placed in the student leadership is incredibly humbling. It made me feel better prepared to navigate complex situations where emotional intelligence is vital”

Andrew Frey ‘18

“During my time at the Statler, I learned how to systematically study an organization and integrate into it as quickly as possible. It was an invaluable opportunity to witness the organization as it develops and grows.”

Helen Chen’ ’18

“HLDP exemplifies the values of mentorship in hospitality. The mentors at The Statler Hotel inspire you to develop a commitment to continuous learning. You learn how to self-motivate and push yourself towards your next goal.”

Quyen Nguyen ‘20

“Being in HLDP has been and continues to be such a rewarding experience for me as an international student. The program has given me a significant advantage in my career path: no matter where you want to work in the hospitality industry, operational knowledge is critical. More importantly, the relationships I have created so far within The Statler Hotel are invaluable – not only are we coworkers, but we are also a family that cares about one another. Thanks to The Statler Hotel and HLDP, I am fortunate enough to have gained first-hand experience in the hospitality industry, not to mention learn from the mistakes along the way.”

Rani Bernstein ‘19

“Being a part of HLDP within the Banquets Department has been the highlight of my time at Cornell University. Through HLDP, students are considered a part of the management team and trusted with lots of responsibility during their shifts. While learning the administrative side of hotel operations has been beneficial, the most rewarding thing for me has been learning how to manage those who are younger than me and those older, those who have worked at the hotel longer than me, my peers, and everyone in between–skills that one can’t learn in a classroom. By learning valuable management skills before I enter the workforce, I feel more than prepared for any challenge that might come my way when I graduate. I couldn’t have done it without this program!”

Frances Tapping ‘20

“HLDP has given me the incredible opportunity to experience the concepts we learn in class in a hands-on environment. The program brings together striving individuals and ambitious students with the passion to serve and become great business leaders. Through HLDP, I’ve been a server, bartender, and supervisor at the Regent Lounge by the end of my sophomore year. I’ve found that the knowledge I’ve gained working at The Statler Hotel has helped me immensely in opening up more doors to interesting internships, as well as proving my worth at internships. I’ve grown a lot as a leader in the short two years I’ve been with HLDP and am excited to continue learning!”

Tyler Esbin ‘18

“My experience in HLDP has been a unique opportunity that allowed me to develop the ‘soft skills’ which are quintessential in the business world. I came to Cornell to learn the foundations of owning and operating hotels and I was drawn to the idea, cliché as it may sound, of learning on the job. As I have progressed on the Front Office leadership track, the Statler management team has both entrusted and empowered me with decision-making authority. The toolkit of skills which the program encourages you to develop are invaluable: the ability to strategically deploy resources and staff, prioritize time-sensitive tasks, and address guest needs. I can confidently say that I have grown as an aspiring hospitality professional during my time with HLDP and I am grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way.”

Togo Tamura ‘19

“The mentors I have met throughout my time at The Statler Hotel and with HLDP have shown me a lot of perspectives and guidance on how to become a successful manager and leader. Through trial and error, feedback, and constant guidance, I am provided with multiple techniques and tools to further develop my soft skills. I can cultivate my own leadership styles, resolve any conflicts or disputes, and foster a better work culture while learning the ropes of hotel operations. These soft skills can’t be developed over the course of a semester in the classes offered at Cornell. By providing us with real-life situations over the course of four years, HLDP allows us to develop our own unique skills to be successful, not only in leadership, but also in hospitality.”

Congratulations to our graduates!

“Congratulations to the Hotel Leadership Development Program, Class of 2018! It has been such a pleasure working beside you in The Statler Hotel. We appreciate all you have done for us and with us. You have trudged to work in the early dawn snow and you have stayed late nights setting up for the next day’s events. Your class has cooked incredible meals, provided impeccable service, “run the circle” for parking events, creatively solved problems, managed emergency situations, and interacted with thousands of guests. You have influenced everything we do as a hotel and we go forward, better for your having been here. Thank you for your dedication and your friendship. We wish you all the best as you pursue your next goal and hope to see you all again soon as our guests at The Statler Hotel!”
– The Management Team of The Statler Hotel