Staci Wiley, Director of Membership & Communication for Beechmont country club

Q: What year did you graduate from Kent State and with what degree? 

I graduated in May 2021 with a degree in Hospitality Management.

Q: How did the Hospitality and Event Management program prepare you for your career? 

Staci and Richard holding an award
I was already in the business when I started this program at Kent. I thought I knew everything I needed to know…I was wrong.  Kent State offers an amazing support team for students pursuing their degree. The professors, advisors and even other students genuinely care if you are successful, they motivated me to do better and to care more. Kent provided me with the tools I needed to be successful in my career. My professors helped me define exactly where I wanted to be, and they helped me every step of the way. 

Q: What advice would you give current Hospitality and Event Management students?

Don’t give up! You will get tired, overwhelmed, and frustrated. You will have days where you think it will be easier to just walk away, but that day will pass, and you will be thankful that you stuck with it. Join a student group, volunteer, attend the meetings! Meeting the other students, forming friendships, and building your Kent State Support team will help you in school and after graduation. These classmates will be the first people in your professional network after graduation. Participate when you are in class! You are here because you don’t know everything. It’s okay to be wrong, it’s okay to make a mistake. The biggest mistake you can make would be to sit back and let it pass you by without taking advantage of all Kent has to offer. Don’t just go through the motions. This is my second time going through college. The first time, I didn’t do any of the things I’m suggesting to you, and it was a completely different experience and far less successful.


David Haberman, Restaurant Manager of Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center

David Haberman
Q: What year did you graduate from Kent State and with what degree?
 
  • May 2018
  • Bachelor of Science: Hospitality Management

Q: Where are you employed and what is an overview of your job?

  • Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center
  • Restaurant Management
  • Oversees day-to-day operations at various restaurants in our resort. Currently focusing on enhancing different beverage programs.

Q: How did the Hospitality and Event Management program prepare you for your career? 

  • Such great support from professors
  • Leadership opportunities at a young age
  • Exposure and network opportunities

Q: What advice would you give to current Hospitality and Event Management students? 

  • Stay eager to learn and have that intellectual curiosity
  • Get involved early and gain leadership experience when you can
  • Our industry is a fast-growing industry, even during these tough times. You never know who you will meet that can help guide your future. Start a conversation and get to know people. Be open to trying new things as it only opens new doors for opportunity.

Steven green, Director of Food and Beverage for Marriott International

Q: What year did you graduate from Kent State and with what degree?
I graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science from the Hospitality Management Program.

Q: Where are you employed and what is an overview of your job?
I am currently the Director of Food and Beverage for Marriott International. I just came off of a few years of traveling full-time for Marriott working as an internal contractor to assist with hotel/restaurant openings, doing property deep dives, assisting with the execution of company-wide initiatives and task forcing. My current property is the Tysons Corner Marriott outside of Washington, DC.  In my role, I oversee all Kitchen, Restaurant, In-Room Dining and Banquet operations as well as oversee all Event Planning and Management.

Q: How did the Hospitality and Event Management program prepare you for your career? 
Overall, Kent taught me a lot outside of the classroom when it came to learning how to deal with many different personalities and backgrounds. Being involved in several programs on campus allowed me to learn how to work our diversity to reach an overall goal. Almost weekly, I reflect back on a lesson I learned in the classroom.  Some of the most crucial classes to my career (though maybe not my favorite at the time!) were Hospitality Law, Culinary Classes and anything that Chef Perkins or Dr. Swathi taught, Purchasing and Nutrition. I would never be in the position I am now if it wasn’t for the lessons that either helped me keep my numbers in line, taught me how to deal with difficult HR issues, and how to create modern and diverse menus and events.

Q: What advice would you give to current Hospitality and Event Management students?
Pay attention and have fun. If you enjoy learning about a specific subject, don’t stop at what is expected to be known for the exams.  Learn as much as you possibly can so that one day you can use that knowledge to get an edge on the other person trying to get the same promotion as you.  Passion about your career not only makes you enjoy your job on a daily basis, but also is what an employer is looking for in their next candidate.  And secondly, keep your text books! You will use them in your career more than you expect. Plus, when you finally get that big office, you will have something to fill the shelves!


Monica Challingsworth, Director of Sales at Bottega Louie Restaurant and Gourmet Market

Q: What year did you graduate from Kent State and with what degree?
I graduated from Kent State in December 2009, Degree in Nutrition and Food with a concentration in Hospitality Management

Q: What is Bottega Louie Restaurant and Gourmet Market?
Bottega Louie is a world-class French patisserie, a Gourmet Market selling its own line of pasta sauces, gift boxes and chocolate bars ect., an off-site catering company and an online retailer that ships its world famous macarons across the U.S.  Bottega Louie also recently launched a line of luxury Wedding Cakes and special occasion cakes. In 2014, Bottega Louie, was awarded Best Restaurant and Best Brunch by LA Weekly Readers.

Q: What does your job entail as Director of Sales at Bottega Louie Restaurant and Gourmet Market?
My job as Director of Sales for Bottega Louie is to continue to grow our business beyond our current $23 million revenue. I am in charge of all catering, events, marketing, business development and sourcing additional lines of revenue. I attend networking events and travel when necessary.

Q: What advice would you give to current Hospitality and Event Management students who are getting ready to look for jobs?

The best advice I would give to current Hospitality Management students would be to build your network and learn the power of connections. Always follow up with your network and be sincere. Make sure to always be an active listener and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Hard work, dedication and commitment will always pay off. I recommend reading a book by Keith Ferrazzi called “Never Eat Alone.” I read this book on my flight to California and I do contribute everything I learned to my success today.

Q: How did the Hospitality and Event Management program prepare you for your career? 
Kent State was truly the best years of my life. Our professors would never let us give up on our dreams and always pushed me to be the best student I could be. I still keep in touch with several 6 years later. My professors helped secure my internship that completely shaped my work ethic and dedication. Without my education and development at Kent State I could never be where I am today.