Student Reflection for the M3 Center Speaker: Mr. Mike Lester

One thing I’ve learned throughout my years of study is that hospitality can be a lot like learning a foreign language. You pick up a textbook – read, study, and take notes – yet you’re never really accustomed to the subject unless you immerse yourself in it. With this said, I spend my days and nights alternating between burying myself in a textbook and working at the Club at Longshore Lake. My various positions of administrative assistant, tennis administrator, server, and hostess allow me to gain practical knowledge of the different parts of the hospitality industry. It can be challenging, and it can be stressful, but when I remember and reflect upon the foundational values of hospitality, I know I can handle anything the trade throws my way.

To me, the most important of these values is how to be an ethical leader. I pride myself on my ability to lead by example, treat others with respect, and promote personal accountability. Upon attending Mr. Mike Lester’s seminar, I learned that these morals I treasure are integral parts of being successful in the hospitality industry.

One thing that will always stick with me is President of Melting Pot Restaurants, Mr. Mike Lester’s anecdote about “explaining the ‘why.’” He spoke of a manager who asked an employee to clean up a spill. It is a simple task, but since the employee was a server, not a busboy, he initially refused to complete the request. Instead of manipulating the power dynamic and using “because I said so” as a legitimate reason to complete a task, the manager explained why it is important to be a team player and assume responsibility for something outside of one’s assigned jurisdiction if it means benefiting the community. The server decided to clean the spill once he heard how his choices have the power to affect his surroundings, and how it’s up to him to make sure his choice is a positive one.

One day I hope to be sitting in an office of a country club with the title General Managerengraved on my door. I plan to lead with nobility, treat my employees as assets rather than liabilities, and carry with me the important lessons I have learned from honorable people such as Mike Lester and my first boss, who inspired me to pursue a career in this field. I would like to thank those who inspire the next generation of hospitality professions and hope that one day, I can leave a legacy just as dignified.

Cassandra Barreiro
HFT 3003: Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism Course, Fall 2018