Is DEI Destined To D-I-E During the Recession? Hotel Industry Could be a Leader in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion By Baron Ah Moo HNN columnist November 15, 2022

The year 2020 will forever be remembered for COVID-19 and the start of the global pandemic. However, American historians had thought that the murder of George Floyd in May of that year would be an equally seminal moment in the history of our country, and the start of the human rights revolution in equity and inclusion in the U.S.

The hospitality industry — with more than 40% of its front-line workers being Black, indigenous and people of color — was well-positioned to draw from its diverse workforce and was one of the first to establish committees to discuss the challenges and bridge solutions.

Marriott International hosted Employee Town Halls and started an Emerging Leaders program targeting the advancement of minorities. Hyatt Hotels Corp. invested an additional $1 million in its RiseHY program, which offers job and training opportunities to youth in underserved communities. IHG supported the enactment of Georgia’s Hate Crime Bill.

A new U.S. president also signaled that America could be turning the corner regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. However, two years later, this transformational moment remains unrealized and is just a reminder of how difficult systemic change can be.

The industry should be fertile soil for inclusivity and change. Instead, only 20% of hotel general managers are women, 10% are minorities and 1% are Black. The reality remains that unless investor, operators and owners are incentivized or regulated by their constituents, DEI is doomed to be relegated to “event planning subcommittee” status.

Recently, I have attended several industry events centering on diversifying ownership, operations and partnerships. All have the best of intentions, but none were prepared to answer the fundamental question: “What is your target number/percentage for expanding your company’s partnerships with BIPOC investors/owners/operators?” None were ready to quantify the current number of relationships they have and, shockingly, none were ready to prescribe a growth number to it. My assumption is that these numbers are so low that they are immaterial and even embarrassing for the companies to reveal.

Thus, if these gatherings are nothing more than check-the-box, “feel-good” community events for their sponsors, and the DEI momentum is waning, what can those of us who remain passionate about the cause do to keep it alive?

I would submit that the answer lies in a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “The ultimate measure of a person is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Translated: Despite the lack of interest or commitment from our constituents, and regardless of the certain commercial challenges we face in this inevitable recession, those of us who continue to believe in equity need to do anything — scratch that, DO ANYTHING to bring attention to the need for diversity, equity and inclusion in our industry.

Have the difficult conversation with your staff and superiors, speak out in meetings about what your company is (or is not doing) on the subject. Restart that DEI committee, ask questions about the group’s policy and examples of successes and “opportunities.” Be pedantic and fastidious in ensuring that everything you can control is filtered through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion.

If the cornerstone companies of our industry refuse to measure and manage their DEI results in the same way they meticulously monitor and quantify their shareholder returns, the only option we have is to ensure that we bring to light the change that can happen (and is not happening) and the opportunity that we have to make a difference.

Equity should not become collateral damage of the pandemic and the recession, but rather the stabilizing force that allows our hospitality industry to weather the upcoming storm.

“Unity, to be real, must stand the severest strain without breaking.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Baron R. Ah Moo has more than 30 years of experience in investment, hospitality finance and operations. Joining the PKF hospitality group in 2019, Baron leads the U.S. consulting practice and is based in New York City.  This article was published on Hotel News Now on November 15, 2022.

AHED Joins Forces with Cornell Graduates to Diversify Hotel Industry Leadership with Intentional Recruiting

Dear Hotelies: In recognition of our 40th reunion a few years ago, a group of classmates from the Class of 1981 started an initiative to diversify the student bodies of university hospitality programs across the nation. The article below was published on Hotel Interactive. It summarizes the progress that has been made. If you are interested in joining your classmates, feel free to reach out to me:

AHED Joins Forces with Cornell Graduates to Diversify Hotel Industry Leadership with Intentional Recruiting

February 2, 2023

MIAMI, FL – Over the past two years, 36 alumni from the Cornell University Nolan School of Hotel Administration have come together to develop and fund a program designed to attract more disadvantaged and underrepresented Black students to study hospitality and tourism. This Cornell alumni group calls itself DREAM (Dedicated Recruitment for Hospitality Educational Equity, and Mentorship), and has initially raised $130,000 to seed AHED, led by the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University (FIU).

Based on extensive interviews conducted by the DREAM group with academic leaders of 23 North American universities, there was a unified belief that intentional recruiting was critical. The DREAM group was established to create a pathway for underrepresented minorities to pursue undergraduate hospitality management degrees to become future hospitality leaders.

In addition, there is an outsized gap in Black representation in the hospitality industry, especially in leadership positions. According to the Castell Project, a division of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), that tracks the progress of minorities within the industry, African Americans represent 17.5 percent of the total workforce in U.S. and Canadian hotels, but just 1.6 percent of the industry’s executive leadership. One part of the solution is to intentionally support and grow the number of Black students in undergraduate hospitality programs.

“By addressing the specific priorities and concerns of Black students and their families, the odds of getting them to enroll, study, and begin a career in hospitality leadership are greatly enhanced. This is particularly true when recruiting candidates facing socio-economic barriers,” said Dan Fenton, Director of Global Tourism and Destination Development for JLL and member of the Cornell Class of 1981. “Our research clearly demonstrates that intentional recruiting needs to occur out on the road in the classrooms, living rooms, and communities where the potential students reside. This is a key strategy in the AHED approach to the intentional recruiting program.”

The feedback received from hospitality program educators helped to define the features of the AHED intentional recruiting program for underprivileged Black students:

Recruiting potential applicants at high schools, community colleges, and community centers

Meeting with parents to overcome the negative perceptions of the hospitality industry

Guiding students and families through the application and financial-aid process

Providing focused scholarships to improve financial accessibility

Steering and mentoring accepted students through key decisions on housing, course selection – and throughout their four-year journey

Fostering sponsorship and allyship within academic and student-life programs

Connecting students and graduates to hospitality employers that are committed to supporting the program and a diverse management team.

“During our discussions with university leaders, it became evident schools have struggled with administrative, legal, and governance hurdles that have prevented them from implementing an intentional recruiting program on their own,” said Christopher Hunsberger, COO for Appellation Hotels and fellow member of the Cornell Class of 1981. “They believe the independence of AHED is a way to change by increasing the enrollment of Black hospitality students, and ultimately to realize the full potential of this massively underrepresented source of talent. As we see our federal courts further undermine race conscious college admissions, it becomes more important for industry leaders to step up to address this critical issue.”

“The initial response to the formation of AHED from industry leadership has been overwhelmingly positive, building our confidence that this intentional and focused initiative is long overdue and broadly embraced”, said Michael Cheng, Dean of FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. “We thank the DREAM team and recognize that financial support is key in ensuring equity and diversity throughout every level of the hospitality business up to and inclusive of Senior Leadership and C-Suite.”

AHED provides an independent collaborative platform sought by university program leaders. In turn, universities must do their part by providing guidance for those Black students that meet admission requirements and enroll in hospitality management programs.

“Intentionality does not end with the recruitment process. Universities must follow through by developing systems designed to ensure the success of Black students as they enter the campus, throughout their academic career, and beyond,” said Fenton.

“The Cornell alumni group is a strong example of authentic commitment, and we believe the results of their actions will enable AHED to produce meaningful change. We commend the DREAM group for their vision and consistent support,” said Brian Barker, FIU Hospitality’s first endowed Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DE&I) Professor and director of AHED.

Michael Kay ‘61 – In Memorium

Michael Kay ’61 passed on Thursday, January 19, 2023 in his home in Atlanta. Michael served as the Cornell Hotel Society Global President during the 1975 to 1976 academic year. Michael was a third generation Cornellian. He served the university as a member of the Cornell Council, and supported the Hotel School by serving on the Dean’s Advisory Board and deans search committees.

Below is an obituary published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on January 22, 2023. It describes Michael’s many contributions to the hospitality industry, and extensive support of philanthropic organizations.

_ _ _ _ _

Michael Zola Kay, age 83, of Atlanta, GA passed away peacefully in his home on January 19, 2023. Michael was born in New York City, spent his boyhood in Pittsburgh, and earned a B.S. degree in Hotel Administration at Cornell University. After launching his career at many of the marquis hotels in New York City, Michael came to Atlanta in 1980 as the CEO of Omni International Hotels. He went on to run the Portman Hotel Company and then in 1991 went on to become the turnaround CEO of LSG Sky Chefs, the largest provider of integrated in-flight airline catering.

Michael has served on the boards of Radiant Systems, NSI, Shoptaw and Pullapart and dedicated much of his retirement years to serving on the boards of national and local nonprofits. Michael is the past Chair of the Board of the Jewish Community Legacy Project and past board chair for the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta where he created the first donor-advised fund committee and chaired the investment committee. He served on the board of Jewish Federation of Atlanta and co-chaired the creation of their strategic plan with Mike Leven. At JF&CS, where Michael chaired the board and served for two years, he and his wife Ann were honorary co-chairs of the capital campaign that resulted in an expanded campus and new space for the agency’s innovative IndependenceWorks program. Up until the time of his death, Michael was on the boards of The Weber School and the MJCCA. Michael also served on the boards of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, United Way of Greater of Atlanta, YearUp Atlanta, The Center for Working Families and KIPP Schools in Atlanta. Michael served as Vice Chairman of Points of Light and was on the national board of Repair the World. He and Ann then assisted in helping bring Repair to Atlanta.

Michael was a force for goodness and philanthropy and through his professional and volunteer pursuits, he created a lasting impression and an impressive legacy. Michael dedicated countless hours mentoring others and sharing his experiences and advice. Michael was a man of many thoughts and words, but he chose them wisely. His love of family, friends, running, books, and crossword puzzles are everlasting, and his presence will be missed by all who knew him.

Michael is survived by his wife of 43 years, Ann Kay; his brother, Jeffrey Kay; his son, Jonathan Kay, his wife, Marcia and their two children, Hayden and Phoebe; his daughter, Jennifer Gilbert, and her two children, Mason and Max; his daughter, Alison Doerfler and her two children, Harrison and Jordan; and his son, Todd Lubin, his wife, Lindsay and their two children, Ozzy and Lou. Memorial donations may be made to Jewish Family & Career Services or Atlanta Jewish Federation. The Funeral Services will be held Sunday, January 22, at 3p PM, at Congregation Or Hadash at 7460 Trowbridge Rd., Sandy Springs, GA 30328, with Rabbi Edward Harwitz officiating. Arrangements by Dressler’s, 770.451.4999.



MMH Student Research Survey – Alumni Assistance Requested

Employee Perceptions Regarding the Morality of Their Company’s HR Management Practices

To most low-income students from Vietnam, getting a college degree is our dream, let alone a degree from abroad. Coming from a similar background as a first-generation college student, I overcame the social barriers and prove to others otherwise. Not only did I earn a bachelor with honors from Michigan State University, but I also got in one of the most competitive master’s programs in hospitality at Cornell University. The program at the Nolan School of Hotel Administration has helped me advance my research skills and prepare my application for a doctorate degree. My hope is that managers will better understand their employees and improve employees’ work experience, and at the same time, achieve higher financial goals thanks to low turnover rates.

The more I research and encounter employees at the university, the more I feel committed to improve employees’ experience and reduce social injustice in the hospitality industry through my work. One key variable that appears in almost every conversation in the field of hospitality is turnover. I have realized that extant literature has found important factors of turnover. Nevertheless, the topic of morality and turnover has yet to be discussed. As such, I decided to ground my thesis project in the hospitality industry and focus on employee perceptions about the morality of their firm’s HR management practices and the extent to which such perceptions may be linked to their work experiences and intentions to stay/leave. With my thesis, I want to increase employers’ awareness of individual differences among employees.

I am seeking a large sample of hotel and restaurant employees, so any assistance you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Here’s the link:

All the best,

Vinh Le
MS Hotel Administration
Nolan School of Hotel Administration
Cornell University


2022 Philippus Miller III ‘83 Legacy Award Winners – Jason Ling ‘23

In 2019 the Cornell Hotel Society established the Philippus Miller III ‘83 Legacy Award.  The award was designed to recognize and celebrate Phil Miller’s legacy as a builder of networks and relationships.  For decades Phil was the heart of the Cornell Hotelie for Life® that is the foundation of the Cornell Hotel Society (CHS).  The award is given to students that demonstrate an understanding of the spirit of Phil Miller – the importance of connecting and giving back.

The winners of the award in 2022 were Caleb Trieu ’23, Hailey Nelson ’23, and Jason Ling ‘23.  Below we share Jason’s story.


About Jason Ling ‘23

While in high school in Atlanta, Jason was very active in the Future Business Leaders of America organization.  Jason became a statewide leader, and eventually found himself planning several conferences throughout the year.  One of Jason’s mentors within Future Business Leaders noticed his talent for planning meetings and encouraged Jason to consider the Nolan Hotel School (SHA) at Cornell.  After some research, Jason quickly learned that Cornell was the best place to go to study hospitality and concluded, “Why not be the best!”.

Jason took a tour of Cornell, but he did not have a great experience.  His parents insisted that he visit Ithaca again, and the second time was a charm.  Jason and his family stayed at The Statler Hotel, spoke with several students, and he fell in love with the school.

Upon arrival as a student, Jason was somewhat intimidated by his classmates.  He did not have as strong a hospitality background as others, but that gave him no biases when determining what area of hospitality he would favor over the next four years.  To gain hospitality experience, Jason immediately went to work at The Statler,

Jason credits two professors as having significant impact during his time at Cornell, and development as a person.  Professor Andrew Quagliata (Communications) has helped Jason defined the person he wants to be outside of school, and how to balance his life.  Professor Kasey Tarantino (Advanced Business Modeling and Business Computing) hired Jason as a Teaching Assistant and provided him with an opportunity to connect with his peers and underclassmen.

Jason’s summer jobs have been real estate and finance oriented.  He has spent time with Wells Fargo, HREC, and CKH Group.  Outside of the classroom Jason is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board, and has been a member of multiple singing ensembles, including serving as President of the Glee Club his senior year.  Upon graduation, Jason wants to combine his understanding of real estate and passion for ESG values.

One of Jason’s first experiences with the Hotelie network was reading an article in Hotelie Magazine. Seeing how important and supportive the Hotelie network is to its members was a major factor that contributed to his decision to attend Cornell versus staying home to attend Georgia Tech.  Jason is considering traveling to the CHS regional event in Vietnam during the fall of 2022, or the CHS regional event in Amsterdam in the spring of 2023.

Picture below:  Jason (left) attends the Cornell Alumni Association of Atlanta new student reception in August of 2022.

* * *

The Cornell Hotel Society and Cornell Hotel Foundation congratulate Caleb, Hailey, and Jason, and welcome them to the Hotelie for Life® network. These interviews were conducted by Robert Mandelbaum ’81.


2022 Philippus Miller III ‘83 Legacy Award Winner – Hailey Nelson ’23

In 2019 the Cornell Hotel Society established the Philippus Miller III ‘83 Legacy Award.  The award was designed to recognize and celebrate Phil Miller’s legacy as a builder of networks and relationships.  For decades Phil was the heart of the Cornell Hotelie for Life® that is the foundation of the Cornell Hotel Society (CHS).  The award is given to students that demonstrate an understanding of the spirit of Phil Miller – the importance of connecting and giving back.

The winners of the award in 2022 were Caleb Trieu ’23, Hailey Nelson ’23, and Jason Ling ‘23.  Below we share Hailey’s story.

About Hailey Nelson ‘23

Despite the fact that Hailey’s older brother attended Cornell, she knew nothing about the Nolan Hotel School (SHA).  What she did know was her passion for cooking.

Hailey wanted to pursue a career in food and beverage, so she looked into attending a culinary program after high school.  Knowing Hailey had an entrepreneurial streak in her, her parents recommended that she look at business schools as well.  After Googling “business and food”, Cornell appeared as an answer that offered two potential solutions – The Food Industry Management program at The Dyson School, and the Hospitality Management Program at The Hotel School.  After visiting the campus, it was her conversation with an SHA Ambassador that convinced her to apply The Hotel School.

While at SHA, Hailey has taken advantage of several F&B related classes, clubs and jobs.  Ironically, it was a Food Science course in the Ag School that kicked off her culinary journey in Ithaca.  After that Hailey especially excelled at her beverage courses and eventually became a Teaching Assistant for Professor Doug Miller (beers) and Professor Cheryl Stanley (wines).  Outside of the classroom, Hailey founded the Food and Beverage Society, a social media driven club that attracted guest speakers to address students online during COVID.  During the summer Hailey has worked at Wings Over, the Button Grove Winery, and EJ Gallo, as well as holding a remote internship with Lettuce Entertain You.

Hailey has taken full advantage of the Hotelie network and has thoroughly enjoyed her experiences with alumni.  She was fortunate enough to attend the CHS EMEA Chapter event in Rome, Italy during the spring of 2022, and then traveled to New York to attend the SHA 100th Anniversary Banquet.  At the 100th anniversary event she was very impressed seeing the hundreds of Hotelies that traveled to NYC to honor one of their own – Elizabeth Blau ’97.  All these experiences have motivated her to continue her connections with SHA after graduation, and return to Ithaca to share her knowledge in the future.

Picture below:  Hailey (far left) attending the CHS EMEA annual regional meeting in Rome, April of 2022.

* * *

The Cornell Hotel Society and Cornell Hotel Foundation congratulate Caleb, Hailey, and Jason, and welcome them to the Hotelie for Life® network. These interviews were conducted by Robert Mandelbaum ’81.

2022 Philippus Miller III ‘83 Legacy Award Winner – Caleb Trieu ’23

In 2019 the Cornell Hotel Society established the Philippus Miller III ‘83 Legacy Award.  The award was designed to recognize and celebrate Phil Miller’s legacy as a builder of networks and relationships.  For decades Phil was the heart of the Cornell Hotelie for Life® that is the foundation of the Cornell Hotel Society (CHS).  The award is given to students that demonstrate an understanding of the spirit of Phil Miller – the importance of connecting and giving back.

The winners of the award in 2022 were Caleb Trieu ’23, Hailey Nelson ’23, and Jason Ling ‘23.  Below we share Caleb’s story.

About Caleb Trieu ‘23

Growing up in Bakersfield, CA it was only natural that Caleb would consider a STEM career in the oil or agriculture industry. Accordingly, most of his college applications were for industrial engineering programs.  Ultimately Caleb was accepted to the prestigious engineering program at the University of California, Berkeley.

Caleb always enjoyed exploring the world beyond Bakersfield.  He held a deep-seated love for travel and found the Nolan Cornell Hotel School (SHA) as a highly attractive alternative to studying engineering.  After being accepted to Cornell, Caleb had to make the difficult decision to follow the traditional route and attend UC Berkeley or follow his passion for travel and enroll at SHA.

It was at this point in life that he got his first taste of the Hotelie network.  Professor Sean Rogers connected with Caleb and ultimately convinced him to travel across the country to Ithaca, versus upstate to Berkeley.  Caleb was so impressed that Professor Rogers would take the time to speak with an applicant and help him with one of the most important decisions he would make in life.

Caleb’s experience at SHA has served to boost his passion for the hospitality industry.  While Caleb entered school thinking about a career in the airline business, multiple classes have exposed him to all facets of the hospitality industry.  His summer and COVID gap year experiences reflect the diversity of his interests.  Away from Ithaca Caleb has worked at United and American Airlines, HREC in Denver, Hilton in San Francisco, and EY in Miami.  Outside of the classroom Caleb is a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, has served as a leader of the Cornell Real Estate Consulting Club and the Air & Sea Hospitality Club, and follows his faith by joining The Chesterton House, a Christian residential community.

While Caleb has yet to decide on his career path after graduation, he wants to show his gratitude and appreciation for all the relationships he has made that have contributed to his exceptional Hotelie college experience.  He is amazed at the commitment Hotelie alumni have to help each other, students and faculty and aspires to be an active alum that gives back after graduating.

Picture below:  Caleb (center) spends time with friends during his night managing at Establishment.

* * *

The Cornell Hotel Society and Cornell Hotel Foundation congratulate Caleb, Hailey, and Jason, and welcome them to the Hotelie for Life® network. These interviews were conducted by Robert Mandelbaum ’81.


Cornell Hotel Society – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

The killing of George Floyd in May of 2020 stimulated long overdue conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) throughout the U.S. and around the world. Like other organizations, the leadership of the Cornell Hotel Society (CHS) took up this topic to assess how CHS is meeting the needs of the diverse population of Hotelies that attended the Nolan School of Hotel Administration (SHA).

In the summer of 2020, the CHS board formed a DEI Committee co-chaired by Stacy Delapenha ’14, Rohan Gopaldas ’02 and Anna Chung ’03.  To guide their efforts, the DEI Committee established the following mission statement.

The CHS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee exists to address the diversity and inclusion issues facing the Cornell Hotel Society and our alumni base. We will work to ensure that the Cornell Hotel Society and our chapters create an inclusive environment for all SHA alumni to be welcomed and valued members of the CHS community. The CHS DEI committee will also work to build awareness and educate our members around systemic issues that prevent equity across our organization and the hospitality industry at large.

The DEI committee leadership then sought input from multiple Hotelies.  This research was intended to assess the needs of students of color in the Hotel School and provide direction for future actions of the committee and CHS.

The DEI Committee research concluded that not all Hotelies felt as included in CHS as others.  With this understanding, the DEI Committee then sought to identify actions that could be taken to provide a more inclusive CHS environment.

The committee decided on a two-pronged approach.

  1. Change the factors that have limited an environment of inclusion within CHS.
  2. Offer a series educational sessions designed to educate Hotelies about DEI challenges.  Not only could this help the development of a more inclusive environment within CHS, but the educated Hotelies could take their knowledge back to their professional organizations to improve inclusivity within the hospitality industry at-large.

Changing the Environment

As with most alumni organizations, CHS members get involved when their friends get involved.  Active membership and leadership have diversified but has lagged the pace of the diversification of the student body and graduates.  The DEI Committee recommends pairing active CHS members and leaders with young alumni of similar race, sex and ethnicity to stimulate greater participation across cultural differences.  The goal is for all young alumni to feel welcomed, valued members of the CHS community, which will ultimately build upon the strength of the Hotelie network.

Another way to get young alumni active in CHS is to participate in the CHS Lobby.  Accordingly, the DEI Committee created a National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH) hub within the Lobby for alumni of color to interact.

Educational Sessions

The CHS DEI committee established the CHS Back to School series, a progression of online workshops that took place between September 2021 and February 2022.The sessions featured Hotelies and other industry leaders who have expertise in various aspects of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The series started with defining DEI and its state within our industry, then gave practical tools for both organizations and individuals to use within the workplace.  The workshops in the CHS Back to School series are described below, and all recordings and resources can be found on the CHS Lobby.


Workshop Title Date Featured Guests
Influencing Diversity Strategy in the Hospitality Industry September 16, 2021 ● Peggy Berg, Founder and President of the Castell Project

● Greg DeShields, Executive Director of PHL Diversity Tourism Matters


Building a Culture of Inclusion and Belonging October 21, 2021 ● Baron Ah Moo ’93, Managing Director and Head of U.S. PKF HotelExperts

● Jodi Davidson, Vice President Global Diversity & Inclusion of Sodexo

● Allison Hill ’93, Head of Diversity & Social Responsibility at Roark Capital

● Ronisha Goodwin, Senior Manager of Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Hyatt Hotels


Breaking the Middle Management Ceiling November 18, 2021 ● Evan Frazier ’92, President and CEO of the Advanced Leadership Group

● Geraldine Guichardo ’10, Global Head of Research for Hotels & Hospitality and Director of Living Research Across the Americas at JLL

● Crystal Thomas ’08, Vice President and Global Brand Leader for Luxury & Lifestyle Brands at Hyatt Hotels Corporation


Building Strong Mentorship and Sponsorship Relationships December 16, 2021 ● Victor Younger, Director of Diversity & Inclusion for the Cornell Nolan School of Hotel Administration

● Tracy Prigmore, Founder of TLTsolutions and She Has A Deal

● Telesa Via, Vice President of Sales for Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants

● Bill Minnock ’79, Visiting Professor of Practice at the Cornell Nolan School of Hotel Administration


Unconscious Bias Workshop* January 20, 2022 ● Fenimore Fisher, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion at Aramark

● Donnice Peterson, Employee Resource Group Manager at Aramark


Intergroup Dialogue Workshop* February 24, 2022 This session was led by Cornell’s Intergroup Dialogue Project (IDP) and presented IDP core concepts

*This session was not recorded

To view recordings and resources from the Back to School series, please visit:[tags][14459]=true

Next Steps

Following the Back to School series, the CHS DEI Committee is launching a mentorship program for students from minority serving institutions who are interested in building a career in the hospitality industry. The program is called Hospitality Career Coaching Circles (HC3) and is designed to help BIPOC students expand their networks and develop critical skills as they transition into hospitality careers. The committee is launching a beta version of the program this Fall. If you are interested in becoming a mentor as a part of our upcoming program, please contact Baron Ah Moo ‘93 (

After a two-year term with the original co-chairs, the CHS DEI Committee will be led by Abirami Dandapani ‘21 and Jacqueline Perkins ‘13 for 2022-2024. To volunteer with the DEI Committee, please reach out to Abi ( or Jackie (

Nieberding ’13 / Yuschik ’14 Wedding

On October 23, 2021, Michele Nieberding ’13 married her high school sweetheart and fellow Hotelie James Yuschik ’14.  The ceremony was held at the Raspberry Plain Manor in Leesburg, Virginia.  Included in the wedding party were Michele’s brother (Chris ’13) and sister (Carolyn ’13).  Officiating was Michele’s uncle Lee Pillsbury ’69.  Michele and James celebrated the day with several other Hotelies in attendance.


Stacy Koenig ’88

Stacy Koenig ’88, Case Investigator at Public Consulting Group, shares with us what is means to be a Hotelie for Life®.

For me, being a “Hotelie for Life” took an unusual turn when the world stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A stay-at-home mom for 20 years, I was trying to go back to work in the hospitality industry. A hard enough hurdle after 20 years, but even harder when the industry was turned upside down due to the pandemic. What could I do from my house that could help? I took a remote job as a Contact Tracer for the New York State Contact Tracing initiative, quickly shifting to become a Case Investigator.

In a nutshell, I talk to sick people to try to stop the spread of Covid-19. As a Case Investigator, I get to talk to people from all walks of life. My Hotelie skills come into play every day as I treat each person as I would a guest in a hotel, offering empathy, kindness and compassion as I walk them through what to do to properly isolate and protect their families. I also need them to tell me truthfully where they have been and who they have seen. As you can imagine, some people do not wish to tell a stranger their recent whereabouts over the phone.

I truly believe my hospitality skills have helped me get people to open up to me. I can happily report that the amount of people who have refused to talk to me is very low. Hopefully, my efforts will help the hospitality industry get back on its feet and I can get back to the industry I love.”