Randy Garutti ’97

Randy Garutti ’97, CEO of Shake Shack, shares with us what it means to him to be a Hotelie for Life®

Randy Garutti ’97 and Family

Cornell just stays with you. It’s in your soul. Every day in my business and personal life I’m reminded how important my time was at Cornell. Not just the education, but more importantly the people we were surrounded by, the professors, the community, and the friends who have been the most important part of becoming the person I am today. What I would give for a the chance to go back and talk to my 20 year old self to share what I know today!

Kelly McGuire MMH’01,PhD’07

Kelly McGuire MMH ’01, PhD ’07, Senior Vice President, Revenue Management for MGM Resorts International, shares with us what it means to her to be a “Hotelie For Life

“Since graduation, I’ve learned that the benefit of the degree doesn’t stop with the education or your immediate classmates. It continues and grows when you become a member of the broad network of amazing, industry leading, alumni around the world! My career, and my life in general, has been influenced in so many… positive ways by the advice, feedback, recommendations and really great stories over drinks with hotelie alums around the world. Being a #hotelieforlife, for me, has meant opportunities to experience, through the network, great advice, great connections and the best of the best in service execution, from exclusive five-star hotels in Asia to fabulous casual meals in my Hotelie besties’ kitchens. I always learn and grow though my access to the vast experiences of Hotelie alums

With all of these benefits, being a #hotelieforlife comes with responsibility. We must continue to demonstrate to current students and new alumni what it means to be #hotelieforlife, the power of our network and the amazing possibility of the opportunities it can bring. We must always make time for Hotelies. We must answer the phone, go to events, support faculty, hire students and give back to the school. It’s the only way to ensure the sustainablity of the opportunity we have had the great privilege to take advantage of. I am very proud and honored to be a #hotelieforlife.”


Rocco M. Angelo ’58

Rocco M. Angelo ’58, Associate Dean, School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University, shares what it means to him to be a #Hotelie for Life®.

“It was love at first sight when I stepped into Statler Hall for the first time on a Fall day in 1955. I flew from NYC to Ithaca at the invitation of Dean Meek, the founding dean of the Cornell Hotel School, who after a brief interview urged me to apply. Once I was enrolled and attending classes I bonded with a number of classmates who like myself had attended other universities and were veterans of the Korean Conflict (it was not labeled a war.) We became a family; working multiple jobs at the Statler Inn (now Hotel), studying together and yes, partying together. My Cornell friends became my friends for life. Up until 2015 and for the thirty years before we reunited for a fun weekend, reminiscing about our days on the hill, talking about our families and our careers. I had hotel and restaurant experience before matriculating at Cornell but I consider my career as having started seriously after Cornell and due to Cornell and the contacts I made throughout my career. While I was a student I was active in HEC and most School clubs. My affection for the Cornell Hotel School continued after graduation. I was the CHS chapter president twice in New York, once in the the Caribbean and once in South Florida, and in 2001 the CHS international president. It was an honor to emcee the School’s 75th anniversary celebration at Windows on the World, the Hotelie of the Year celebrations for Dean Robert Beck at the Waldorf Astoria, Denis Sweeney at Windows on the World and the Mariani Family, co-emceed with Simon Turner at The Plaza Hotel and the dinner honoring David Dittman’s decade as Dean, also at Windows on the World. Am I a Hotelie for Life? Stand back as I shout, YES!”

Rocco M. Angelo ’58

Julie Surago Pierce, MMH ’14

Julie Surago Pierce, MMH ’14, Senior Financial Analyst for CBRE Hotels Capital Markets, shared with us what it means to her to be a#hotelieforlife:

“My favorite thing about being a Hotelie is that no matter what city I move to, I know that I have a network of people who share a love of amazing food and experiences and a desire to serve. The Hotelie family has been a welcoming group in Boston, New York, and now San Francisco. I know that no matter where work or life takes me, I will always have friends because I am a #hotelieforlife.”

Bill Minnock ’79

“Being a Hotelie for Life is like being part of a family: anyone affiliated with Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration is family to me. When anyone contacts me or wants help–whether an alumni, a current student, or a new student–I always answer and try to help. Why? Because all of my Hotelie colleagues, old and new, have a special place in my heart. Fellow alumni have done this for me over the years and this is my commitment to the Hotelie community.”

Bill Minnock – Class of 1979 BS
Class of 1983 MBA Johnson School
Managing Director Asia Pacific, Marriott Vacations Worldwide

Deniz Omurgonulsen ’00

“Being a Hotelie for Life is belonging to an extended family all over the globe! Cornell Hotel Society is the network for Hotelies to share their love of the industry and their commitment to the belief that life is service.”

– Deniz Omurgonulsen ’00
Vice President of Membership – The Leading Hotels of the World

Robert Mandelbaum ’81

“I frequently tell people that half the value of my Cornell Hotel School education has come after graduation. Connecting with alumni through the Cornell Hotel Society has not only benefited me professionally, but has provided some very enjoyable “Hotelie moments” like a private lunch with Robert Mondavi in his vineyards. Hotelies are very diverse, but we all share a common belief that service is not demeaning. Providing joy to others is something very noble.”

Robert Mandelbaum ‘81
Director of Research Information Services
CBRE Hotels

Nolan Hecht ’97

Nolan Hecht ’97, who heads up hotel investments at Square Mile Capital, recently shared with us what it means to him to be a Hotelie for Life:

Nolan Hecht ’97

“Being a Cornell Hotelie is an entryway into the strongest network of hospitality professionals in the world. There is a certain bond that Hotelies share and it emanates from having worked at The Statler Hotel and having run the TCAB restaurant for a night — these shared experiences foster a real tight community and feeling of belonging to something uniquely special. Not a day goes by in my professional career that I don’t interact with a fellow Hotelie and there is always a level of respect and admiration that is unrivaled by any other educational grouping.”

Paola Tavella ’12

Paola Tavella ’12, who recently rejoined Four Seasons Hotels as F&B Manager at the Four Seasons Lana’i, shares what it means to her to be a Hotelie for Life.

Paola Tavella ’12

“To me, being a Hotelie for Life means being an active part of a family of daring, unstoppable leaders, who see no limits to where they can go and the impact they can have on the world. It is about being open and passionate about the world around you, exploring each moment and jumping in. The School of Hotel Administration connects you to a tight knit network that supports each other and connects one another across the globe. It provides the education, resources, and support that spark a fire to strive to be the very best in our industry. My journey has led me from big city (New York and Los Angeles), to a remote island in Palawan, Philippines, and onto a new adventure on Lana’i, Hawaii. Immersing myself into new cultures has allowed me to live differently and collect knowledge and life lessons that to me, is what being a Hotelie is all about. Whether it is alumni, a current student, or an incoming Hotelie, I feel blessed to be able to support my fellow Hotelie community in any way I can.”

Reed Woodworth ’84

Reed Woodworth ’84

Reed Woodworth ’84, Managing Director of Public Sector Management Consulting for CBRE, shares with us what it means to him to be a #hotelieforlife®:

What I have always appreciated most about being affiliated with the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University (I’m “Old School!”) is the culture of creating life-long relationships both at the school and, perhaps most importantly, through the years after graduation. Hotelies understand better than most that to truly serve both your customers and your friends, you must stay in tune with any and all resources that either might need in a pinch. I have numerous examples from my career where knowing the right Hotelie has been critical to solving a problem quickly and efficiently. In many cases, though, it wasn’t necessarily the Hotelie that I knew who solved the problem. It may have ultimately been solved by someone they knew (or someone THAT person knew)! Without these relationships, I would not be able to provide optimal solutions for my clients nor actionable advice and counsel for my friends. The Hotel School not only teaches the value of networking, but through the Society provides the life-long structure to maintain that value. And if you haven’t learned anything about networking, the one piece of advice I would provide is to always call Tom Pedulla ’60! He knows everyone!!!!