Tag Archive for: Hotelie for Life

Lee Pillsbury ‘69

Lee Pillsbury ‘69, Chairman – TenX Healthcare Systems, Chairman – TLG Investment Partners, Managing Director – Thayer Ventures, shares with us what it means to him to be a Hotelie for Life®.

“I’m a Hotelie For Life. I’m fortunate to be part of the best network in the country. It has empowered my success, strengthened my family, and supported me when I struggled. It is at the core of how my life works: Network-Connect-Collaborate.”


Bill Minnock ’79

Bill Minnock ’79, Managing Director Asia Pacific, Marriott Vacations Worldwide, shares with us what it means to be Hotelie for Life®.

“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 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 Quain ’74

Bill Quain ’74, Stockton University Professor, worldwide Author/Speaker, shares with us what it means to him to be a Hotelie For Life®.

 “When I received that acceptance letter, back in March 1970, I had no idea that my life had changed forever. On my first day at Statler, they took us into the housekeeping department and issued our chef coats, checkered trousers, and red kerchiefs. I wondered, “Where was I?”, and “Who ARE these people?” Slowly but surely, I learned lessons far beyond the textbooks – I was becoming a Hotelie. In the years since, I traveled the world with confidence. “Which fork to use?” Got it! “Which wine?” Got it. “Can you handle the pressure?” Certainly, I’ve been there. “Do you have any friends?” Everywhere! “Do you know where that person went to school?” Do you mean the one who is smiling, and acting as the Host? Yes, they went to The Hotel School. “Hotelie for Life?” Oh yeah! And wow, what a life it has been. To all Hotelies, past, present, and future, I raise a glass to each of you, and say “Thank You All.”


Karim Abouelnaga ’13

Karim Abouelnaga ’13, CEO of Practice Makes Perfect shares with us what it means to him to be a Hotelie for Life®:

 “I got into the Hotel School without a single recollection of ever staying at a hotel. I remember sitting in my Intro to Hotel Operations class with Professor McCarthy pretending I knew the difference between a Super 8 and a Ritz-Carlton property (nodding my head with the majority). Thankfully, being a Hotelie for Life is not about the restaurants you eat at or the hotels you stay at. It is the smaller things like smiling when you are within 10 feet of someone and greeting them when you are within 5 feet. It is going out of your way to serve others, even when it is as little as giving up your seat on a bus or holding a door open for someone else to get through. And, most importantly, it is about participating in and knowing that you are part of a much larger community of like-minded people who are committed to using the principles of hospitality to give the world “a little better service.”

Lindsey Cochran Fine ’05

Lindsey Cochran Fine ’05, Head of Mid Market Sales – Food Service & Hospitality and Information Technology at Amazon Business, shares with us what it means to her to be a Hotelie for Life®.

“With my first official job at 15 being in a restaurant, I was destined to be a #hotelieforlife I was energized by the pace at which it moved, and the idea behind bringing people together to enjoy each other’s company over a meal. The Hotel School was a natural choice for me, given the ability to translate this into a world class education. I felt at home the moment I stepped foot in Statler, as I felt that same energy I felt working in restaurants.

While I learned a great amount about the Hotel & Restaurant industry, the life skills I learned go far beyond the classroom. The Hotel School represents more than just an education to me, it’s a way of life. It’s about building lifelong connections and being passionate about serving others in many different ways. I’m forever grateful for the time I spent at the Hotel School and the friends and connections I made.”

Fun fact: I married another Cornellian and we had our reception at the Statler. Talk about full circle!

Alec Sherman ‘14

Alec Sherman ‘14, Director of Asset Management at TBC Hotels (and President of the CHS Washington DC-Baltimore Chapter), shares with us what it means to him to be a Hotelie for Life®.

“To me, being a #HotelieForLife has been about creating a lifelong network of friends, colleagues, and industry experts who are always there for you – whether you know them personally or not. It is a network of immediate connections both personal and professional that you can rely on when moving to a new city or job. It is also a reminder to give back and help those who are at SHA or just entering the industry. Lastly, being a Hotelie is about keeping a promise to continue to be passionate about hospitality and service. Being part of the Hotelie family is something for which I am forever grateful!”

Nate Berkowitz MMH ’11

Nate Berkowitz MMH ’11, Operating Partner at Pippett Consulting, LLC, shares with us what it means to him to be a Hotelie for Life®:

  • Being a Hotelie For Life means being connected to leaders across the globe who exude excellence every step of the way.
  • Being a Hotelie means I have been supported during these difficult times by an amazing network of hospitality professionals available to brainstorm, offer sustenance, provide guidance and a few laughs along the way.
  • Being a Hotelie gives me inspiration and drive to succeed, to be among the world’s best in their industry.
  • Being a Hotelie for life motivates me to keep striving for what lies ahead, never give up.
  • Connect, support, network, motivate, inspire #hotelieforlife

Jada Robinson ’18

Jada Robinson ’18, People Partner (HR Business Partner) at Soho House Chicago, shares with us what it means to her to be a Hotelie for Life®:

“Life is Service.” Over the course of my four years, this motto became an inside joke said lightheartedly between classmates –a response when helping a fellow Cornellian. Little did we know how much impact these three words would have on the communities we were building, and how they would shape us forevermore. “Life is service,” is about the little things that add up to make a world of a difference. Whether it was someone passing down their “law bible” to help future generations with their prelims, or a fellow Hotelie making an introduction that later turns into an employment opportunity. “Hotelie for Life” means to embrace the “Life is Service” mentality, to build an everlasting community by giving “a little more” to those whom we had the pleasure of sharing such a unique journey with – and those we didn’t. “Life is Service” is the key ingredient for a Hotelie and is the epitome of being a “Hotelie for life.”

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.”