Wendy Kheel ‘84, Vice President – Tourism Insights for the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, shares with us what it means to her to be a Hotelie for Life®.

“Going to back to college to get a masters (then called a MPS) from the Hotel School was the smartest career decision I have ever made. I have an undergraduate degree from Northwestern in theatrical design and worked for several years as a costume designer in Chicago. The time came when I was going to have to either move to NYC or Los Angeles to further my theater career and I didn’t want to do either. So, after a few years in Ithaca working with my brother who owned the Dugout (some of you may remember that infamous bar), I realized I needed a business education. Off I went to the University of Miami for an MBA for two reasons…relatives who lived in Miami that I could freeload off of and the fact that Miami offered the ability to earn an MBA in 12 straight months, not two years. But, here’s the thing. Potential employers could not get over my theater background or see any value in it. What to do? I happened to be visiting Ithaca and went up to the Hotel School to talk about auditing some classes. But, because I had the MBA, they offered me a Finance graduate teaching assistantship if I would enroll for a master’s in hotel administration. Sweet! This was the turning point in my career and life. I now had an education that made me valuable, particularly to PKF in Philadelphia my first job out of grad school. I was well on my way for a career that has been rewarding and fun, with many, many wonderful friendships made along the way among fellow Hotelies. Thank you, Hotel School!”

Wendy is pictured here with a friend she made in the Galápagos Islands.