REFLECTIONS : Flo Cunningham – unexpected lessons learned

Flo Cunningham – unexpected lessons learned

 Flo was a contradiction of the times.

In the mid 1970s, the glass ceiling was very real in much of the hotel business.  At the flagship 1500 room Sheraton Boston hotel, there were no women department heads, sales managers or executives at the time I was a management trainee.  The few supervisory roles filled by women are often in housekeeping or the coffee shop .  This was not considered unusual at the time.

Flo was transferred into the hotel from world headquarters, also in Boston.  A take charge personality, she was strong willed and handled both public relations and special projects.  By watching her from afar, I learned of how interaction was addressed both from and within a corporate home office of a large company.   The support was sometimes appreciated, and sometimes appeared to be meddling.   Flo was focused on achieving results and fitting in with others as appropriate, and I even recall she joined other executives in smoking the occasional cigar.

I was reassigned from Boston to Houston in 1976, and I had  no further interaction with Flo.  I do recall visiting the Sheraton Boston in the last five years and women executives and managers have taken their rightful place in positions of responsibility.

Flo’s example and persistence gave me insights as a trainee not to make first judgments on others too quickly and this lesson has remained with me my entire career.

 

Success does not come by accident or chance.

Contact us for assistance.

John.Hogan@HospitalityEducators.com or 602-799-5375

HospitalityEducators.com was created to help hospitality businesses address problems via a training and information resource site to help you increase your Hotel’s revenue, market share and profitability.  With more than 2,000 pages of tips, guides, best practices, strategies, plans, budgets, videos and resources, HospitalityEducators.com is the #1 independent website for hotel owners and managers.  This site can help you solve your problems now!      Read More  

KEYS TO SUCCESS  is the umbrella title for my ongoing programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings focus on a variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my “HOW TO” articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS™, Lessons from the Field™, Hotel Common Sense™ , THE P-A-R PRINCIPLE™  and Principles for Success.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at john.hogan@hospitalityeducators.com   anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense,


 

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events. He is CEO and Co-Founder of www.HospitalityEducators.com , which delivers focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today.
www.HospitalityEducators.com  is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.

www.HoganHospitality.com
Your Hospitality Resource for the Hotel Owner, Innkeeper, Manager and Hospitality Industry Associations.

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Reflections on those who have impacted our careers | Natividad Cruz – Sheraton Boston Hotel

Reflections….on those who have impacted our careers

There is one section of HoganHospitality.com that I have begun to  allow me the opportunity to “reflect” on some of those people who have positively impacted my career.  While these reflections will be of people that I have known, I encourage you to think back on the people who contributed to the person you are today.

“Our business life is not to get ahead of others,
but to get ahead of ourselves…
to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterdays by our today,
to do our work with more force than ever before.”

Stewart B Johnson
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3.  Natividad Cruz – Sheraton Boston 

After graduation from the Hotel Administration Program at the University of Massachusetts, I accepted a position as a management trainee at was then a 1,000 rooms at the flagship Sheraton Boston.  My assignments included service as day manager in the Falstaff Room (main dining room), housekeeping supervision, night auditor, a wide range of  front office roles, hotel evening and weekend Manager-On-Duty and pool manager.

There was one additional position that perhaps taught me the most, because it was something I had not been prepared for and because it exposed me to very different experiences and people.

My eight months as Executive Steward was challenging and demanding, in that I found myself responsible for 85+ dishwashers, pot cleaners, set-up staff, and stewards. Department responsibilities included cleaning for a huge banquet kitchen, 3 restaurants, 4 lounges, a stand-alone kosher kitchen, silver polishing center, making coffee for literally thousands daily and more.  This was a new experience for me, and the fact that less than 10% of the staff spoke English made the task that much more daunting.

Many of the stewards came from Puerto Rico and were legal residents, but were struggling to support their families on entry level jobs with limited potential for advancement.  Some of the many lessons I learned came from my relationship with an individual named Natividad Cruz. He  started in an hourly position but stood out immediately as someone who wanted to do and be more.  He was slightly older than I and it helped me that he spoke some English, but what I learned from him was an appreciation for others who were trying to survive in unfamiliar territories.  He and I learned together and from each other certain ways to make cultural diversity real.

Natividad was able to see that there might be potential with commitment and after less than 90 days in the department, I was able to break with some organizational “protocol” and promote him to Assistant Executive Steward.  Three months later, he was recognized by the hotel as its first ever EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH from that department.

I have never forgotten the lessons I learned from this caring person, who shared his values, his culture and his professional friendship.

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Success does not come by accident or chance.

Contact us for assistance.

John.Hogan@HospitalityEducators.com or 602-799-5375

HospitalityEducators.com was created to help hospitality businesses address problems via a training and information resource site to help you increase your Hotel’s revenue, market share and profitability.  With more than 800 pages of tips, guides, best practices, strategies, plans, budgets, videos and resources, HospitalityEducators.com is the number 1 website for independent hotel owners and managers.  This site can help you solve your problems now!      Read More 

KEYS TO SUCCESS  is the umbrella title for my 2011 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings focus on a variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my “HOW TO” articles, HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS™, Lessons from the Field™, Hotel Common Sense™ , THE P-A-R PRINCIPLE™  and Principles for Success.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at john.hogan@hospitalityeducators.com   anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements … And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense,


John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events. He is Co-Founder of www.HospitalityEducators.com , which delivers focused and affordable counsel in solving specific challenges facing hospitality today.

Consulting Expertise and Research Interest

  1. Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual
  2. Customer Service
  3. Making Cultural Diversity Real
  4. Developing Academic Hospitality programs
  5. Medical Lodging Consulting
  6. Sales Management and training
  7. Turn-around and revenue management

If you need assistance in any of these areas or simply an independent review or opinion on a hospitality challenge, contact me directly for a prompt response and very personalized attention.

www.HospitalityEducators.com  is a membership site offering a wide range of information, forms, best practices and ideas designed to help individual hoteliers and hospitality businesses improve their market penetration, deliver service excellence and increase their profitability.

www.HoganHospitality.com
Your Hospitality Resource for the Hotel Owner, Innkeeper, Manager and Hospitality Industry Associations.

This section is included to allow me the opportunity to “reflect” on some of those people who have positively impacted my career.  While these reflections will be of people that I have known, I encourage you to think back on the people who contributed to the person you are today.