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Alumni Success Stories

Brooke Gallagher

IMAGE: Brooke Gallagher

1.) What year did you graduate and which programs(s) did you complete?
I graduated in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management.

2.) Since graduation, where have you been employed?
During college I worked at the Hilton Garden Inn in Twinsburg, and I took a full time position there after graduation. Then I relocated to the Hilton Garden Inn in South Bend, Indiana in 2007, and was a guest services manager for two years. I was promoted to assistant general manager and a year later I was promoted to general manager. As a general manager, I manage a staff of 100 employees, including 15 managers, at the 100-room South Bend location. We house a conference center that can hold 750 people, and because of our close proximity to the University of Notre Dame, we are very busy during the fall semester due to football season.

3.) What are you plans for the future?
I would like to learn more as a general manager and eventually move to a city and work at a large hotel as a regional manager.

4.) What has been your biggest challenge thus far?
Moving up in my career at a young age was probably the biggest challenge for me. Early on I had to find my voice, and work hard to earn the respect of others. I was very fortunate to have Roger Greene, regional director of operations of Gateway Hospitality Group, to help me every step of the way.

Ivy Lumpkin

IMAGE: Tout Sweet Assistant Manager

1) What year did you graduate and which programs(s) did you complete?
I graduated from KSU in May 2012 with a degree in Communications Studies and a minor in Hospitality Management.

2) Are you employed, and if so, where?
I work at Tout Sweet Patisserie in San Francisco.

2) What were some of your biggest challenges after graduating that shaped your career?
The biggest challenges after graduating that shaped my career was my transition from undergraduate studies to the 'real world.' I dedicated a lot of time to writing essays for scholarships and applying to several out-of-state graduate programs. It was a big challenge to improve my management of personal finances, and an even bigger challenge to secure a job in San Francisco before my graduate studies began. The job market on the west coast is far more competitive than I anticipated. I applied for 8 jobs per day for two weeks as I continued to develop and revise my resume and cover letter at least every other day until I received a call from Tout Sweet Patisserie. I learned to never let discouragement get in the way of my goals.

3) What has been your most significant professional accomplishment since graduating?
My most significant professional accomplishment since graduating was my promotion to Assistant Manager at Tout Sweet Patisserie after my first three weeks in San Francisco. Tout Sweet is a second project to Taste Catering and Chef Yigit Pura, the first winner of Top Chef Just Desserts on Bravo TV. This is my first managerial position.

4) Anything else you would like to add?
Strive for what you love to do and never give up your dreams for anything less. Granted there will be 'stepping stones' and opportunities well worth experiencing in your journey toward your goals. Never give up, think bigger, and you will find better. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.

Emma Winstead

IMAGE: WinsteadEmma

1) What year (years) did you graduate and which program(s) did you complete?
I graduated from the Hospitality Management program in December 2008.

2) What were some of your biggest challenges after graduating that shaped your career?
After graduation, leaving Ohio and my friends was the hardest part. I moved back home to Central New York for a few months before moving to Vegas because I didn't have a job lined up yet. Eventually, I found a food and beverage job at a hotel, but I knew that wasn't my passion. I learned a lot about being on my own and finding where to fit in, in the “real world.”

3) What has been your most significant professional accomplishment since graduating?

I dreamed about living in Las Vegas since I was 10 years old, and now I am living out my dream at one of the best properties in the city. Bellagio is somewhere that we learned about in classes, and now to say that I work there is a huge accomplishment. I'm extremely proud to say that Kent State Hospitality Management helped me get here.

4) Are you currently employed, and if so, where?
Currently, I am working as a Front Desk Manager at Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

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