CIA Hospitality Management Club Welcomes Chevy Chase Club

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Did you know that the CIA has a Hospitality Management Club? Formed by students in the hospitality management degree program and guided by one of our professors, Dr. Joy Dickerson, our club strives to embody professionalism and educate others in the campus community about the hospitality industry.

So we were all very excited to host two professionals from the prestigious Chevy Chase Club in Chevy Chase, MD: General Manager/COO Luke O’Boyle and Director of Culinary Ken Gladysz ’88, CEC. They graciously shared their experiences with everyone in attendance and answered all of our questions.

The benefits of working in country clubs

Our speakers mentioned that what sets country clubs apart from other establishments is the sense of consistency. Luke O’Boyle chose to work with country clubs because of the relationships and familiarity that he would have with his guests. Chef Ken Gladysz loves the challenge that country clubs give him, and he gets joy out of building his team as well as inspiring them to constantly ask themselves, “what can we do better?” From the perspective of both men, other than opening your own place, country clubs are the most entrepreneurial organizations. The club provides the financial resources and, as a GM, you get to make lots of independent decisions regarding new initiatives and projects.

Associations for country club professionals

There are two associations that are involved with country clubs: the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) and the American Culinary Federation (ACF). CMAA members include hospitality management students, city clubs, yacht clubs, country clubs, tennis clubs, and more. They offer continuing education at schools across the country, including Cornell and Cal Poly. In addition, education is offered through the CMAA conference. The ACF builds chefs and baking and pastry chefs through education, certifications, and programs.

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A valuable meet and greet with CIA students

At the end of the event, we had a meet and greet and indulged in some delicious snacks. The board of the Hospitality Management Club worked together to prepare the appetizer platters. We all put a lot of time and effort into all of the preparations for the event, and this picture highlights one of the many accomplishments of that day! CIA students had the opportunity to meet our speakers and talk with them about internship opportunities. Chevy Chase Club usually hires around 20 interns per summer and they are looking for enthusiastic, passionate individuals who are studying the aspect of the profession that they want you to work in. They often help with housing or help the interns with making housing arrangements. The process of getting hired as an intern is a bit different than other internships: besides the interview, you are assigned to read a leadership book and then you are to give a presentation.

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The key: knowing your guests

One thing I’ve learned about the hospitality management industry from my time at the CIA is how important it is to build a relationship with your guests. What I found most interesting about what our speakers had to say was how vital it is to know your guests and everything they like in order to build a lasting connection with them. Chef Gladysz talked about how the menu changes to produce a sense of creativity and keep it exciting, but the culinary team will always make a recipe from a past menu if a customer requests it, which I thought was impressive. The immense variety and quality of amenities they offer at the club are not only attractive; they also help members become more engaged in the club almost to the point of creating a community.

By Alessandra Sarria