2016 - 05 May


International Spotlight

Establishing a Global Community for Hotel General Managers

Leon Larkin Med Q&A with President & Founder Leon Larkin, talking about the International Association of Hotel General Managers (IAHGM), the world's first member organisation for hotel GMs  

Why did you decide to launch the International Association of Hotel General Managers?  

I was a GM for over 40 years and it's a wonderful career that gave me some incredible opportunities around the world. However, I also know first hand that the profession has its own unique challenges. It can be a very transient industry and it's a daunting prospect to be faced with a situation like redundancy where you not only lose your job, but all the associated benefits you and your family rely on, especially living away from your home country. It seemed to me that an extra level of support was needed to bridge that gap and provide a sense of security for GMs whatever the situation, throughout their careers and beyond. I found it hard to believe that an international member association for GMs didn't already exist when many other segments of the hospitality sector have them and I wanted to create something that would leave a legacy by providing real assistance to other people in the industry that has been so good to me over the years. 

What benefits do you offer?  

As well as all the intrinsic benefits of being part of a global network, our goal has always been to offer many tangible benefits that represent real value for members. Currently these include access to our Career Management Centre (CMC), which enables members to register their details online and be considered for job opportunities. GMs who are placed receive a success payment based on 10% of the placement fee. Another important part of our benefits portfolio is the portable healthcare and insurance options available at preferential rates. Our research shows GMs can move companies five or six times during their careers so portability is a huge factor to ensure they are covered in case of transfers, redundancy, change of employment status and retirement. 

We are also adding other benefits between now and July 31, 2016, such as a Retirement Savings Plan, Centre of Professional Development and various advisory services. 

Anyone who joins as a founding member can take advantage of additional incentives such as fixed membership fees for three years, priority on scholarships for members' children and subsidies for their own professional and personal development (up to the value of $10,000), a 12% success fee on placements through the CMC, two votes on important issues and delegate discounts, priority seating and accommodation for the World Congress taking place in April 2017. 

Why would you encourage GMs to get involved?  

We want to establish a global team of hotel GMs that can support and assist each other and we can only do that effectively if we have strength in numbers. Membership associations need to achieve critical mass to take their offering to the next level and as we grow we will continue to add benefits and reinvest in the organisation. The bigger we are the more we can do and that's why I would really urge GMs to sign up and become a part of something that will benefit our industry as a whole. In order to increase the incentive in the early stages stage we have set one date for membership renewals on December 31, 2017 so the sooner you join the more time you gain for free before renewal. Founding membership will close on September 30, 2016 or when we reach 2,500 members so it makes sense to get in early for the additional benefits. 

What have you got planned for the future?  

Long-term there is a lot more in the pipeline which we can offer once we have critical mass. We will provide scholarships for members' children and subsidies for personal development programmes, as well as a global helpline and Emergency Relief Fund so members know they have somewhere to turn in times of need. We are also currently planning our first World Congress, which will be held in Dubai in April 2017 alongside the Arabian Travel Market. The topic will focus on security - e.g. fire, life safety, terrorism and cyber security - which in all its forms is a very serious challenge industry professionals face today. A GM is responsible for the lives of hundreds of people each day and in some countries they are held legally accountable, meaning they must have the necessary emergency procedures/plans in place to deal with different security issues. 

How will you work with AHLEI to enhance the professional development offering?  

Following the establishment of our own Career Management Centre, we are also in the process of developing a Centre for Professional Development within our Association to support GMs with their own professional growth, by way of personal development plans. AHLEI has many programs that support the development of people within the hospitality industry. In particular, the professional Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA®) certification is of great interest to us as it relates directly to our members. We are currently conducting a feasibility study to determine how we would be able to partner with hospitality education and training providers to offer the CHA® certification to members who are currently unable to access this program. 

To find out more visit www.hotelgms.com where GMs can join via the website. Or contact membership services at membership@hotelgms.com and +97145148835.

Food and Beverage Managers Association of Greece to Offer AHLEI Certifications

Greek Food and Beverage Medium The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) has welcomed a new global partner, the Food and Beverage Managers Association of Greece (FBMA Greece).  The two-year-old association, headquartered in Athens, recently signed an agreement to offer several of AHLEI's professional certifications, focusing on the Certified Food and Beverage Executive (CFBE®), Certified Restaurant Server (CRS), Certified Hospitality Supervisor (CHS®), and Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®).  

On Tuesday, May 3, Ms. Adelina Barphe, vice president, strategic planning and public relations for FBMA Greece, visited AHLEI's Orlando, Florida, office to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the global partnership.  Barphe has a background in marketing and in hospitality, with experience as an executive chef, restaurant manager, corporate F&B, and consultant. 

"As an association, we want to connect members to education and certification through a learning platform," she explained.  "Offering the AHLEI certifications will give our members an internationally-recognized credential and help to raise the standards for service and hospitality." 

The association currently has more than 200 members, including executive chefs, restaurant managers, general managers, food and beverage directors, and academic directors of culinary schools.  The association will begin offering certification workshops in October, during the country's slow season for tourism, so that members will be better able to attend. 

"There are some amazing restaurants in Greece," said Barphe, "but 80 percent of our restaurants are not at that level. We want to help raise the standard."  She noted that in many regions of Greece, tourism is gaining ground as an industry, but as more people visit, there are also more complaints. 

"Our operators know that there is something wrong, but they don't know what to do about it," she explained.  "We need to provide more education and training for employees and managers; we have a lot of work to do. Professional certification will show the world that we take hospitality seriously, and that will attract visitors from more countries to come to Greece."

High School Spotlight

Knowledge Matters Partnership Provides Students with Additional Options to Complete Certification Requirements

Knowledge Matters Logo - MedThe American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) has signed an agreement with Knowledge Matters that will provide high school students who complete the Virtual Business Hotel Online simulation with an exemption from the 100-hour internship component of the industry-recognized Certification in Hospitality Tourism and Management (CHTMP). Students still need to pass both the Year 1 and Year 2 exams for the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program (HTMP) curriculum.  

"AHLEI is thrilled to be partnering with Knowledge Matters to better prepare our high school students for careers in the hospitality industry," said Shelly Weir, AHLEI's vice president, domestic sales. "Our HTMP students will gain experience in all of the key roles in hospitality management through both the classroom-based AHLEI curriculum and the Knowledge Matters simulator. The partnership aligns perfectly with our objective to develop a strong pipeline of workers for this dynamic industry."  

Completing the 100-hour internship component of the CHMTP certification process can be difficult for many high school students. The Virtual Business Hotel Online simulation will provide them with 10 levels of in-depth hospitality content that Knowledge Matters calls "the ultimate job rotation." The simulation-based high school curriculum was developed through a partnership between The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, DECA, and Knowledge Matters. Executives from Marriott International provided subject matter expertise in all areas of the lodging business.  

"Today's students are tech-driven and tech-savvy. Giving them options to gain critical knowledge through virtual experience learning makes sense. Students will have the opportunity make decisions in a simulated environment and see the impact of their decisions on both customer satisfaction and the bottom line. We are proud to work with AHLEI to provide students with the tools they need to succeed -- in school and in the workplace," said Peter Jordan, president and CEO of Knowledge Matters.  

For more information on how the Knowledge Matters hotel simulation integrates with AHLEI's high school curriculum, contact Weir at sweir@ahla.com , or call 407-999-8100.

Industry Spotlight

AHLEI Honors Navy Lodges for Commitment to Professional Development and Certification

Navy Awards 2016 The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) presented three Navy Lodge properties with awards recognizing their commitment to supporting their employees and guests by providing access to continuing education, training, and professional certification , using AHLEI's resources as part of a property-wide development program.  

Navy Lodge Sasebo , Japan, under the leadership of general manager Connie Hill, and Navy Lodge Guantanamo Bay , Cuba, under the leadership of general manager Joycelyn Connage-Johnson, received the Military Hospitality Training Excellence Gold Award . To earn this award, a property must show an increase in guest satisfaction and meet training benchmarks for employee participation in AHLEI's distance learning courses, training programs, and professional certification completions. These include Guest Service Gold® and the Certified Guest Service Professional, and line-level designations including the Certified Front Desk Representative, Certified Guestroom Attendant, Certified Maintenance Employee, and Certified Hotel Concierge designations.  

Navy Lodge Everett, Marysville, Washington, under the leadership of general manager Dominic Lewis, received the Military Hospitality Training Excellence Meritorious Award . To achieve this highest AHLEI distinction, a property must have demonstrated exemplary achievement in training, education, and certification leading to improved guest satisfaction, and also be a previous Gold award winner.  

The awards, given for achievement by the properties during the previous year, were presented by Brenda Moons, AHLEI's senior vice president, sales; and Joseph A. McInerney, CHA, AHLEI consultant, on Thursday, April 28, at a ceremony during the annual worldwide Training and Strategy Workshop, held this year in Orlando.

Workforce Spotlight

Thomas Penny Honored as AHLEI’s Outstanding Workforce Partner

Thomas Penny Medium The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) has named Thomas Penny, general manager of the Courtyard Marriott Convention Center in Washington, D.C., as the inaugural recipient of the 2016 Lamp of Knowledge Award for Outstanding Workforce Partner.

This is the first year for this award, which was presented at the AH&LA Stars of the Industry Reception on Wednesday, May 18. Penny was honored for his work as a managing member with Progressive Partners, LLC, which brings numerous opportunities to begin a career in hospitality to disadvantaged populations in the Washington, D.C. area. 

Progressive Partners consults with major universities and projects such as the Marriott Marquis Job Training Program and MGM National Harbor. Through the efforts of Progressive Partners and its partner organizations, hundreds of District residents are employed in hotels, earning living wages with access to healthcare and retirement benefits. These programs use AHLEI's Skills, Tasks, and Results Training (START) curriculum to train and certify new employees, giving them marketable skills and proof of competency as they enter the workforce. 

Penny is active in several associations and organizations that promote the hospitality industry. Penny became the second African-American to serve as Chair of the Board of the Hotel Association of DC. He serves on the Executive Board of Destination DC. Penny is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Washington Hospitality Foundation, SOME (So Others May Eat) and DC Central Kitchen.

Additionally, he is the Co-Chair of the DC National Academy Foundation's Hospitality Advisory Board-a body of hospitality executives whose mission is to expose District youth to the hotel business from operations to ownership. Penny also serves on the Board of the DC Public Education Fund, the DC Workforce Investment Council (WIC), DC CAN (Career Academy Network), DC High School Credit Flexibility Task Force, and Prince George's Community College's Hospitality Executive Advisory Board.

Certification Spotlight

New CHE® Master Trainer to Lead Major Caribbean Hospitality Conference

Natasha Gittens

The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) has appointed Natasha Gittens, Ph.D., CHE, director of the University of St. Martin's School of Continuing Education and Life Long Learning (SCELL) as a CHE® Master Trainer. As one of only 13 educators in the world to hold this position, Gittens will facilitate AHLEI's Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE®) workshops in the Caribbean and North America. 


Gittens earned the CHE® last April along with other hospitality faculty members from the University of St. Martin on the island of Sint Maarten.  She was then selected for the CHE® Master Trainer mentorship program, adding another layer of expertise to her academic and professional credentials. Gittens holds a bachelor's degree in political science, a master's degree in educational leadership with an emphasis on supervision, and doctorate in business management.  She has served as a project management consultant to businesses, corporations and hospitality organizations worldwide and has led adult education, training, and mentoring programs that have received national honors. 


Gittens will lead a CHE® workshop in mid-September as part of a weeklong hospitality conference, " High Season 2016: Developing Professionals in the Caribbean ," presented by SCEL and supporting sponsor Windward Islands Bank, and hosted by Divi Little Bay Beach Resort. The September 9-16 conference will feature more than 25 training sessions, ranging from team building and supervisory training to basic accounting for managers and public speaking. There will also be a day-long workshop for AHLEI's Guest Service Gold® program culminating with the Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP®) exam, presented by Erwin Wolthius, MA., CHE. 


Gittens stated, "I am very proud of my appointment as a CHE® Master Trainer by AHLEI.  This appointment directly supports The University of St. Martin's and SCELL's goal to directly empower individuals to pursue higher education, AHLEI hospitality certifications, and professional development opportunities. The Get Ready for the High Season Conference 2016 is the vehicle we selected to provide thousands of diverse professionals with the opportunity achieve their personal goals. SCELL has received superior feedback on the event and looks forward to expediting it to a high level of service excellence. This event showcases that St. Maarten is taking the lead to improving tourism throughout the Caribbean." 


Complete information for registering for the High Season conference and enrolling in the CHE® or CGSP® certification workshops is available online at www.scell.usmonline.onl .