Travel and Tourism Expert Gives Reality-Based Advice

img Hosp Roger Dow 2 170x150Roger Dow ’09 Hon., president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Travel Association, is speaking at each Johnson & Wales University campus over the next year as fifth holder of the William R. Tiefel Professorial Chair. As industry leaders, honorees speak to hospitality students, adding insight and professional perspective to classroom learning.

In his presentation to students at the Providence Campus in January, Dow touched on the harsh realities of today’s economic climate. He also offered hope despite a gloomy job forecast.

Dow told students that with a rising unemployment rate and travel to the U.S. down 3.5 percent in 2007 from the mid-1990s, they are in for a challenge. But he added that hospitality is one industry in which skills are valued and transferable almost anywhere in the world.

Then he gave the students some advice:

  • Think globally: If you do not travel outside the U.S. you will be left behind by those who do.
  • Get global experience while you’re still a student. You’ll stand out more at interviews.
  • To be a manager, you need to be a generalist with a variety of skills (technology, communications, etc.), learn to delegate work to others and work well in teams.
  • To be a good leader, be a good listener and excel at building trust and rapport with others.
  • To achieve success, don’t let people “put you in a box.” Step outside their expectations.
  • Have the guts to speak up and be willing to be a little uncomfortable.
  • Push yourself to find challenging work.
  • If you’re not happy with your work, find something that does make you happy.

For more of Dow's practical advice, watch his conversation with Dean Richard Brush in its entirety.