From the Director

What a pleasure it has been to return to SHA this year! Each experience that I have had since graduation in 2004 has been a reminder of the fact that my education at SHA was foundational to affording me a variety of opportunities that blended my interests in hospitality, technology, and entrepreneurship education along my journey. One of the highlights of returning to campus has been teaching the course HADM 3135/HADM 6135: Conversations with Entrepreneurs.

Conversations with Entrepreneurs, open to hotelies in addition to students across campus, has a multidisciplinary focus that revolves around the concept of preparing for an entrepreneurial journey. Each week guest speakers are included in the class to supplement in-class networking and discussions. Speakers are invited to unpack turning points in their entrepreneurial journeys to help provide perspective on the key decision points that have brought them to their current state of success in hospitality entrepreneurship. The speakers also contribute to a class suitcase with three resources that they suggest students should carry moving forward as they build out the frame for success in their own entrepreneurial journeys. While the speakers suggest items for the entrepreneurial suitcase, the students reflect on what resources and tools they can leverage not only from the Pillsbury Institute but from Entrepreneurship@Cornell, peers, local resources, and the vast Cornell alumni network in order to set them up for success on their entrepreneurial journeys for their remaining time at Cornell and beyond graduation.

While listening to the suggestions of the speakers and engaging with students in class, I found myself reflecting on my own journey back to Cornell. I am fortunate to be able to come full circle and return to a position that incorporates working with faculty members that made such a tremendous impact on my life, reconnecting with alumni in the industry who are interested in engaging with the Pillsbury Institute to impact student entrepreneurial journeys, engaging with our corporate sponsors and supporters who continue to bring innovative ideas and financial support forward to help us make a greater impact on students, and meeting so many talented students. The biggest distinction that I see in students from my time as an undergraduate student to the students currently enrolled at SHA is that they identify as entrepreneurs as they graduate to pursue leadership positions in hospitality. The Pillsbury Institute, which did not exist when I was at SHA, has provided the opportunities for students to explore their entrepreneurial identities. As a result of the entrepreneurship education classes provided, students at SHA embrace the fact that it is a conscious choice to leverage their entrepreneurship education to create opportunity.

While working with Dean Steven Carvell, Academic Director of the Pillsbury Institute, and our amazing team in Statler 289, we made a conscious choice to create even more opportunities to develop student entrepreneurs from SHA by aligning our operations during this 2013-2014 academic year to make a difference in the industry around three core facets at the foundation of our operations: engagement, education, and experiential learning.

We are always looking for ways to further engage your advice, expertise, and time to make a difference in the entrepreneurial scholarship of the students in the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have feedback or ideas you would like us to consider or if you are interested in getting involved in any of our entrepreneurship activities here at the School of Hotel Administration.

Many thanks for your continued support,

Mona Anita K. Olsen
Visiting Assistant Professor
Assistant Academic Director of the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship