The Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series (DDLS) brings prominent industry professionals to speak at SHA most Fridays during the fall semester. For 2014, students work in pairs each week to research, meet, and profile featured speakers, and then guest-blog here about the experience.
This week’s student authors are Cathy Aronin ’15 and Leigh Heidelberger ’16.
When we started our first semester at the School of Hotel Administration, we met Max Rosenthal in many of our classes. As time went on, other students would mention his mother’s job. They explained how it was “the coolest job ever.” We had the privilege of meeting this mystery woman just last week, when she was a featured speaker in the 2014 Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series.
From doing the research, we knew some basic facts. We knew Ms. Stacy Fischer-Rosenthal had a high-end travel service. We also knew there was a very high fee to join the service and then an additional fee to continue the membership every year. Ms. Fischer-Rosenthal leads an extraordinary lifestyle business for a very prestigious and wealthy clientele. The business started with her father, Mr. Bill Fischer, and Ms. Fischer-Rosenthal worked her way up the ladder, knowing that nothing would be handed to her.
Once the research was finally done, we had the opportunity to meet Ms. Fischer-Rosenthal and Mr. Fischer in person, beyond our Google search. Ms. Fischer-Rosenthal embodies poise, dedication, determination, and passion for service. Sitting at the same table with her over dinner was a privilege. It was refreshing to hear stories of her life as president of a major company, balancing that significant commitment with another: being the best mother possible to Max.
Mr. Bill Fischer, along with Ms. Fischer-Rosenthal and her husband, Mr. Richard Rosenthal, all told stories of their journey with Fischer Travel Enterprises. They were very down-to-earth and candid, and you could tell the family members share a very strong bond. Through their stories it was also evident that Ms. Fischer-Rosenthal works tirelessly for Fischer Travel and her clients, but also has a lot of fun with her family, doing what they love most: traveling the world. It was almost impossible to guess a place they have not already been.
The following day, we joined the entire SHA freshman class in Statler Auditorium to hear Ms. Fischer-Rosenthal tell her story from beginning to end. She explained the history of the company and how she has taken it to another level. She explained how her father started the company “wearing many hats,” and eventually, decided that the ability to wear many hats is a very special quality and service.
After the presentation, we joined a small group of fellow junior and senior Hotelies to sit in on a roundtable discussion with Ms. Fischer-Rosenthal, Mr. Bill Fischer, and Mr. Richard Rosenthal and his mother. We all had the opportunity to ask questions.
One question and answer stood out the most, and we believe showcased how dedicated and hard-working Ms. Fischer-Rosenthal really is. A student asked “when first starting at Fischer Travel, how were you able to prove to other employees that you were more than ‘the boss’s daughter?'” Ms. Fischer-Rosenthal responded by describing one of her responsibilities when she first joined the company: every morning she would get up and drive her father to work and then bring the car back to its garage. She then had to take the bus to get to the office, and still needed to be there on time at 9:00 a.m. She started from the bottom at Fischer Travel and really learned how every part of the company works.
The whole experience of meeting Ms. Fischer-Rosenthal and her family was truly inspiring, and has helped us understand how world-class experiences are built by people – like the employees at Fischer Travel – with a passion for helping others.