John Ceriale: The power of hard work and tireless self-improvement

March 1, 2016

The Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series (DDLS) brings prominent industry professionals to speak at SHA most Fridays during the fall semester. For 2015, students worked 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 Remi Zimmerman ’16 and Patrick Tan ’16.

This week, we had the opportunity to host Mr. John Ceriale for his Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series presentation. He is a very humorous and honest man who truly believes in starting from the bottom and working your way up. He is a strong believer in “learning the business,” no matter what industry you choose to pursue.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the Thursday night dinner with Dean Michael Johnson. In addition to the normal attendees, Mr. Ceriale brought some family and friends to the dinner including his children (Chrissy Ceriale ’16, Robby Ceriale ’18, and Jack Ceriale). It was almost like a large family gathering, which gave the dinner a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. At dinner all of the guests interacted intimately and it was very interesting to hear all the different perspectives in the room.

Mr. Ceriale is a strong believer in “learning the business,” no matter what industry you choose to pursue.Prior to the lecture Friday afternoon, Mr. Ceriale had lunch with undergraduate and graduate students. Going around the room, the students introduced themselves and their career aspirations. Afterwards, we asked the student servers to follow suit. One of the servers mentioned that her dream was to own her own fly-fishing lodge, so she wanted to work in New Zealand to learn how to run one before trying to launch her own. Mr. Ceriale was amazed and intrigued. He could not stop commenting on how fascinating the student’s aspiration was, and he incorporated her pursuits into his lecture later that afternoon.

Mr. Ceriale delivered a phenomenal Dean’s Distinguished Lecture in which he gave unique insight on becoming a hospitality industry leader. He incorporated various lessons, including the idea of “kicking the ball further each day,” meaning you should always work towards improving yourself a little bit further each day. Mr. Ceriale’s lecture was inspirational, and he exemplified the idea that hard work—accepting every opportunity at hand—propels you to achieve your ultimate goal.

He exemplifies the idea that hard work—accepting every opportunity at hand—propels you to achieve your ultimate goal.

After his main lecture, we broke off into the HADM 4100: Hospitality Management Seminar group, where Mr. Ceriale held an open forum with the class assistants from the lecture. He was very genuine in his responses and it was clear that he wanted only the best for the students.

Though Mr. Ceriale started off his presentation with a lighthearted icebreaker about how he was a “fill-in” for this series, there was no better individual to kick off the start of Dean Johnson’s last Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

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