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 groups each week to research, meet, and profile featured speakers, and then guest-blog here about the experience.
This week’s student authors are Tucker Iida ’16 and Violet Jiang ’16.
Alyshia J. ’09 and Omar R. Mangalji, A&S ’08
It was a busy and very exciting week overall as siblings Ms. Alyshia ’09 and Mr. Omar, A&S ’08 Mangalji returned to Cornell’s campus to speak in the 88th Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series. The strong family relationship between Alyshia and Omar resonated throughout the Thursday dinner and Friday roundtable.
Omar, now a managing director of Cap-Meridian Ventures LTD, pursued his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Alyshia went back to the family business, Westmont Hospitality Group, where she is now director of development.
The brother-and-sister team both arrived Thursday in Ithaca, excited to speak with current undergraduate and graduate students at their alma mater. Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick, a good friend of the Mangaljis, joined the dinner also. The cuisine was Spanish inspired and was definitely enjoyed by all. We both received great advice from Alyshia and Omar during the Thursday-evening dinner. Although they are still early in their careers, they both have many accomplishments.
Alyshia and Omar gave their main speech Friday afternoon in Statler Auditorium. They shared their journey from coming to Cornell to life after graduation. They talked about their family business and their experiences with it. Omar—a graduate of Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences—shared his story of how he decided not to join the company, but instead built his company and then managed to bring it back under the family umbrella. Omar also addressed his current business’s scope and shared quite a few examples of where they are invested. These examples serve greatly to supplement the knowledge of the hotel side of the business, which Alyshia talked about.
Alyshia, on the other hand, is a true Hotelie. She came into the School of Hotel Administration and found herself absolutely loving it. She took various courses and availed herself of the chance to join the family business upon graduation. Alyshia started her career managing the renovation and repositioning of new hotel acquisitions across Europe. Her well-rounded experience covered various sectors in the industry.
Both Alyshia and Omar shared some key takeaways. Among those was a prominent theme of “ask questions” and “dare to dream and be exposed to different culture and ideas.” Students were impressed by the diversity of perspective offered by Alyshia and Omar, and only wished there were more time for questions.
During the HADM 4100 seminar session, the students were able to have a more intimate and in-depth conversation with the brother-and-sister team. They had very different experiences at Cornell and have had very different approaches to their current lives. It was great to hear stories about their paths in life, and how they made decisions and where they are today.
It was an honor to have Ms. Alyshia Mangalji and Mr. Omar Mangalji visit and speak to the students at the School of Hotel Administration.