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 David Fitzpatrick ’16 and Sagar Patel ’16.
Kenneth Fearn, founder and managing partner of Integrated Capital, speaks in the 2015 Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series.
The School of Hotel Administration (SHA) recently had the pleasure of welcoming to campus Mr. Kenneth Fearn, founder and managing partner of Integrated Capital, to speak to SHA students as part of the Dean’s Distinguished Lecture Series (DDLS).
In preparation for his arrival, we had prepared a research packet about Mr. Fearn to share with other students. We learned about Mr. Fearn’s career progression to his current role with Integrated Capital, and found that his work ethic, perseverance, and network all can be linked to his success. It was a pleasure to research and learn firsthand about his life and see the impact Integrated Capital has in the lodging industry.
On Thursday night, a special dinner was held for Mr. Fearn and his son, Trey. Also in attendance were Dean Michael Johnson and his wife Jill, Professor Michael Paz, two Master of Management in Hospitality students, and three undergraduate students. We all thoroughly enjoyed our exquisite meals prepared by Student Chef de Cuisine Thomas Villa and were able to have meaningful discussions related to college racial issues across the country, secondary education, and sports injuries. This was a rather enlightening conversation, to say the least!
On Friday, Mr. Fearn gave an incredible speech about the investment side of hotel real estate. It exposed first-year students to real estate and finance terms in a relatable context. Mr. Fearn spoke about the importance of the professional network and said he would not be where he is today without a network of great mentors. Although Mr. Fearn attended Harvard Business School, he thinks an SHA degree serves a similar purpose. He also touched on his experience as a minority leader in the field and how he was the “odd man out,” but it worked to his advantage. One student in the audience asked how he had utilized his network in college and Mr. Fearn replied that many of his friends’ parents became future mentors and resources in his professional journey. Given Mr. Fearn’s wide range of experiences and an interesting career path, his speech was a huge success.
In the Hospitality Management Seminar (HADM 4100) session that followed, Mr. Fearn spoke about an economic redevelopment committee that he chaired in Los Angeles. This experience for him was important because he has given back to the surrounding community by utilizing a unique set of skills. Mr. Fearn brought retail to neighborhoods with lower socioeconomic status and continued to help successful developers serve the greater good. Other questions drew advice on future education and plans for growth of his current portfolio. Mr. Fearn talked about how he is trying to foster a great company culture that will attract top talent. He was humbly candid in acknowledging that his business is nothing without great people, and to win deals, he needs the best people.