Updates from the Directors
It has been over three months since Cornell, and much of the rest of the world, shut down. First and foremost, we hope that those who are reading this are safe and healthy and that their families are as well. At this point, it is inevitable that we all know people who have been infected and many of us have lost friends and family – our condolences to all who have suffered a loss.
While the pandemic runs its course, our industry has been decimated. The Hotel School has been active with webinars on, among others, the applicability of new and old laws, real estate workouts, the expected needs of guests and staff as we open back up. With the United States, and the rest of the world, beginning to reopen with new restrictions and constraints, it is the time when entrepreneurs step up. Many of the best initiatives and start-ups develop during economic downturns and times of crisis. From selling, delivering and using excess food and other supplies as if it they were grocery stores to creating their own delivery systems, restaurateurs are looking for ways to stay afloat. Hotels are in a similar mode and there are numerous avenues for innovators to create products and systems that will make guests and employees feel safe in our properties. From conferences, business travel, celebratory functions, and major sports and entertainment events, many of the most common draws to hotels are in question – innovators will lead people back to hotels and ensure that they feel, and they are, safe. Innovative architects may reimage large conferences centers if it turns out that large conferences become a relic.
We at the Pillsbury Institute look forward to facilitating this next wave of innovation. Along with our Board, we will soon be hosting webinars and providing other forms of content that will explore the needs of the Industry, guests, employees, vendors, and other stakeholders. We hope you enjoy reading this newsletter and take a moment to watch this year’s Business Plan Competition video. We also hope you will join us for our future webinars, and we hope we can be a resource for those with innovative ideas to help bring the greatest industry in the world back and stronger from this unprecedented time.
Linda and Dave
Welcome to the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship (PIHE)! Six months ago the two of us were excited with the opportunity to become co-directors of the PIHE. The Institute has been in existence for over a decade and we are thankful for all of the hard work and accomplishments of our predecessors who provided us with a strong organization to continue and expand.
The Pillsbury Institute is tasked with a multi-facetted mission. First, and foremost, PIHE strives to provide students at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, the SC Johnson College of Business, and the greater University, with the opportunity to learn about, and engage in, entrepreneurial theory, thinking, and activities. We do this by engaging with our board members and other friends and colleagues who share their expertise with students through one on one meetings, panel discussions, and work-related mentoring. In addition, we hold a series of competitions (e.g. business plans and pitch decks), hackathons, classes, and roundtables to further educate and connect students, faculty, and heads of industry. In addition to working with students, it is our goal to be a home of entrepreneurial thought for the hospitality industry through research, roundtables and conferences. Entrepreneurship is an academic discipline, a career, an ideal, and most of all is it is a mind-set that drives innovation as the heart and soul of the economy. There is no more important activity for a university than to create an atmosphere where students develop their entrepreneurial spirit and entrepreneurs can rely upon a forum to engage and collaborate with other like- (and not-so-like) minded colleagues. We are honored and humbled to be part of such an important institute.
We are thrilled with the success of last semester’s hackathon sponsored by Hilton and featured in Hotel Business, the pitch deck competition, and the beginning stages of the business plan competition. We are so thankful to all the entrepreneurs who donated their time to our students by serving as an Entrepreneur in Residence or as a judge during the fall competitions. As we move into the spring, we are excited about the culmination of the business plan competition, our innovation course in NYC, and planning our first roundtable. We sincerely appreciate all of your support, and hope to grow the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship with you.
Linda and Dave
For students, faculty, administrators, and the Pillsbury Institute alike, the close of the academic year is often an odd mix of frenzied activity and quiet reflection. This year is no exception. In just the last several weeks, Pillsbury has successfully conducted two industry roundtables and two speed networking events; hosted close to a dozen Entrepreneurs in Residence; and sponsored a two-day competition in which students were challenged to come up with innovative uses in the hospitality industry for a humanoid (and adorable) robot, Pepper. These activities, some of which are featured in more detail below, were just part of the many programs the institute carried on throughout the year.
Aside from all the activity, this time of year is also one of reflection, particularly this year, as Pillsbury celebrates its tenth anniversary. On a personal level, I am once again filled with a sense of pride and, well, awe at the incredible accomplishments of our current and former students, just a few of whom are featured herein. It truly is a privilege to teach, mentor, critique, and support them in their many entrepreneurial efforts.
Equally impressive is the impact that the Pillsbury Institute has had in its ten short years in existence. During that time, the institute has been a driving force in developing and formalizing the entrepreneurial ecosystem at the Hotel School and at Cornell. While the school has long had entrepreneurship in its DNA, the Pillsbury Institute has played a key role in encouraging that nascent culture to develop into a full curriculum supported by year-round programming that helps translate classroom learning into real world experience. The impact on students from these efforts cannot be emphasized enough. While it may not always be apparent to those of you who support the institute from afar, it is clear to those of us on the front lines. A week does not go by without me hearing from a current student or recent alumni that participating in a competition, meeting with an inspiring alumni, taking a course, learning a lesson, surviving a tough assignment, or some other aspect of the entrepreneurship offerings at the Hotel School “changed me” or “changed my life.”
Importantly, I also reflect on the fact that this curriculum and programming, which serves students from across the university, could not happen without the support of entrepreneurial alumni, industry leaders, expert faculty, and exceptional staff. Thank you for the continuously generous support that so many of you have provided this year to both the Pillsbury Institute and our students. As we look ahead to next year, I hope that we will see many of you in person, perhaps at one of our two recurring competitions (the PitchDeck Competition and the Hospitality Business Plan Competition), as an Entrepreneur in Residence, as a guest speaker in class, at a speed-networking event, at a roundtable, or in a Pillsbury board meeting. If there is a way to get you involved, we welcome it.
One final note: as I took on the role of Interim Director of the Pillsbury Institute this semester, I have been particularly grateful for the support of Michelle Ciaschi, our new assistant program manager. She is assisted by Erica Heim—program manager, and Leslee Kane—administrative assistant. For those of you that don’t know Michelle, Erica, and Leslee, I encourage you to stop by and say hello to them next time you are on campus.
Susan Fleming, PhD
Senior Lecturer, Interim Academic Director of the Pillsbury Institute for
Hospitality Entrepreneurship (PIHE) and Hospitality Business Plan Competition Faculty Sponsor
Entrepreneurship is Global
In November, the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship led the efforts at Cornell in celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, part of the Global Entrepreneur Network. Each day, there was at least one event held for various stakeholder groups in the Cornell entrepreneurial ecosystem including students, alumni, faculty, staff, and industry leaders. Two highlights of the week included the Entrepreneurship Is Global Roundtable, where nearly 30 people came together from around the world to discuss five topics, such as the application of Gallup’s Entrepreneurial Profile 10 Assessment in both universities and the hospitality industry and authenticity in global value creation. The final event of Global Entrepreneurship Week at Cornell was a 10-year celebration of the Pillsbury Institute’s impact in hospitality entrepreneurship during which we presented our decade of hospitality entrepreneurship video.
To continue the global focus on entrepreneurship, the Pillsbury Institute will be looking at entrepreneurship in Cuba in 2017. In November, I was able to go on a delegation to Cuba through the International Academic Partnership Program Cuba, a program sponsored by the Institute for International Education. I sincerely hope you will join the efforts to make a difference in hospitality entrepreneurship in Cuba once we announce details of the different programming that we are currently in the process of creating.
As always, we appreciate your support and are thankful for your commitment to engaging in our efforts to pave the path forward for entrepreneurship in the Cornell ecosystem. Please engage with us this upcoming semester as we help pave the path forward for entrepreneurship at Cornell.
Mona Anita K. Olsen ’04, PhD
Academic Director of the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship
Assistant Professor, Entrepreneurship
In celebration of the tenth year of the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship, I am reflecting on the development of the institute and ten things that I am most thankful for as we define our goals for the next decade of entrepreneurial impact.
- Students: Engaging in our offerings with continuous curiosity, energy, and excitement.
- Advisory Board: Supporting the operations and advising our team on paths to further the development of the institute each year.
- Pillsbury Faculty Ambassador Program: Collaborating with faculty and staff from multiple disciplines to facilitate institute events and projects, expanding our hospitality entrepreneurship footprint creating innovative opportunities for our network.
- Entrepreneurs in Residence: Advising students in one-on-one sessions on their entrepreneurial journeys, whether relating to ideation or execution.
- Entrepreneurship Roundtables: Uniting academia and industry in engaged, thought provoking conversation to encourage development of the industry.
- Cornell Hospitality Business Plan Competition: Showcasing the ideas of our students and the power of SHA’s entrepreneurial education.
- Networking Events: Connecting students and the industry by building the entrepreneurial ecosystem through events such as Meet and Repeat: Speed Networking and Slice of Insight Socials.
- Lee and Mary Pillsbury: Initiating the creation of the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship through their generous financial support and vision in addition to their continued engagement in the development of the vision forward.
- Entrepreneurship Concentration: Providing the framework for students to fully incorporate entrepreneurship into their SHA experience.
- Connect Entrepreneurial Hotelies Mentor Network: Mentoring the next generation of entrepreneurs to navigate the entrepreneurial journey.
These supporters and programs are part of an expanding entrepreneurial ecosystem that allows us to support entrepreneurial students. We encourage students to participate in at least one event or program per year with the institute to help them expand their entrepreneurial perspective.
As we begin the start of our next ten-year chapter, I challenge you to engage with us to create opportunities that will make a difference in the global hospitality industry. Learn more about getting involved.
Mona Anita K. Olsen, PhD ’04
Academic Director, Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship
Assistant Professor, Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship is Everywhere
Entrepreneurship is everywhere. Our focus for the semester has been to seek out entrepreneurial opportunities within SHA and build growth into our operations design. With the launch of the Pillsbury Faculty Ambassador Program, we have been able to engage and unite faculty across disciplines at SHA in support of our entrepreneurial efforts at the Pillsbury Institute. Faculty members in this effort are Benjamin Lawrence, Mark McCarthy, Amy Newman, Andrew Quagliata, Stephani Robson, Cheryl Stanley, Neil Tarallo, and Jeanne Varney. Together, they have designed opportunities to engage students, faculty, alumni, and entrepreneurial leaders in their projects, further increasing our ability to support SHA’s entrepreneurial curriculum. We also welcomed Jennifer VanAtta, assistant program manager, to our team to help support our growing operations.
As the result of the increased levels of student interest in entrepreneurship at SHA, we have seen increases in demand for entrepreneurship classes and in the number of students actively pursuing the entrepreneurship concentration. I am looking forward to teaching a new course this spring called Global Conversations with Entrepreneurs. It is the twelfth entrepreneurship course offered at SHA, and it purposefully adds a global lens to our entrepreneurial education offerings. We participated in Global Entrepreneurship Week this year via partnering with the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University for a Virtual Ambassador Program. Kåre R. Aas, the Norwegian ambassador to the United States, presented on Girls’ Education as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week and International Education Week. The ambassador gave a brief presentation about some of Norway’s top priorities via webcam, and then conducted an engaging dialogue with the students.
With the launch of Gallup’s Entrepreneurial Profile 10 (EP10) Assessment Facilitations, we have provided the opportunity for all freshmen and transfer students to be able to identify and understand their top entrepreneurial talents. Further, EP10 allows us to help incoming students more effectively navigate a path to incorporate entrepreneurship opportunities from the start of their experience at SHA.
We continue to rely on the support and efforts of so many talented entrepreneurial alumni and industry leaders who work with us to make a difference in the entrepreneurial journeys of students. With the help of ten Entrepreneurs-in-Residence and over thirty Advisory Board members, we continue to brainstorm paths forward to be able to meet the increased student demand and create innovative programming that is engaging on many levels. Our Meet and Repeat Speed Networking event, for instance, continues to be a popular and highly energetic event for both students and alumni.
As the holiday season approaches, I hope everyone has an opportunity to find time for reflection. Further, I hope as resolutions for 2016 are crafted, that you will consider engaging with us at the Pillsbury Institute. There are a tremendous number of ways to get involved in the spring 2016 semester. You can learn more on our newly launched website at pihe.cornell.edu or filling out the engagement form.
I am very excited about what 2016 will bring for us at the Pillsbury Institute. What would have to happen in order to make 2016 the best year ever?
Many thanks for your continued support for entrepreneurship at SHA,
Mona Anita K. Olsen ’04, PhD
Associate Academic Director, Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship
| Assistant Professor | Committee Chair, International Academic Partnership Program Norway at Cornell
In December, with the support and advice from many faculty and entrepreneurial leaders, the School of Hotel Administration (SHA) launched an entrepreneurship concentration for students. The 12-credit concentration features a mix of required and elective courses that are set up to expose students to academic curriculum that serves as a foundation for their entrepreneurial journeys both during their time as students and also as graduates. With ten courses in entrepreneurship at SHA taught by five faculty members, the courses also feature guest lectures from entrepreneurs.
The entrepreneurship concentration is directly aligned with our mission to support the academic entrepreneurial curriculum of SHA. With an increased student interest in entrepreneurship education, new course offerings are currently in development. It is important that we maintain a delicate balance of focus in our offerings yet scale to meet the increasing demand for entrepreneurship courses.
Recently, SHA obtained AACSB’s unit-level accreditation. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the longest-serving accrediting body for business schools, accrediting fewer than 5 percent of the world’s business programs. The AASCB International Accreditation opens up the possibility for us to pursue a ranking in the future. Further, the entrepreneurship concentration strategically aligns to complement the programming offered as part of our experiential learning and engagement opportunities.
We hope you will become engaged as we aim to create opportunities that will make a difference in the global hospitality industry. Visit our website to learn more about getting involved.
Mona Anita K. Olsen, PhD, SHA ‘04
Assistant Academic Director, The Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship
Visiting Assistant Professor
Leveraging Education to Create Opportunity
Our focus has been around creating opportunity by leveraging educational resources in our ecosystem. With an entrepreneurial vision that is focused around value creation, we give a strategic context for all the knowledge we share and create within the Cornell community. When we do that, we build something that is sustainable and honors our students, graduates, faculty, staff, and industry partners who fully engage in enriching our environment, helping us build an entrepreneurial value chain engine that yields success as it evolves each semester.
This semester, thanks to the vision and support of the faculty teaching entrepreneurship courses at SHA, the entrepreneurship concentration for SHA students was approved and we began work to reposition and grow our entrepreneurship course offerings to promote enrollment for students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The upcoming Winter Session 2015 marks our entry into online entrepreneurship education with two courses being offered.
A new project titled the Zalaznick Networking Challenge was launched in HADM 3135/HADM 6135: Conversations with Entrepreneurs. The objective of the Zalaznick Networking Challenge is to foster entrepreneurial networking within the Cornell alumni community as a supplement to the coursework currently incorporated into the class. The interviews will be showcased on the newly launched iTunesU podcast series called The Make a Difference (MAD) Impact: Conversations with Entrepreneurs.
Our support for entrepreneurial students goes beyond the classroom through office hours held in The Pillsbury Institute. Thanks to our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EnIRs) and the business consultations with Professor Klausner, we doubled the number of sessions provided since last fall. This increase in support for students seeking entrepreneurial assistance is testament to the strong commitment and the help of our operations team, including Kristen Ciferri, Kathy Terry, and Leslee Kane.
This team is working to finalize the details of our inaugural Hospitality Entrepreneurship Roundtable in February where we will welcome over 25 leaders in entrepreneurship to work with our entrepreneurship faculty to discuss topics such as franchising and self-employment, funding, opportunity recognition, 3-D printing and automation, and start-up legal considerations. I’m also looking forward to working with the Center for Hospitality Research on a Technology Entrepreneurship Roundtable in April. Both of the roundtables will kick-off with a speed networking event that is aimed to engage Cornellians as they build their networks.
In November, Ivey published the case Innovation at the Leading Hotels of the World that I wrote with Saniya Gandhi, Kelly McDarby, and Joanne Jihwan Park. This case highlights the result of the independent study collaboration with The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd. (LHW), a consortium of 430 luxury hotels worldwide and The Pillsbury Institute. The case describes how we created a tool that allows LHW to quantify each hotel’s performance, based on its engagement with its services. I am looking forward to using this case class in HADM 4180/6180: Technology for Bootstrapped Entrepreneurship this spring.
Our calendar for Spring 2015 activities is fully set. I hope you will become engaged by participating in one or more of the opportunities listed at pihe.cornell.edu. We would love to work with you.
To making a difference as we create opportunity,
Mona Anita K. Olsen, PhD | SHA ‘04 |
Visiting Assistant Professor
Assistant Academic Director of the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship
As we close out our 2013-2014 academic year, it’s time to reflect on the results of our efforts to align our operations to make a difference in the industry around three core facets at the foundation of our operations: engagement, education, and experiential learning. It has been a semester of engagement and this newsletter highlights the spring programming that supported the entrepreneurial academic curriculum of SHA.
This semester we saw a continued increase in our enrollment numbers in our entrepreneurship courses and the launch of two new courses, Corporate Entrepreneurship and Technology for Bootstrapped Entrepreneurship. The Fall 2014 Conversations with Entrepreneurs Course Speakers have been announced; I am looking forward to working with such a fantastically talented group of entrepreneurs as they share their journeys in class. This upcoming summer, Technology for Bootstrapped Entrepreneurship will be offered through the School of Continuing Education and Summer Programs.
Connect Entrepreneurial Hotelies Mentor Network officially launched in January 2014. The Connect Entrepreneurial Hotelies Network is a mentorship platform created to engage entrepreneurs at all states of ideation to drive innovation in the hospitality industry. We are currently looking for mentors and mentees to participate. Become engaged: the next application deadline for participation as a mentor/mentee is June 10, 2014.
The Hospitality Business Plan Competition was a success during HEC weekend. Through Slice of Insight Socials, we were able to welcome many of our Advisory Board Members to campus to share their journeys and advice with students. At the Celebration conference in April, we welcomed back alumni to share their insight and wisdom during two panels: Cornell to Career and Entrepreneurial Women in the Hospitality Industry.
We are in the process of finalizing details for our 2014-2015 planning of education, engagement, and experiential learning programming in support of our mission to support the entrepreneurial academic entrepreneurial curriculum of SHA. Become engaged by identifying entrepreneurial alumni that you think would be impactful in our mission here.
Many thanks for your continued support,
Mona Anita K. Olsen, PhD | SHA ‘04 |
Visiting Assistant Professor
Assistant Academic Director of the Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship
In a recent conversation John Horowitz ‘13, observed that “the Pillsbury Institute and Entrepreneurship have come out of nowhere these last two years”. It was so gratifying to hear that from a student here at SHA and caused me to reflect a bit on PIHE activity. Our students are studying Entrepreneurship in ever growing numbers, students starting businesses continue to rise, and for the first time we see students accepting employment positions related to corporate entrepreneurship with some of the best known brands in the hospitality industry. That is an important step for Entrepreneurship at SHA; students getting jobs (in part) as a result of studying Entrepreneurship.
Our Hospitality Business Plan Competition once again showcased five “launchable” businesses and I know that three of the five finalists have had at least one inquiry from potential investors. I again would like to acknowledge all the students who developed business plans for this competition. This is a learning experience that carries real-life lessons and I am especially pleased to see a sizeable portion of the competition prize money support the potential launch of new businesses.
In addition we have seen the first of our SHA Case Study series thanks to collaboration between Sr. Lecturer Susan Fleming and PIHE board member and CEO of PAR Springer-Miller Systems, Inc., Larry Hall. Their case focuses on hospitality entrepreneurship and innovation in a corporate environment.
Entrepreneurship course offerings have also increased to accommodate the growing demand from students at SHA as well as other schools and colleges across campus.
None of this would be possible without the support and efforts of faculty and staff but I want to offer a special word of gratitude to my colleagues Susan Fleming and Adam Klausner as well as the PIHE Program Manager Kristen Ciferri. In addition, the PIHE Entrepreneurs in Residence have had a noticeable impact on the value that the institute provides for our students. Thanks to Nick Bayer (Saxby’s Coffee), Winston Lord (Venga), Liz Ngonzi (Amazing Taste, LLC), and Jacob Wright (High Peaks Hospitality). Lastly, the PIHE Advisory Board supports our efforts in more ways than I can convey in this newsletter and while so much of what they do is behind the scenes, they are instrumental in the achievements of the PIHE. Please take a moment to visit our list of Advisory Board members and corporate sponsors who contribute in so many ways to our success.
This will be my last column as PIHE Academic Director as I will be stepping down effective June 1, 2013 to become a full time Sr. Lecturer. I look forward to continuing to work closely with our alumni, students, and corporate partners. I am confident that PIHE will continue to deliver on its mission of giving students the chance to practice the entrepreneurial skills they have learned and to develop a portfolio of life experiences critical to success as entrepreneurs and innovators – whether starting their own businesses, or taking the corporate route.
With the support of the School of Hotel Administration, and thanks to the efforts of many individuals, I am pleased to report to you that the Pillsbury Institute conducted two major programs in the past few months, Entrepreneurship and Empowerment in South Africa (EESA) and Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV). As you will see from the accompanying items in this newsletter, these two programs combine key elements of the Institute’s mission. In addition to fulfilling identified societal needs, they provide direct learning experiences for program participants, as well as giving them the opportunity to put that learning into practice. For EESA, I want to express my appreciation to our hosts at Stellenbosch University as well as the Cornell University Office of Summer Sessions. We would not have had such a successful program without the support of these two great partners. EBV required an unprecedented commitment of a number of faculty from the School of Hotel Administration and the Culinary Institute of America all who donated their time very generously. I also want to thank Carol Zhe and Shannae Murray, of the Centers and Institute staff, who gave generously of their own personal time to help make EBV a success. Also contributing to our PIHE this year are Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, Nick Bayer ’00, founder and president of Saxbys Coffee, Elizabeth Ngonzi ’98, founder and CEO of Amazing Taste LLC, and Jacob Wright, co-founder and president of Action Companies. These three entrepreneurs make a contribution that is incalculable in terms of providing our students with direct, first-hand knowledge regarding what it takes to start a business. Another way our students learn the realities of the entrepreneurship in the Hospitality Industry is the annual Cornell Hospitality Business Plan Competition, which is already underway, (see the accompanying article in this newsletter). The competing student teams will make their presentations to industry judges in April, in conjunction with Hotel Ezra Cornell. Finally, I want to welcome and introduce you to Kristen Ciferri, our new program manager. Kristen will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Institute as well as programming and more!
We are always seeking new ways to assist our students to both learn how to become entrepreneurs and to practice that entrepreneurship. We welcome your suggestions and participation, so please feel free to contact Kristen or me in that regard. Above all, we thank those who have helped us bring Hospitality Entrepreneurship to our students in such a meaningful way.