Students get ‘juiced’ up at annual hospitality management lecture

Amadeus Smith

When asked to point out his or her favorite juice, one might reach for the nearest bottle of Sunny Delight.

But for Certified Executive Coach Debi Benedetti, “juice” is the passion that people must seek out to have a successful life.

Benedetti presented “The Value of a Personal Strategic Plan: Success in the Hospitality Industry” at the 12th Annual Schwebel Guest Lecture Series last night.

Benedetti was a founding corporate officer of Bon Appetit Management Company. After coming out of retirement, she started to specialize in aiding the development of business and personal strategic plans.

She has served organizations such as Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania and Pac Bell Park. She is also an adjunct professor at The Culinary Institute of America and serves on the advisory board for Harrah’s College of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

In 1997, International Foodservice Manufacturers Association presented her with The Silver Plate Award in the business and industry category.

The Roundtable for Women in Foodservice declared her Woman of the Year in 2000, and she was recently named The Conrad Hilton Distinguished Lecturer at San Diego State University.

In her quilt-like jacket which popped with blue and hot pink squares, she discussed a six-step program to ensure a successful life.

She asked audience members to detail their expectations before moving through the process. She explained when she works with her clients, she is concerned with her clients’ needs and not her own.

“When clients say that I changed their life and helped them find their passion, I say ‘I just held the flashlight,'” she later said.

She and the audience discussed identifying core values, designing goals to achieve improvement and celebrating — key steps in the process. She said to find your “juice” — your core values must match your employer’s.

Lindsey Barbati, senior hospitality management major, said holding the same core values as one’s employer is an essential part of the process. She said she found her values syncing up with the company’s when it was a family environment and that she was much happier in that setting.

Benedetti also noted that celebration is an important step that people skip.

“There is a phrase in our business that goes, ‘You’re only as good as your last meal,'” she said. “Take the ‘only’ out of that phrase and you can celebrate — you are as good as your last meal.”

Although each step focused on a different aspect of professional and personal growth, Benedetti showed the tie to one’s “juice.”

“One of the challenges for our students is that there are so many options,” said Barbara Scheule, hospitality management associate professor. “I think determining their passion will help them focus.”

Despite her various awards, Benedetti said her “juice” is still influencing others.

“It warms me,” she said.

Contact school of exercise, leisure and sports reporter Amadeus Smith at < HREF=”mailto:[email protected]”>[email protected]