Touring group

Local restaurant manager leads members of Fresh Slice through facility tour.

By Abby Rhodes
December 19, 2011

In the course of discovering her passion at Bradley University Danielle Herbold ’13 dubbed herself a “Renaissance Major.” After changing her course of study three times, she found her passion with Bradley’s newest major, hospitality leadership.

“When the hospitality leadership program started this year, I knew it would be perfect fit for me, just like Bradley is,” said Herbold, a junior who looks forward to combining her interests in event planning, food service and charity work into a career as an event coordinator.

The Department of Family and Consumer Sciences’ innovative new curriculum was designed in response to a growing demand for people-oriented, business-oriented, creative leaders in the foodservice, tourism and lodging industries.

Courses in the major began in August 2011, shortly after Jamie Condon ’13 experienced a renaissance of her own. Through an internship at a major theme park last semester, she found that a job selling snacks could be the first rung on a ladder to an exciting career field. When she returned to Bradley, she quickly enrolled in the hospitality leadership major.

“I fell in love with working with people and making them smile,” said Condon, who has minors in interactive media and marketing. “With this major and two minors in other fields I enjoy, I feel really lucky to be able to pursue all these things I love.”

The career options are so vast that when Condon thinks about life after graduation, she doesn’t think about pursuing one “dream job.” She looks forward to picking from a variety of positions for which she’ll be well qualified.

“One of the hallmarks of this program is the opportunity we give students for hands-on, experiential learning opportunities that allow them to apply learning on the job,” said Kara Wolfe, inaugural director of Bradley’s hospitality leadership major.

Classroom curriculum is guided by members of the Hospitality Leadership Advisory Board, a group of industry leaders who ensure Bradley’s instruction is on par with real-world demands. Wolfe routinely invites board members and other professionals to her classes to provide career advice and help connect students with internship and job opportunities.

“It’s very helpful to learn how these people achieved success, what steps they took along the way, and what they look for in resumes now that they’re in a position to hire,” Herbold said.

With assistance from Wolfe, Condon and Herbold founded a hospitality club, called Fresh Slice, which aims to give members an inside look at career options. Members tour local restaurant and lodging facilities, where managers share advice for how to be successful in their respective industries.

Working for campus food service operations and planning and executing events, such as bake sales, allow students to connect classroom theory with practical application to achieve rewards both tangible and intangible. Profits allow for future experiential learning opportunities while the hands-on practice in event planning will bolster the students’ resumes and increase their competitiveness once they hit the job market.

“From our conversations with professionals, I’ve learned that everyone starts at a basic-level job, so if you can get that experience as part of your college career, you’ll have a leg up on the competition once you graduate,” Condon said.

Complete degree options and course information are available on the program webpage.