Today, the Under 30 Gateway Council meets to discuss current business and new ideas at the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Summer Summit in Chicago.
This group of young professionals was formed to provide a voice, a home and a vehicle for the youngest but arguably the most enthusiastic demographic in the hotel industry.
As a member of this group (albeit a journalist by trade), I’m looking forward to seeing people I’ve formed a special bond with, and by that measure alone I’d consider the project a success. One of the primary goals of the Gateway Council is to bring together people in this age group for networking purposes, and I don’t think I need to explain in great detail why that is so important these days.
This group is by no means a secret society—the Council member bios can be found at www.ahla.com, and the membership category is open to anyone who fits just that one criterion of the group’s namesake. No special initiation rituals … yet.
You can follow this group on Facebook, or check out some of the Webinars that have been produced as a result of the Council’s research into timely topics for the greenest of hotel employees (such as, “What Your Boss Knows But Doesn’t Tell You”).
A popular Boot Camp was held at the fall Leadership Conference in New York. About a dozen topics, such as self-branding and salary negotiations, were designed to give young professionals crash courses in essential business skills.
The Gateway Council always is planning more educational events and more volunteer opportunities. And last night a reception in Chicago was held in honor of an Illinois chapter launch (we have some fun, too!).
The most exciting part is that this group has earned the respect of the industry as a viable professional organization. I am reminded of the commitment of the late Stevan Porter of IHG, who was the first to sign on to participate in our first Webinar last summer. Tomorrow at the Stars of the Industry luncheon, a young hotelier will receive the inaugural Stevan Porter Emerging Hospitality Leader of the Year award.
It’s never too early to start finding ways to differentiate yourself from the masses and advance your career.
So for those out there that are children of the ’80s, check out what this group can do for you. And for those that only remember being 30 years old or younger, pay attention to this group of motivated professionals—they are the present and future of your companies.