Taking Your Hospitality Career to the Next Level

Deciding to take the next step in higher education is often a decision made by necessity. You work your way up the organizational chain and then find out that others have the leg up because they have a 4-year degree, when you have the experiential knowledge and have paid your dues. The thought of going back to school seems overwhelming with all the other responsibilities- work, family, volunteerism, etc.  I know where you are coming from and wanted to share information on a bachelor’s completion program that is run by one of our former DCTC Meeting and Event Planning instructors, Christine Pigsley at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

The Applied Organizational Studies Program transfers in the credits you earned previously at DCTC or other colleges and then builds an individual pathway to a bachelor’s degree. You don’t have to start over, sit in class, or take a slew of courses that fail to add value to your professional development.  The core courses focus on communication and virtual teamwork, leading and following in different organizational environments, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking, and change management. Then students select courses in communications, non-profit leadership, marketing, program administration and planning, etc.

The reason I find this so interesting for my community of hospitality professionals is that the courses are offered similarly to how I ran the program at DCTC, 8-week sessions, flexible course delivery, and a true appreciation for your personal and professional experience in the course work. If you want to learn more here is a video and website http://sbs.mnsu.edu/aos/.

Spotlight on Hospitality Professionals

Are you a hospitality professional?  Do you want to be? If so, the article, “Training Tomorrow’s Professionals” is about YOU! Just a few months into retirement I was thrilled to contribute to this article published by Minnesota Meetings and Events Magazine. Now I’m even more excited to be returning to DCTC. Contact Jason Obarski, jason.obarski@dctc.edu, or me, rosealee.lee@dctc.edu. if you want to complete your educational journey and open doors to you future.  Let’s go back to school together!

Change in Today’s NEW Marketplace: Turn Hope into Action


We all need hope.

Hope is the food that feeds our spirit and our soul.  Without the sustenance of hope, we cannot even dream. We, our families, our communities, our world are in a state of flux . . . a transition period fraught with challenges AND opportunity.  That’s what change is all about.

Focus on hope for a moment.  Consider what you are hoping for in your business or career.  What are your personal hopes? Do you wonder what your life would look like if you got what you hope for?  Close your eyes and picture it for just a moment.  Dream it with me.  Now, let’s make it happen.  Let’s take that vision from hope to action.

There are only six steps to turn hope into action. The steps are easy to forget, and many of us stumble when it comes to some of the steps.  I stumble over #3 quite a bit. I’ll admit that I’ve gotten to the point of liking my “child”, but sometimes it’s difficult to let her out.  As you read this list, identify the items you believe you’ll stumble over and make plans to embrace them as part of your journey in turning hope into action.

  1. Strategic intelligence and intuition

The art of being strategic is to consider what could be.  It is to ask questions until there are no more questions to ask.  Yes, it is strategic intelligence AND strategic intuition.  Trust your gut.  Trust your inner voice.

  1. WHO are your stakeholders?

Make a list.  The chances are that list will include your family or community members, co-workers, employees, employers, and customers? Consider not simply what they do and their profession or how they act, but what their generation is as well.  That includes what they care about – their values, their dreams, and their hopes.

  1. Permission to play

Give everyone – yourself included, permission to play.  There is a child inside each of us.  Let them out, please.

  1. Imagination

What if we didn’t have rules? What if we could invent our future and our opportunities?

  1. Innovation and flexibility

I remind you of the child.  As a child, we probably all were asked to draw something and color it.  For most of us, one of those experiences was to draw a house.  So, we drew a house, we added some grass and probably some flowers and then we added the sky.  We probably included the sun.  And if we colored the sun, purple, our teacher would say, oh, no, the sun is never purple.  Well, what if the sun was purple.  From an early age, we are taught to conform . . . to cease imagining what might be and only imagine what society and the rules say should be.  So, if in your heart, your sun is purple, then color it purple!

  1. Connection

It is a worldwide truth that relationships are built on connections.  It is when we get outside of our silo or our sandbox and connect with others that we find like-minded people with other, perhaps weird ideas.  Who knows, you may even find someone who believes the sun should be purple. People find partners when connections happen.  Together they create hope.  Sometimes it’s as simple as sharing a cup of coffee or a drink.  Sometimes it occurs in a public restroom.  (Not kidding; I recently got a new consulting client at a baseball game in a ladies room waiting line.) You never know where an opportunity for growth and change will occur.


And above all, give everyone time to connect with the change, and with each other.



A note from Rosealee: We are part of a global economy, and none of us is exempt from the web of international business. This is the second in a series of articles that originate from a keynote address on hope, opportunity, challenge, and change I was recently honored to present at an international business conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Celebrating Commitment to Hospitality and a Powerful Network of Professionals

DCTC hospitality graduates span the globe in hospitality careers.  On Saturday, May 21, many graduates, students, and their guests will be found at the annual Spring BBQ.

For more date notice_001than a decade, DCTC hospitality graduates have brought a level of professionalism to meetings, events, conventions, trade shows, and venues such as hotels, resorts, and tourism destinations.  Many serve in hospitality supply organizations that provide design, props, lighting, catering, tours, and a myriad of other products and services to enhance the guest experience.  As hospitality alumni have honed their talents in employer corporations or started their own corporation, many employ other graduates and students.  Together they form a powerful network.

For complete info and RSVP, visit DCTC Hospitality – Celebrating 10 Years and More

Here’s a glimpse of our January, 2016 celebration . . .

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Contact Rosealee Lee to visit or ask questions on LinkedIn, by phone 952-454-1138, or via email at rosealee.lee@dctc.edu.




DCTC Hospitality Student & Alumni Reunions

circa 2007? Life has happened to the alumni pictured here. Many reside throughout the U.S. and other countries. (Hello to Fah in Thailand!)

Many of you have asked for a chance to get together and network with other DCTC Hospitality program students and graduates.  I’ve also had many inquiries about cruise meetings – how they work, what the experience is like, etc.  So . . .

We’re celebrating the first decade of our programs twice:

January 7 in the Minneapolis/St Paul Metro area, AND

June 24-27 in Miami, Nassau, Bahamas, and Great Stirrup Cay.

Here’s the scoop . . .

Giggles and Catch-Up Potluck

January 7, 2016, Thursday, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.potluck

At Rosealee’s condo party room, 3600 Wooddale Ave So, St Louis Park, MN

Bring a snack or dessert to share, and your beverage of choice.  Guests are welcome.

RSVP to rosealee.lee@gmail.com with subject “Reunion” – please be sure to indicate # of individuals attending.  (I’d love to get an approximate count of how many will be attending to ensure I make enough of the famous meatballs.)  There is NO CHARGE for this event.

Inaugural DCTC Hospitality Alumni Cruise

Thank you, Sharyn Bennett, owner of Calico Jack’s Travel and program alumni, for organizing this opportunity. Registration will open soon.  Visit the DCTC page at calicojackstravel.com for more information.  Contact Sharyn by phone (651-247-4185) or email (info@calicojackstravel.com).

Board the fabulous Norwegian Sky on June 24, 2016 in Miami, FL for a three-night cruise.


We’ll visit Nassau for an exclusive shore excursion, the Bahamas and your own private island, Great Stirrup Cay.

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We’ll enjoy

Group enjoying drinks at the Bier Garten

  • Training Sessions – discover the ease of planning a cruise event for your clients ☺
  • Networking
  • Ship Tour ☺
  • Meet the Ship’s Officers ☺

☺ Exclusive for DCTC students and alumni

Norwegian Sky departs Miami, Florida           Return to Miami on June 27, 2016.

Cabins are available from $419 to $669, double-occupancy.  What’s included in the price?

  • Round trip cruise from Port of Miami to Nassau, Bahamas
  • Meals in the complimentary dining venues
  • All beverages (INCLUDING alcoholic beverages)
  • Onboard Entertainment
  • Use of the beautiful pools and hot tubs
  • Norwegian’s Youth Program facilities and activities if you’re bringing children
  • Gratuities
  • Taxes and port charges
  • Travel Insurance

* Calico Jack’s Travel representatives are available to assist you with additional arrangements including airfare, pre-cruise or post-cruise hotels and more.

Can we bring non-DCTC alumni family and friends?  Sure, the more the merrier!


At DCTC, the Hospitality Classroom is Everywhere!

Students in Dakota County Technical College’s hospitality programs get to share inspiration from a variety of hospitality professionals.  Insider tips and insights provide great learning for meeting-event, hospitality lodging, and spa-resort management students almost every Saturday as the online course students visit real companies and hear from real professionals.  But wait . . . are they online courses or are they classroom courses?  The answer is YES – they are both.  Local students (including some who drive as far away as from Duluth MN or Madison WI or sometimes fly in from other Midwest locations, can opt to participate in Saturday morning classroom visits.

This spring we have visited venues, suppliers, and planners. Here’s our list to date . . .


At Midway Party Rental, Rhonda DuCharme and Theresa Sullivan shared event and production rental insights.


At Apres Party & Tent Rental, Sheree's design skills shined

At Apres Party & Tent Rental, Sheree’s theatrical and design background are integral to client satisfaction

cara tuenge

Cara Tuenge is Event Coordinator at Care Providers

Heather Proskey is Director of Marketing, Events & Business Partnerships at Care Providers

Heather Proskey is Director of Marketing, Events & Business Partnerships at Care Providers

This Minneapolis Hope Lodge serves as a haven of hope and caring for adult cancer patients and their caregivers.

This Minneapolis Hope Lodge serves as a haven of hope and caring for adult cancer patients and their caregivers.

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Dusty Perryman, Human Resource Director of the Hyatt Regency Mpls and Liz West, Meeting Concierge, shared info for job seekers and meeting professionals.

2015-04-11 10.59.05

From career planning to operations detailing, students gleaned great info at the Hyatt.

Making Learning Real at The Grand Hotel Minneapolis

Students who attended the Saturday (Feb 21, 2015) optional Saturday morning classroom gained insider information from program alumna, Kathryn Billig, Sales Coordinator at The Grand Hotel Minneapolis.  Kathryn began her hospitality career as a Guest Service Agent at The Grand Hotel (a Kimpton property) in 2011. Following her graduation from the DCTC Meeting and Event Management program in 2012, she continued to distinguish herself as a leader that exemplified the “spirit of hospitality” which makes every guest’s visit memorable.  In 2013 she was promoted to her current position as Sales Coordinator of The Grand Hotel.  She lights up when she shares her experiences at the “hidden” gem of downtown Minneapolis that used to be the Minneapolis Athletic Club and her love of the “team” that works to create guest magic at this amazing Kimpton property.  The Kimpton flag is well-known for creating one-of-a-kind properties from historic buildings and The Grand is a great example.

group stiarcase pic 2-21-15 1160Students (pictured here with Kathryn on the grand staircase- l to r Shannon Terry, Kathryn Billig, Jennifer Rials, Kristopher Lohman, and Todd Hurst).

Kathryn is an inspiration to individuals who want to explore the many facets of hospitality that meeting management touches. In the candid style of this program, no topic of discussion was off-limits on Saturday.  We explored the property (front- and back-of-house), career mapping, the many applications of DCTC’s curriculum to the diverse field, industry myths and realities, and so much more.  Contact Kathryn on LinkedIn and look for more information on this blog about opportunities to assist at The Grand Hotel’s 100th birthday later this year.

Students who participated in the class day shared presentations about generational differences and similarities.  We all learned a great deal about each other, peers, co-workers, staff members, and event attendees.  In keeping with the program’s theme of delivering innovative presentations, we shared Kris’ great discussion, Jennifer’s “quiz” and were treated to the “X” and “Y” t-shirt presentation of Shannon and Todd.  They literally wore their presentation (t-shirts shown here). 1160 feb 21 2015 gen x and y shirt duo Everyone proved my theory that learning can be quite real AND fun!

Thanks to the students who participated in this optional SMGT 1160 course day, to Kathyrn Billig for generously sharing her day off of work, and The Grand Hotel for sharing their facilities (and amazing cookies).

Students of SMGT 1162 are looking forward to participating in their next optional Saturday on February 28th at Midway Party Rental.  Visit the following links for more information about DCTC programs in Meeting-Event, Hospitality Lodging, as well as Spa-Resort Management, please contact me on LinkedIn.