Q: Name? Age?
A. Madison Riddolls, 27.
Q. Program and year graduated?
A. Hospitality Tourism & Operations Management (HTOM) Post-Graduate Program, 2014.
Q. Which class did you find most beneficial?
A. I’m sure many people would say the same thing, but truly, all of the courses were really beneficial, which is what I found so great about how the program was designed. We really got to dig deep into all aspects of how hotels, restaurants, tour companies and travel organizations run. We had a hotel operations course where we actually got to use hotel software - that was really neat!
Q. What do you enjoy about your career?
A. The people! The hospitality industry is super rewarding and I find the skills I’m developing are transferrable both in my personal and professional life. The first full-time position I had after graduation was as the Experience Specialist in a downtown Toronto hotel. The purpose of my role was to make every guest’s stay memorable and exceed their expectations. There was nothing better than hearing stories of the impact I had on someone’s short time in Toronto – from marriage proposals to birthdays, hospital visits and regular business trips – everyone had a different purpose for their stay and understanding their needs was really important! (Plus the travel perks in this industry aren’t so bad either!)
Q. What advice would you give future/current students taking this program?
A. Take advantage of your faculty – their knowledge, life lessons and network are so valuable and will continue to be if you foster that relationship.
I also always tell people not to rush your career and compare your path to others. Make sure you enjoy what you’re doing and your work is meaningful. It is great to look at how people in your dream job may have got there, but don’t get lost in trying to do exactly what they did. Work hard and focus on your own goals, when you feel like you have learned all that you can, then it is time to continue developing. Use your network and continue to grow. You also don’t want to limit any potential opportunities!
Q. What was the biggest obstacle you faced during your time as a student?
A. For me it was balance – managing school, work and personal life. That being said, it better prepared me for what was to come once I started my career – a need for time management and balance. Not to mention, I had an awesome support team from my instructors and faculty, family and friends!
Q. How did your experience at Humber help you find employment after graduation?
A. My internship lead straight into a full-time career with a great company (that I’m still working for)! Additionally, I was able to make some great connections and network both during my time at Humber and even now when I come back to guest speak and attend events.
Q. In what ways did Humber prepare you for the work world?
A. As I noted previously, being able to manage my time as well as balancing my personal and professional life! Not to mention, my internship and the amazing networking opportunities that allowed me to foster relationships within the industry!
Q. What opportunities would you urge other students to take advantage of?
A. As I mentioned earlier, take advantage of your faculty, your internship and the networking opportunities that come your way!
Q. In your opinion, what are 5 crucial skills needed to preform your job?
1. Time Management – at any given time there can be 101 things on the go, especially when a guest is in front of you or a client is waiting for an answer.
2. Multi-Tasking – like time management, the ability to have a few things on the go at one time and still be able to focus and prioritize.
3. Interpersonal/Relationship Building – hospitality is all about people – regardless of what department you work in – you are either working with other colleagues, interacting with clients or assisting guests!
4. Flexibility – This is something that was very important during my internship and continues to be. The more flexible you are and willing to learn new things, the further you’ll develop and grow your career.
5. Technology/Use of Computers – this is something that can certainly be taught, but being quick on the keys can be very helpful, especially when multi-tasking and managing your time!
Q. Why hospitality?
A. If it hasn’t been clear, the people make (or break) this industry. Everything about hospitality revolves around people – whether it be colleagues, guests or customers. And then you add amazing things like travel and food, all of which makes this industry even more special.
Q. Why did you choose Humber College?
A. Upon finishing my Bachelor of Arts degree (in Environmental Studies & Geography), I knew my educational journey wasn’t complete, so I was looking for something that would supplement my previous education. I met with Kristy Adams, Program Coordinator for HTOM, who took me through the program, the School of HRT and what Humber could offer me as a University graduate. After speaking with her, there was no question where I would be furthering my education – Humber College!