Tourism and Hospitality Management Professional Development Series

Last Friday, October 27th, Genesee and Monroe Community College’s Tourism and Hospitality Management Programs teamed together to host the first annual Tourism and Hospitality Professional Development Series. More than 85 students had the opportunity to attend the one-day, student-centered conference.

Amy Bowles, instructor in Genesee Community College’s Tourism and Hospitality Management program, co-produced the event with Janet Zinck, a Hospitality professor at MCC. Some notable speakers taking part in the activities included Sandy Parker, CEO of the Rochester Business Alliance; James Jacobs Jr., Ph.D., Distinguished Professor at the School of Hospitality and Service Management at Rochester Institute of Technology; and Stacey Bellave, certified travel consultant and upstate New York district manager of Liberty Travel. Professor Rick Dudkowski and Dean Jerry Kozlowski of Genesee Community College also presented at the conference.

“The conference was organized in response to feedback from industry professionals at the Tourism Educators Symposium held at SUNY Delhi in February,” Bowles said. “The industry leaders that hire our graduates consistently stressed the importance of having the “soft skills” to complement their formal education.”

The conference, which ran from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, gave students an entire day surrounded by industry leaders that demonstrated the importance of concepts such as business ethics, character, sales, customer service, etiquette and professionalism.

“In this day and age, all businesses and all workers are being judged on their character, their personal and work ethics, and their ability to deliver quality customer service in a professional manner,” said Sandy Parker, president and chief executive of the Rochester Business Alliance, one of the presenters.

The conference will parallel the business industry by relying on partnerships to ensure its success. “This is a day that will focus on soft skills, which is what we hear time and time again that graduating students are lacking,” said Janet Zinck. “Soft skills comprise a variety of skills and character traits such as interpersonal abilities, work ethics, and attitudes. Combined, they are key to an individual’s ability to get the job, to keep the job, and to move forward in a career. That is what we are all working toward by holding an event such as this.”

For more information contact Amy Bowles at, 585-343-0055 extension 6332, or Janet Zinck at