Dutch tourism professionals study at Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A group of travel industry professionals from the Netherlands studied at the Penn State School of Hospitality Management for one week on the University Park campus as part of a professional development training sponsored by ANVR, the Dutch Association of Travel and Tour Operators.

The Executive Leadership Program, in its third year, is for professionals in the travel and hospitality industry, a two-week program that includes one week of seminars at NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands and one week of sessions at Penn State. Participants completed the program June 5 at the University Park campus.

Ruth Ann Jackson, instructor of hospitality management and director of the Hospitality Leadership Institute, facilitates the program at Penn State.

“The university is a unique provider of professional development because of the connection to research.  This program was born out of a research collaboration with NHTV Breda and what excites me are opportunities like this where we can leverage our research relationships,” Jackson said. “Programs like this provide a pipeline for the important research that goes on in the College of Health and Human Development to reach and benefit the people in the field.”

Herman Mensink, an associate professor at NHTV, facilitates the program in the Netherlands and accompanies participants to Penn State. Mensink said an international component to the program is critical for participants, in part because industry trends in areas such as social media marketing tend to originate in the United States.

“This is the perfect experience for young industry professionals to be able to see what executive training programs look like in the United States,” he said. “The way American executive trainings are set up is top notch and my feeling is that this is what industry professionals need to see and experience. On top of that is the Penn State brand and the experience at an American university campus. All of those impressions made us decide to set up this program in this way.”

Guy Lokhoff, creative director and co-owner of Hammerfest, an Amsterdam-based creative digital agency, said overall the program helped him to grow as a leader. Specifically, Lokhoff appreciated a session led by Maureen Dodson, director of leadership development for Baker Tily Virchow Krause, who focused on peer coaching and using emotions more intelligently in business settings.

“I learned a lot about myself,” Lokhoff said. “This experience taught me how to better interact with others from a business point of view. It is very helpful because I learned to be a better manager and a better leader and I understand myself better.”

Additionally, Hospitality Management instructor Brian Cliette led an all-day seminar about social media marketing, Director of Program Development for the Service Excellence Institute Tammy Smith led a session regarding the global economics of disability in travel and tourism, and Baker Tilly Virchow Krause Director John Park led a session about best practices in managing change.

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Last Updated June 10, 2015