Written By: Aditya Prabaswara
A file came to my desk, “a handover file,” with the details for the next program I was to handle for The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto. As a meetings and events manager, it is just part of my day-to-day job – however, when I saw the name of the organization listed on the file, I could not help but smile. I would be responsible for organizing the accommodations at the Westin for the upcoming Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition and Conference (HITEC®) in Toronto, the world’s largest hospitality technology show, for Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP®).
I have known of, and had been a previous chapter member of, HFTP from the very beginning of my career. In 2006, I graduated from the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management – an experience made all the better with HFTP’s help.
I was a beneficiary of the Charles E. Fitzsimmons, CHAE Endowed Scholarship. It is a scholarship that HFTP offers to hotel and restaurant management majors, and I can safely say it made a huge difference in my hospitality career.
It was a point of pride for me, one of those life signs that told me that I was headed in the right direction with my career choice. Whenever I talk about my beginnings in hospitality, I talk about HFTP. Yes, the scholarship was a part of it, but the HFTP chapter gave me an opportunity to connect with people who I still know to this day.
If there’s one thing I have learned over the past decade, over a career that’s spanned five cities and two countries with no sign of stopping, it is that relationships drive this industry. In my case, it is relationships that were, in no small part, established by my HFTP membership.
Our industry grows with the encouragement and mentorship of those just starting out. Every time I am introduced to a hospitality student, I am reminded of what HFTP gave me when I was in their still-squeaky shoes: encouragement, validation and more importantly an opportunity. Affirmations and gestures that say “yes, you are on the right track” go a long way. It does not matter if the reminder is big or small, so long as it is there.
A lot of hard work, dedication and tremendous effort go into ensuring our industry lives on with the youth of tomorrow. With an organization like HFTP’s support, I am confident in its future.
In 2006, I thanked Mr. Frank Wolfe, CAE, CEO at HFTP, personally for my scholarship. I remember the feeling of validation that it gave me as my career was getting off the ground. Ten years later, I have the opportunity to say thank you again. Not as a student, but as a manager. So thank you, and see you at #HITECtor soon!
Aditya Prabaswara is the meetings and events manager at The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto. Contact Aditya at email@example.com or +1 (416) 361-7492. Connect with Aditya on LinkedIn. Follow The Westin Harbour Castle, Toronto on Facebook, Instagram (@Westinharbourcastle) and Twitter (@WestinToronto).