Building networks for the african hospitality takeover
Strathmore School of Tourism and Hospitality hosted their first alumni dinner for the classes of 2011 through to 2018. The elegantly prepared dinner party was held on the third Floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel on the 24th of May 2019. The dinner did not only serve to reunite old classmates and friends, but it allowed faculty and their former students to be reacquainted outside the campus setting. Also in attendance were representatives from the Strathmore Alumni office and the keynote speaker, Mrs. Samantha Muna, a hospitality specialist with vast international and local experience gathered in her 23 years of both academic and professional practice in the hospitality and tourism industry.
The Hospitality and Tourism Sector is a major revenue earner for Kenya, which also receives substantial budgetary allocation from the government. In this light, STH organised their inaugural alumni dinner not just to build stronger bridges and networks amongst its alumni but also to sensitise them on the faculty’s mission to develop African hospitality and tourism leaders. These leaders will be the pioneers of what Dr. David Chiawo, the STH Dean, described as the “African takeover” in his energetic and well received opening address to the attendees.
In close harmony with Dr. Chiawo’s message, Samantha Muna’s short and meticulous presentation warmed the hearts of her attentive audience with tales of her ongoing journey that has her currently positioned as the Director of Development East Africa, Hilton. Her deep industry knowledge gained from her experience working on three continents, provided a rough sketch of essential industry realities. She spoke in candid detail about how staying true to her lifelong goal allowed her to cultivate opportunity in a highly competitive professional landscape. Her life journey sets an example of how adventurous enquiry coupled with the desire to learn can provide experience that is needed to become a master at the craft of hospitality. She distilled the complexities of the industry to simple fundamental realities of self-sacrifice, flexibility and the ever-important humility.
Thereafter, an impromptu alumni panel was set up. The consequent discussions provided a deeper insight of the hospitality and tourism world through personal experiences. During this panel an Alumni president was also selected, whose major task is to be a link between alumni members and the STH Faculty.
The dinner was a success; the body and mind were nourished in equal proportions.
This article was written by: Neville Ramogo Otema
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