SS-2017-HospitalitySummitOn May 17, 2017 the Center for Career and Workforce Programs at Skyline College brought together various high schools to take part in the 2017 Bay Region Hospitality Summit held at the San Mateo Marriott San Francisco Airport hotel in San Mateo, CA. This event is designed for high school students currently studying hospitality in high school to gain valuable insight and expand their ideas of the many careers that exist within the Hospitality and Tourism Industry. Over 150 students were invited from various Bay Region high schools which include Sequoia, Menlo-Atherton, Redwood, Capuchino, Mills, and Peninsula.

Director for Career and Workforce Programs, Andrea Vizenor, emceed the event. Vizenor opened the event by sharing Skyline College Promise Scholarship details, career education pathway opportunities, support services and the innovative ways Skyline College breaks down barriers commonly faced by students entering post-secondary education. She also shared her hospitality background to show the students the various career pathway options that can take place from an entry-level position to high management roles within a hotel business.

Claudia Sandoval, Season 6 Winner of the Fox Network’s Primetime Hit Series MasterChef, was invited to be the keynote speaker at the event. Chef Claudia is the author of her self-titled cookbook: “Claudia’s Cocina – A taste of Mexico”.  She spoke to the students about how she overcame difficulties in her life along with her education and training background in culinary. The takeaway message that Chef Claudia wanted to share with students is that they can achieve what they want in their personal and professional life and that “dreams do come true” by taking risks and pushing yourself into the unknown. Chef Claudia has since started her own culinary events business also called Claudia’s Cocina and has worked as a spokesperson for brands like Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, Kellogg’s, Target, Cover, and Tajin.

Participants also took part in The Ritz Carlton Leadership Center’s “Memorable Customer Service” training experience.  Where they learned cutting edge strategies to deliver high levels of quality service in the hospitality industry. Through this relevant training experience students were introduced to the skills needed for authentic guest engagement, the importance of personalized experiences that make a powerful impact in the overall hospitality business and in other industries.  As a result students were able build their skill set in high power soft skills and add value to their resume.

The students also took part in a “Lunch and Learn” Session where the San Mateo Marriott General Manager, Ed Gunderson, and the San Mateo Burlingame Waterfront Human Resources Director, Lisa Krone, along with the Banquet Director, Ali Lahip, took time to speak about current job opportunities and the skills and traits that seek when building their teams.

This event is made possible through the Deputy Sector Navigator: Retail, Hospitality and Tourism Grant Initiative awarded to Skyline College. The Center for Career and Workforce Program would like to thank the San Mateo Marriott San Francisco Airport for their participation in this event along with partnership high school teachers and CTE leadership for their commitment to bring students to participate and for  the continued high school collaborations moving forward.

For more information for please contact Andrea Vizenor at

Article by Elizabeth Tablan | Photos by Claudia Paz