Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Walzak

Dawn Walzak

First Vice President, Tishman Hotel Corporation

Dawn Walzak is First Vice President of Tishman Hotel Corporation (THC) in Orlando, Florida. As a respected sales professional with over twenty years of Hospitality Industry experience, Ms. Walzak has also held Sales Management positions with Westin Hotels & Resorts and Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. Her strong selling skills, awareness of the overall sales process, technology, savvy and passion for success has resulted in numerous awards. Dawn was also recognized for her leadership in the hospitality industry by being elected as the youngest President of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International in 1997, the largest sales and marketing association in the world with over 4,000 members, and was named one of the 1997 Top 100 Rising Stars in the hospitality business by Travel Agent Magazine, recipient of Florida International University School of Hospitality Management 1999 Alumni of the Year award and was recently named as one of Travel Weekly's "Forty under Forty - the leaders who represent the 'next generation' of travel". Ms. Walzak joined Hyatt Hotels and Resorts as a Corporate Trainee after graduation from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management. During her five years with Hyatt Hotels and Resorts she held a succession of sales and marketing positions in several locations. After joining the Westin Mission Hills Resort in 1992, Ms. Walzak continued to break sales records and produced significant market growth. Since joining THC in 1998, she has assisted in the renovation, reposition and re-flagging of the Four Points Sheraton Hotel at Los Angeles International Airport, which completed its first year of operation at 97% occupancy. She has worked on numerous acquisitions and has been able to immediately increase occupancies through non-traditional markets. Her specialties include electronic commerce, public relations exposure, revenue management, and maximization of brand. In October 2002 she completed the opening of the new $330 million Westin New York at Times Square and now oversees a select portfolio of hotels for Tishman. In 2004, Ms. Walzak completed her Masters Degree in Hospitality Management, graduating with Magna Cum Laude honors, from Florida International University. As a First Vice President at THC, her responsibilities include overseeing the marketing, sales functions and performance of select THC owned and/or managed hotels. She also supervises corporate projects involving training, research and market analysis.

Ms. Walzak can be contacted at 407-934-1755 or dwalzak@tishman.com

Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.