Students and faculty gathered together for the Ho’okipa Society’s Akamai Lecture held on Jan. 30 to hear Steve Lundgren explain how his career success came by striving to be a unique and irreplaceable employee. He counseled all in attendance to never sacrifice their integrity for career success.
Mainly involved in Marriott International, Lundgren said he worked with Marriott for more than 40 years and helped to establish the Marriott Courtyard hotel chain during his time there.
He said even though things during his life and career did not always go according to plan, he always felt blessed and said great things were put in his way to help develop his career path.
After retiring early, he shared how he and his wife decided to come to BYU–Hawaii as senior missionaries to help reform the Center for Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) with Professor David Preece. Within his time at the university, Lundgren was able to help the center grow from about 135 students to more than 220 students.
While he and his wife are no longer serving the students and faculty of BYUH as missionaries, Lundgren reflected on how much working at BYUH blessed his life.
“Of all the things we’ve done, perhaps [the thing] we have enjoyed the most, my wife and I, was being here at BYUH.”
Greatest lessons learned
Throughout the lecture, Lundgren made clear how much he wanted the students in attendance to work hard in their careers and lives, but also how important it is to keep family in remembrance. Lundgren even invited the audience to think about how they prioritize their families in their lives both today and in the future.
“I challenge you that you won’t forget the Lord or your family in this new career journey you are on.”
A sophomore from Texas studying HTM, Killian Canto, expressed how much this emphasis on the family stood out to her, especially in her decision to become an HTM major.
“It was nice to get a reminder that it’s not all about success or how successful you are and everything. It’s more about what you can do to keep your family stable and still serve the Lord.”
Lundgren also shared some more tips he discovered throughout his years of service in the hospitality industry, such as remembering that people are always interviewing and making new impressions. He said working hard, at the moment, can propel any career into advancement. He also shared how important integrity is in all settings.
“There is no substitute at all for being an honest person and being trustworthy.”
His greatest emphasis was on how to become unique and irreplaceable in close-work settings. He shared simple counsel for students hoping to go into leadership positions one day, like taking time to know and understand the people who help hospitality flourish.
Simply put, Ludgren emphasized, “Be the best you can be, and [opportunities will] come to you.”
A very hospitable society
The Akamai Lecture is a small piece of what the Ho’okipa Society, BYUH’s hospitality and tourism management club on campus, do to help get students interested in HTM and get them more involved and passionate about their future careers.
Parley Wen, the secretary of the Center for Hospitality and Tourism Management and senior from Hong Kong studying HTM and finance, said he has been involved in Ho’okipa Society and has enjoyed the benefits of being a member.
“Mainly the purpose is to provide a platform for students to be exposed to the hospitality industry and to connect with students and the vast network that hospitality and tourism management has to offer within the center.
“Something that I love about this is it doesn’t matter who you are as a person, you can find your own self-worth and value through service [within the hospitality industry],” said Wen.