HTM professor leads hospitality industry virtual education conference in response to COVID-19

Graphic of speakers
Image credit - Courtesy photo

The events and hospitality industry is facing its largest financial crisis since the 2008 recession. A Grand Valley State University virtual education conference will feature hospitality and event industry leaders from around the world, who will provide resources for professionals and redefine the effectiveness of the industry's future. 

The event is being coordinated by Lorie Tuma, assistant professor of hospitality and tourism management at Grand Valley, and Courtney Stanley of CS Consulting.

Tuma said speakers will help participants learn how to network more effectively, build their digital brands and strategically position themselves for the future.

"There has never been a more critical time to offer resources and guidance to industry professionals, our students and alumni, as they navigate these murky, unprecedented waters," said Tuma. "It is our responsibility as educators and mentors to redesign and pivot the learning experience and provide the resources needed to manage this crisis." 

The virtual conference, Engage, Enrich, Enhance: Rebuilding the Foundation and Future of Hospitality and Tourism During COVID-19, will take place Thursday, April 23, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. EST. 

Registration is required; visit

Speakers include:

• Shelley Williams, vice president of sales for Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, will present: "The Time the World Shifted … How will You? Fairy Tales, SciFi and Biographies."

• Dahlia El Gazzar, CEO of DAHLIA+ Agency in Massachusetts, will present: "Building a Powerful Digital Brand - LinkedIn Matters More than Ever."

• Trevor Lui, principal at The Highbell Group in Toronto, will present: "Making Your Mark and Building Meaningful Relationships in the New Economy."

• Natalia Roblero, business development manager for Memorable Incentives DMC, Costa Rica & Panama, will present: "A Young Leader's Strategy to Professional Success."

Tuma was awarded a Teaching Innovation Grant, provided by the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center at Grand Valley, to support the virtual conference.

For more information, contact Lorie Tuma at (989) 506-3805 or [email protected].



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