April 24 marked yet another highlight in the Hillman Program–a site visit to The Hotel at the University of Maryland attended by students in both the Montgomery College and Prince George’s Community College cohorts. The Hotel is owned and managed by Southern Management Corporation, the company founded by David and Suzanne Hillman, who are responsible for everything we do here in the Hillman Entrepreneurs Program. Students had the opportunity to get to know Cheryl Hillman, daughter of the late David Hillman, better as she explained the vision of the Hillman Program and the importance of The Hotel to her father, who thought of this venture as his “love letter to College Park.” The students also met critical staff members at the hotel, who shared their own stories and advice and had a tour of this glorious facility, from the rooftop deck overlooking the campus of University of Maryland, to the luxurious spaces in the hotel, to the “back of the house” enormous kitchen facilities.
The students were enamored of the hotel itself but perhaps even more so by the generosity of the employees who spent time with them explaining their own educational and career paths. More than just a couple of students even began to see how their futures might intersect with Southern Management in the future. Callie Etches, for example, said, “I had already wanted to work at the hotel during my studies at UMD and this trip reaffirmed that. I was able to speak with many of the current employees and ask them questions regarding their job descriptions and whether they liked being employees of the hotel. This trip also gave me the wonderful opportunity to spend time with the PG cohort, which is always a great time!”