Class of 2013
Her determination, leadership, and professionalism would afford Kate Adie ’13 success in any career field, but her focus—her passion—resides in the hospitality industry.
Her parents each studied hotel administration and met while they were both working at a hotel, so Adie grew up in the industry. In addition, her father, after working with Hyatt for almost 30 years, became the general manager of The Statler Hotel at Cornell. When her family moved to Ithaca, Adie had the chance to experience the hospitality industry and Cornell University before she even began the college application process.
While she was still in high school, Adie volunteered at Hotel Ezra Cornell, an annual, student-run conference showcasing hospitality education, and participated in other Hotel School events like the rolling of the Guinness Book of World Record’s longest spring roll, an event organized by Hotelies.
“I could immediately start to see the culture of the Hotel School, and I loved it. Everyone was so close and so passionate about the industry,” she says.
After getting to know the Hotel School through her father and her volunteer work (and getting to know Cornell Big Red as a men’s hockey season-ticket holder), her destiny was clear. Adie was going to be a Cornellian.
A second home at The Statler
The Statler Hotel plays an influential role in every Hotelie’s academic career, but for Adie, The Statler was especially important.
As a participant in the Hotel Leadership Development Program (HLDP), Adie worked a total of nearly 3,000 hours at The Statler during the last four years. The program offers Hotel School students the opportunity to focus on a particular area within the hotel, cross-train in other departments, and become a student supervisor or manager.
“One of the things I’m going to remember about Cornell is spending all my time in Statler, my experience with HLDP. Spending many hours in Statler every week . . . I basically lived there,” she laughs.
Adie began HLDP by working at the front desk as a bellman. In the following years, she cross-trained in the housekeeping and purchasing departments. By the time she became a senior, she held two positions simultaneously: a student purchasing assistant and a front-office manager.
Hotel Ezra Cornell again played an important role in Adie’s life, this time because she was a Hotelie. She describes the conference, attended by industry leaders, as “a whirlwind weekend that you plan for all year.”
Each year Adie held a different position at the event, but her junior year role as procurement director was the most challenging, she says. She was in charge of ordering, purchasing, receiving, and distributing $20,000 worth of food and beverage products. Adie believes challenges are opportunities in disguise, so she pushed forward.
“It was a big job, and it was something that I didn’t think I was totally prepared for, but I knew that I had all the resources I needed to learn how to do it,” she says. “I was educating myself while working.”
Defining the future
Adie’s work in hospitality already extends beyond Cornell’s campus. In 2011, she worked with Hyatt Regency Chicago as a food and beverage intern. The busiest day of the year was when unionized workers staged a one-day walkout.
“That was a very interesting experience,” she says. “After that, I started taking classes about unions so I could understand that part of the industry—because employees are a pivotal part.”
In addition to her work and academics, Adie was very active in her sorority, the Omega Chi Chapter of Kappa Delta, as the vice president of standards.
“I learned so much about myself during that time, like how I can be a leader and how committed I was to the sorority,” she says. “That, coupled with the experience of managing my peers at Statler, made me realize I wanted to go into training and development.”
Adie believes her background in hotel operations will help her in human resources and training. She’s familiar with the inner workings of the industry, and her leadership skills will help her teach and train others.
“I understand how important it is for employees to really feel committed to an organization,” she explains. “They’re delivering the brand, and their satisfaction is just as important as the guest experience.”
Hotelie for life
Adie is one of Cornell’s biggest fans; she embodies the Big Red spirit. She says she’ll miss hockey games, Dragon Day, and Hotel Ezra Cornell. But, what she’s looking forward to, among other things, is the honor of becoming an alumna.
“Once you’re a Hotelie, you’re a Hotelie for life,” she says. “I’ve emailed alumni asking about job opportunities and the industry, and I know that the same thing will be happening to me.”
After graduation, Adie will move to Atlanta, Georgia, where she will work with the Human Resources Manager-in-Training Program with Four Seasons. She attributes some of her success to the existing network of Hotel School alumni—and now she’s a part of that network herself. Adie plans to participate in Reunion and Homecoming, as long as her schedule allows.
Her reason? “Cornell will never leave my heart.”
Learn more at www.hotelschool.cornell.edu.