Hospitality Management '11
Looking back on the day he arrived in Edmonton in 2002, Chris Jeon remembers being very, very cold - both the freezing wind chill and the beauty of the prairie winter sky took his breath away. Chris came to Canada from South Korea to study Chemistry. At the time, he was just 16 years old and, like many newcomers, had no previous knowledge of English.
Chris was eager to start his studies but quickly realized that a career as a chemist was not for him. Unsure and overwhelmed, he made the difficult decision to return to Korea where he enlisted in the army, hoping to find his true calling.
It was during these challenging but formative years that Chris discovered his career path.
Advice to students
"Be faithful, be patient, don’t look too far ahead. Typically, in the hospitality industry, it may take a long employment path to reach your desired position. When I first started my career, I only focused on how long I have to be in current role before I move up the ladder and seek promotions. Be faithful to your current role and be patient working towards your goal. Then as time goes by, people will notice your work and the promotions will come to you instead of you seeking for one.”
His compassion and interest in customer service lead him back to Edmonton where he applied to the Hospitality Management program at NAIT.
Learning Hospitality through simulation
While at NAIT, Chris participated in a computer simulated hospitality activity where he and his fellow students practiced working with different real-world business scenarios. “We had to compete against each other in small teams to learn revenue management, sales promotion, menu design, staff management and procurement.”
Students then received detailed feedback and analyzed results based on their decisions and projections. The exercise allowed Chris to take what he’d learned in-class and apply it in a business setting.
Further education and career
Chris discovered valuable opportunities to further his post-secondary education through transferable credits. He enrolled at the University of Calgary and completed a Bachelor of Hotel and Resort Management.
Upon graduating, Chris started his career as a banquet server at the Calgary Hyatt Regency. A few years later, Chris was thrilled to accept a position with cater AT NAIT as a catering coordinator. The role brought Chris back to his hospitality roots where he gets to apply his skills and give back to the community that helped him become the hospitality professional he is today.
His role oversees major event catering at NAIT which includes budget management, menu selection, scheduling catering staff, overseeing event set-ups and décor ensuring smooth customer flow and interacting with clients to build strong relationships.
In his current role, Chris has flourished. His manager, Gloria Booth describes him as “a hard-working, very professional team member who loves his role. Chris is a wonderful, respectful leader and is highly respected by the people he works with. He continues to learn and grow in his position and is always looking to do more and advance as an employee.