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Service with a smile

NAIT hospitality instructor gives back to her profession

Hospitality Management instructor Susan Lauder remembers when she first started teaching students at NAIT 17 years ago. Part of their hands-on training back then (and even today) involved learning front-of-house services and techniques in Ernest’s Dining Room.

“We used to teach students older techniques like crumbing tables,” says Lauder. “Who does that anymore?”

While crumbing (sweeping crumbs and food off tabletops between courses) is no longer part of the training today, students still learn the highest standards in Hospitality Management to prepare for any scenario they might encounter as restaurant or hotel managers.

“The industry is changing a lot,” Lauder says. “We have to stay on top of it all the time to keep students’ eyes open.”

It was Lauder's passion for the profession that lead her to become an instructor and a primary reason behind why she’s an avid supporter of the Hospitality Management program.

Going from industry to the classroom

After decades of experience in service and management positions, Lauder says it was a natural transition to switch to teaching in 1999.

“Being able to teach what you love for so many years is the best job in the world,” she says.

Lauder came to NAIT in 2002 after teaching a hospitality tourism course at Alberta College. The program she taught transferred to NAIT as a 1-year certificate program and a few years later, it became a 2-year diploma program. Since then, she has been teaching various courses such as tourism, cost control, business communications and operations management.

Giving back to the hospitality profession

Since 2012, Lauder has contributed to NAIT’s staff fundraising campaign NAIT it Forward. She directed her gifts to support the Hospitality Management program and the Club 5 Star Hospitality Management Scholarships.

“When I give to the program, I can see that it’s making an impact,” she says. “Supporting the scholarship fund for students and seeing their eyes light up, it’s just wonderful.”

Because of her contributions, Lauder became a member of the President’s Society, which recognizes NAIT’s loyal supporters. It was a natural choice to support students because she sees it as her way of giving back to her profession.

“It’s the hospitality industry that I really want to help,” Lauder explains. “I hope that students develop a hospitality mindset and that they are able to make it an enjoyable career.”

Find out more about making your impact by becoming part of the President's Society.

Published on April 12, 2019