July 28, 2021

Advice and Opportunities for Young Professionals: From the HFTP Global President and HFTP YP Council

President Update
Written by Mark Pate — Contributor


If you were asked, "what is a young professional (YP)?", what would you say? According to Google, it is a young person, in their 20s and 30s, who is employed in a profession or white collar occupation. According to HFTP, a YP is one of our most valuable assets. In fact, we see these YPs as the future of our association. Attracting them to the hospitality industry is vitally important, and keeping them involved and motivated will make HFTP even stronger. But, how do we accomplish this important task?

To begin answering this question, I reached out to our very own HFTP Young Professionals Council for input and received some great feedback. One of the recurring themes I heard from them is to encourage every YP to get involved in the association. They can do this by volunteering to serve on a council/committee or help out at an upcoming HFTP-produced event. Being a volunteer puts you in touch with very passionate people in the association that are eager to pass along their hard-earned industry knowledge and experience.

For those of us already established in our careers, offering mentorship opportunities is a great way to attract YPs and help them grow in their professional development. If you are in a leadership role right now, look around for a young professional that you could mentor to help them fill your position or one like yours in the future.

Special Face-to-Face Networking Opportunities this September

Our upcoming HITEC Dallas event and the HFTP Annual Convention at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center this September 27-30 will offer many opportunities for veteran industry professionals to pass on valuable knowledge to the next generation.

There will also be special networking opportunities at HITEC for YPs to meet with industry insiders and exhibitors that can inspire them to continue advancing in the wonderful world of hospitality. Register today (YPs can get full-conference registration for only $500 USD) and plan to attend the following YP events:

HITEC Young Professionals Private Exhibits Tour
Open to All Badge Types
Tuesday, September 28 | 4:00-5:00 p.m. US CT
In the HITEC Exhibit Hall ABC, Level 2

HITEC Young Professionals Event
Full Conference Badge Only
Tuesday, September 28 | 6:00-7:00 p.m. US CT
Backyard Dallas (505 N Good Latimer Expy)

You can also encourage a YP to build their knowledge base by studying to obtain the Certified Hospitality Accountant Executive (CHAE®) or Certified Hospitality Technology Professional (CHTP®) certification or one of the new certificate programs within the HFTP Academy. While pursuing their certification, the YP can be assigned a Certification Advisory Program (CAP) advisor to help mentor them in preparing for the exam. These mentor-student relationships have proved very successful and improved the exam pass rate significantly.

Let me offer a few more pieces of advice for our YPs as they begin their career:

  • Understand what your weaknesses are so you make the most of your skill set.

  • Learn to delegate the work – you don’t have to do everything yourself.

  • Making a mistake can be a great learning experience – take it in stride.

  • Volunteering to head up or supervise a project can give you invaluable experience and sharpen your leadership skills.

  • Step out of your comfort zone and explore new opportunities.

  • Learn to say no at times and don’t push yourself too hard.

  • Always keep your long-term goals in sight and in perspective.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help – it is not a sign of weakness.

  • Take your time and enjoy the ride as well as the view.

  •   Realize that your real education begins after college.

  • Use your social media to get your ideas out there and post about your recent accomplishments.

  • Look around for people whose jobs you aspire to – ask them to lunch so you can pick their brains about their career and the industry. You may be surprised by how flattered and helpful they will be.

  • And, be willing to put in the hard work it will take to achieve your dreams and goals.

I trust these thoughts will be an encouragement to all our hospitality YPs out there. And, please remember there are many HFTP members that want you to succeed and would love to help you in your journey.

Mark Pate Sr., CHAE, CHTP, MBA is the 2020-2021 HFTP Global Board President. He is assistant controller & IT director for Highpointe Hotel Corporation.

advice board education global HFTP HITEC hospitality leadership mentorship networking President professional development volunteer young professionals YP