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National Restaurant Association - Visiting professor Sweeney holds Penn State master class

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Visiting professor Sweeney holds Penn State master class

The president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association met with students at Pennsylvania State University’s School of Hospitality Management recently to talk about career opportunities in the restaurant industry as well as Association initiatives.

NRA chief Dawn Sweeney addressed the students during her visit to the college as a Walter J. Conti visiting professor Feb. 9 and 10. She and fellow visiting professor Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, participated in roundtable discussions and classroom presentations, where they shared their experience and advice as the heads of two powerful associations representing the hospitality industry.

“As these two organizations will represent the interests of and provide services to most of our students after they graduate from Penn State, it’s vital for them to become familiar with them and their activities,” hospitality school director John O’Neill said.

Sweeney outlined qualities restaurant businesses require of their managerial candidates, such as ability to work at a macro level while also paying attention to detail, a passion for service excellence and an eagerness to continue to learn. She said necessary critical skills include interpersonal communication, conflict resolution, emotional intelligence, leadership and compassion.

She also told the students that the Association, which represents a $709 billion industry, takes its role seriously and plays a critical role in fighting for U.S. policies and regulations that benefit restaurants. Through its Kids LiveWell and Conserve programs, it also is working to promote healthy children’s items and what restaurateurs are doing to reduce energy and water use, along with food waste.

Pictured top right: NRA president and CEO Dawn Sweeney

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