On Nov. 28, 2016, students in the Smith Hospitality Business Fellows (HBF) at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business were honored to host Kimo Kippen, vice president of Global Workforce Initiatives at Hilton. Kimo, as he is known, gave a lively and engaging strategic overview of Hilton's business. Topics included Hilton's vision, mission and values; the company's diverse brand portfolio; and its pipeline of new hotels, which is the largest in the world. Kimo also addressed Hilton's dedication to optimizing the guest experience, and its commitment to technology-based innovation, as demonstrated by its collaboration with IBM to pilot "Connie," the first Watson-enabled robot concierge in the hospitality industry.
He inspired the class with his personal story of learning to love hospitality as a waiter at a restaurant in his native Hawaii. Before joining Hilton in 2010 as Chief Learning Officer, Kimo worked his way through progressive leadership roles at Marriott International, where he spearheaded the Learning Center of Excellence for all of Marriott's properties. His advice to the class was that the hospitality industry offers rewarding careers for individuals in every business major.
The Hospitality Business Fellows program is sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Service (CES), in partnership with Hilton, Choice Hotels, and Marriott International. For more information on the HBF, please see http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/programs/undergraduate-programs/academics/fellows-special-programs/hospitality-fellows.