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3rd Annual HR in Hospitality™ Event Lays Foundation
for HR Effectiveness in Tough Times

Saving money in a recession while retaining and developing talent is just one focus at this popular event produced in association with Human Resource Executive® magazine and Cornell University; March 17-19, 2009; Pre-Early Bird Discount Offer — Register by Jan. 16 to Save $350.00! 

HORSHAM, PA. — JANUARY 12, 2009 — As we enter a new and troublesome economic year, competent and effective people management is more important than ever for the hospitality sector. The 3rd Annual National HR in Hospitality™ Conference (, to be held March 17-19, 2009, at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., will feature four "HR Best Practices" educational sessions designed to help HR practitioners make giant strides toward improving or enhancing services to customers and employees while simultaneously keeping their finance officers happy. Attendees can save $350.00 if registered by Jan. 16, 2009, or $250.00 if registered before Feb. 20.

“The hospitality industry is facing two critical human resources challenges in 2009: saving money in the face of a severe recession while simultaneously retaining and developing key talent at all levels of the industry,” said Claude Werder, vice president of Human Resource Executive® Conferences. “New for 2009, our ‘HR Best Practices’ track will feature workshops that drill deep into these challenges and offer proven approaches to overcoming them. These workshops were developed to provide attendees with easily transferable and immediately applicable information and tools that can be quickly applied in their own companies."

The "HR Best Practices" track includes:

  • "STAR Treatment: Personalizing Employee Recognition at Opryland"
  • "Managing Major Organizational Change: Effective Training, Communication and Integration"
  • "Conducting an Effective In-House Wage & Hour Compliance Audit" 
  • "Developing Political Savvy: A Critical Skill for Women in HR"
HR in Hospitality™ is produced by Human Resource Executive® Conferences and is developed and co-sponsored by the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and Cornell’s ILR School. The American Hotel & Lodging Association is a platinum sponsor of HR in Hospitality.™

"The harsh economic realities of today make it essential that hotel and restaurant operators take a hard look at not just their bottom lines but how they can most efficiently and effectively allocate their human capital to best serve their businesses,” said Carolyn Richmond, the New York-based partner and national co-chair Hospitality Practice Group at Fox Rothschild LLP. “The ‘HR Best Practices’ track at this year's conference offers practical insight and advice that is designed to help stem the tide of needless wage and hour litigation, retain talent and manage through corporate change.”

With times getting tougher, Richmond says managers may be tempted to push the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) compliance envelope to meet their payroll budgets. However, she said the result could become expensive and time-consuming to resolve – especially if litigation is involved. Together with Paul Wagner, adjunct professor of law at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, Richmond will uncover ways in which managers often hide evidence of non-compliance and how this could lead to a costly resolution in the session “Conducting an Effective In-House Wage & Hour Compliance Audit.” 

Katy Milarta, corporate director of HR for Texas-based Aimbridge Hospitality, will present an “HR Best Practices” session designed for women in HR who are looking to develop an ethical and empowering approach to the political side of organizational life. In “Developing Political Savvy: A Critical Skill for Women in HR,” Milarta will discuss how HR professionals can build alliances and a strong internal network without becoming wrapped up in office politics.

“The ‘HR Best Practices’ track truly is important because it will help those in HR to streamline critical items needed to build a successful operation in 2009 and ultimately set the company apart as being ‘Best in Class,’” she said. “My ‘Political Savvy’ session will focus on specific life examples that will help attendees improve their professional image and interactions with their peers. The session also will arm attendees with the knowledge and behaviors they will use in and out of the work environment to make an immediate and positive impact.”

Stellar Approach

The Smiles, Teamwork, Attitude and Resources (STAR) program at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville is an example of how hospitality companies can be proactive in their HR Best Practices approach. In the session “STAR Treatment: Personalizing Employee Recognition at Opryland," Gaylord’s Theresa Dileo, VP human resources, will discuss how STAR motivates Opryland Hotel employees to provide the very best in service and guest satisfaction.  Rick Garlick, director of consulting & strategy at Maritz Research in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., will discuss how his team worked with Gaylord to understand what motivates Opryland employees. 

“At Gaylord Entertainment, we are very fortunate to have a top-down belief that people are our greatest asset,” Dileo said. “We believe in -- and even guarantee -- open communication through an open-door policy and a ‘live and local’ communications strategy. We have a dedicated training department that fosters our cultural messages while developing our STARS. Our employment team seeks and hires STARS that understand our culture even before their first day on the job. Finally, we believe in having fun in all we do.”

Also part of the “HR Best Practices” program is "Managing Major Organization Change: Effective Training, Communication and Integration." In this session, Kat Cole, VP training & development at Hooters of America in Atlanta, will provide proven techniques to help HR practitioners become change agents who contribute to the evolution of their organizations and their ongoing success. Training tips in change management and employee communications will be presented to preserve company momentum and staff morale. 

The two-and-a-half-day event also will feature educational sessions targeting the following disciplines: HR Hot Topics; HR in Hotels; HR in Restaurants; and Labor Relations. General Session presentations by industry notables Christopher J. Nassetta, President and CEO, Hilton Hotels Corp., and Kelli Valade, SVP, PeopleWorks, Chili’s and Brinker International, also will be featured.

The HR in Hospitality™ Expo Hall is open for two days and will feature leading vendors of HR products and services. The expo is designed to further assist attendees through exposure to products and services related to: Benefits Administration, Compensation Systems & Services, Diversity Hiring/Compliance Training, Employee Assistance Programs, HR Consulting, HRO, Insurance, Payroll Software & Services, Recruitment, Retirement & 401(K) Services, Safety & Security Services, Training, Wealth Benefits & Group Life, Disability & Workers’ Compensation and more.

For registration details, including pre-early bird savings and the conference’s full agenda, visit For exhibitor and sponsorship information, visit or contact Fred Kurst, trade show manager for Southeast, Southwest, West, and Europe, at (703) 393-8304; or Nancy Sommar, trade show manager for Northeast, Midwest, and Canada, at (215) 784-0910, ext. 6231. 

About HR in Hospitality™

HR in Hospitality™ is developed and produced by Human Resource Executive® ConferencesTM, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and Cornell University ILR School. HR in Hospitality™ is the premier event specifically for professionals in human resource management, employment law and labor relations in the hospitality industry. In addition to the conference, the HR in Hospitality™ Expo Hall is open for two days and is designed to further assist attendees through exposure to products and services related to benefits, HRO, legal, payroll, screening and assessment, training, and recruiting.

About HRE ConferencesTM

Thousands of HR professionals network, research workforce solutions and make buying decisions at the three annual Human Resource Executive® events: HR in Hospitality™, March 17-19, 2009; NY HR Week™, May 4-6, 2009; and the HR Technology® Conference & Exposition, Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2009.  More information about these conferences can be accessed at

Note to editors: HR in Hospitality™ is produced by HRE ConferencesTM, a division of LRP Conferences, LLC. Trademarks and registered trademarks referenced herein remain the property of their respective owners. A limited number of complimentary press passes are available for HR in Hospitality™. To request a press pass, please contact PRPRO.


Barb Worcester
Tel: (440) 930-5770


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